Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

3 August 2013

9:00 AM

3 August 2013

9:00 AM

Home

Barclays decided to issue £5.8 billion in shares to meet capital reserve requirements from the Bank of England. Lord Howell of Guildford, a former energy secretary, who does not speak for the government but happens to be George Osborne’s father in law, asking a question in the Lords about fracking for shale gas, said: ‘There are large and uninhabited and desolate areas. Certainly in part of the north-east.’ He later apologised. Vicky Pryce, the disgraced former wife of Chris Huhne, the disgraced former Cabinet minister, had her companionship of the Order of the Bath ‘cancelled and annulled’. A third Army reservist who took part in an SAS selection training exercise in the Brecon Beacons died. A £1.2 million Stradivarius stolen from a violinist at a sandwich shop at Euston station two years ago was recovered in the West Midlands.

The High Court ruled that families with disabled people were not discriminated against by new government rules reducing benefits for people living in houses deemed to have spare rooms. Official figures for net migration were ‘little better than a guess’, according to the Public Administration Select Committee, because they were based on interviews with only 5,000 migrants. The Home Office said that since January last year, it had identified 99 suspected war criminals who had made immigration applications, of whom three were deported, 20 were refused asylum and 46 had their citizenship applications turned down but were likely to have remained in Britain. The nation’s happiness had risen by 1.1 per cent since last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.


The NHS Direct company said it wanted to pull out of its contracts to provide the non-emergency 111 telephone service because they were financially unsustainable. Questionnaires, asking patients whether they would recommend their hospital to family and friends, had given the thumbs down to 36 wards in June, out of 4,500 covered. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said that she was suffering from Type 1 diabetes. The Prince of Wales, on a visit to Whitstable, where he ate two oysters, was reported to have joked that his grandson Prince George of Cambridge would be ‘known as Georgie in no time’.

Abroad

Talks between Israel and the Palestininans began with a dinner in Washington held by John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, for Tzipi Livni, the Israeli justice minister, and Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian MP for Jericho. Before the talks, the Israeli cabinet had voted to release more than 100 Palestinian prisoners. At least 70 people were killed in a shooting at an encampment of Muslim Brotherhood supporters near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in north-east Cairo. A non-political brawl by Cairo street vendors over pitches left 12 dead. In Pakistan, Taleban fighters freed 243 prisoners from a jail at Dera Ismail Khan after an attack with explosives and a gun battle that left 12 dead. Syrian government forces were reported to have retaken the Khalidiya district of Homs, a rebel stronghold. In Iraq, car bombs killed at least 51, mostly in Shia areas of Baghdad and other cities. In Nigeria at least ten were killed in a series of explosions at bars in a Christian area of Kano that had been attacked before by the Islamist group Boko Haram. The Saudi government is to build a £14 billion metro system in Riyadh.

Pope Francis said Mass for more than three million people on Copacabana beach at Rio at the end of his five-day visit to Brazil for World Youth Day. Bradley Manning, the US army private accused of leaking thousands of classified documents, was found guilty by a court martial of espionage but not of aiding the enemy. In China, to coincide with a visit by the Japanese foreign minister, a food factory worker was put on trial, accused of injecting dumplings for export to Japan with insecticide. Shanghai saw 24 days in July with temperatures at 35˚C or more.

A train from Madrid was derailed just outside Santiago de Compostela and 79 were killed, with about 130 injured, out of 218 passengers. A coach plunged 100 feet from a bridge near Avellino, in the Campania region of Italy, leaving at least 38 dead. Motorists had to spend up to six hours waiting to cross the border between Spain and Gibraltar during three days of go-slows. The world’s biggest advertising group was formed by the merger of the French Publicis and the American Omnicom. A gunman stole diamonds said to be worth £88 million from the Carlton Intercontinental hotel in Cannes.          CSH

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