Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

17 August 2013

9:00 AM

17 August 2013

9:00 AM

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The population of the United Kingdom rose by 420,000, to 63.7 million, by the middle of last year, with the number of births, 813,000 (more than a quarter to mothers born abroad), being the highest since 1972. Thames Water asked the regulator Ofwat to allow it to impose a 12 per cent increase on bills. Unemployment fell by 4,000 to 2.51 million in the second quarter. Regulated rail fares will rise by 4.1 per cent, a percentage point higher than the rate of inflation in July, which, measured by the Retail Prices Index, fell from 3.3 to 3.1 per cent, and, measured by the Consumer Prices Index, from 2.9 to 2.8 per cent. The rate of house price inflation rose from 2.9 per cent to 3.1 per cent. Jeremy Paxman appeared on Newsnight with a beard.

In a version of a speech given to the Sunday Telegraph, Chris Bryant, the shadow immigration minister, blamed Tesco for giving staff a pay cut if they moved to a new distribution centre ‘in Kent’, with the result that ‘a large percentage of the staff at the new centre are from the Eastern bloc’. Tesco responded vigorously regarding its new centre (in Essex), and when the speech was delivered, Mr Bryant praised Tesco as ‘a good employer’. The Labour party asked the House of Commons Library what had happened to hourly wages since 2010, and was told that they had fallen by 5.5 per cent. England beat Australia in the fourth Ashes Test, making it three-nil, with one draw.


Downing Street told Madrid that it was ‘seriously considering’ legal action over delays at the border with Gibraltar. A Royal Navy warship sailed to Gibraltar in a long-planned manoeuvre. In Belfast, rioting crowds, protesting against a republican parade, threw bricks, pint glasses, bottles and fireworks at police, injuring 56. But at Castlederg, Co. Tyrone, there was no violence during a republican parade to a new memorial that honours IRA members, including two who died when the bomb they were transporting exploded prematurely in 1973. Thieves hacked out two 15th-century panels painted with St Victor and St Margaret from the wooden screen at Holy Trinity church in Torbryan, Devon.

Abroad

Many died when the authorities in Egypt evicted protesters supporting the deposed President Morsi from two large sit-ins in Cairo. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians began after Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners. In Iraq, at least 60 were killed in a series of bombs on Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan, during which 670 were killed. Gunmen thought to be from Boko Haram shot dead 44 worshippers at a mosque in Konduga, in the northern Nigerian state of Borno. Two 18-year-old British women had acid thrown over them in Zanzibar. A large explosion killed crew members of a submarine at berth in Bombay. Six were killed when Mount Rokatenda, on the Indonesian island of Palue, exploded; 3,000 of the island’s 7,000 people were evacuated.

President Barack Obama of the United States cancelled a meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia after Russia gave a year’s asylum to Edward Snowden, wanted by the Americans for leaking secrets. David Cameron, the Prime Minister of Britain, rejected calls for the Winter Olympics at Sochi to be boycotted because Russia had passed a law against homosexual ‘propaganda’. Greg Dyke, the new chairman of the Football Association, said it would be ‘impossible’ to hold the World Cup in 2022 in Qatar in June, when temperatures can rise to 50˚C. The eurozone came out of recession, with growth of 0.3 per cent in the second quarter. BlackBerry, the Canadian telephone-makers, was put up for sale. The United States justice department blocked the merger of American Airlines and US Airways. Eydie Gorme, who had a hit in 1963 with ‘Blame It On The Bossa Nova’, died in Los Angeles, aged 84. Norway refused Apple permission to take aerial photographs of Oslo to create 3D images.

Police investigating human trafficking from China to Europe and the United States arrested 51 in Spain and 24 in France. China sentenced to death two men accused of ‘illegal religious activities’ after unrest involving the Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang in April left 21 dead. The 19,000-ton Yong Sheng sailed from Dalian, China’s northernmost warm-water port, bound for Rotterdam via the North-East Passage. Residents of Kesennuma, Japan, voted to have a 200ft fishing vessel, driven inland by the tsunami of 2011, broken up for scrap rather than preserved as a memorial.    CSH

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