Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

24 August 2013

9:00 AM

24 August 2013

9:00 AM

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The cost of the HS2 railway line was expected by some in the Treasury to rise from £43 billion to £73 billion. The number of new homes being built in England rose by 6 per cent in the three months to June. The United Kingdom has lost more than 40 per cent of its bank and building society branches since 1989, according to a report by Nottingham University. The proportion of candidates achieving A or A* grades at A-level fell a little to 26.3 per cent, from 26.6 per cent in 2012. The overall pass rate rose marginally to 98.1 per cent from 98 per cent. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, told the BBC that he was suffering from a ‘protruding disc’ in his back. Mo Farah won both the 10,000 metre and the 5,000 metre titles at the athletics World Championships in Moscow.

Lord Sacks, on the eve of his retirement as Chief Rabbi, said that he thought ‘the government has not done enough’ to support marriage. Mrs Justice Eleanor King ruled in the High Court that a 36-year-old
man with learning difficulties should have a vasectomy lest he become a father for a second time, which he wishes to avoid. Dave Lee Travis, aged 68, the BBC disc jockey whose broadcasts cheered Aung San Suu Kyi during her detention, was charged with 11 counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault relating to allegations by nine women then aged between 15 and 29 of incidents between 1977 to 2007. The upper age limit for jurors in England and Wales is to be raised from 70 to 75. Matt McKeown, 52, from Plymouth, achieved a record speed for a supermarket trolley of 70.4mph.


David Miranda, a Brazilian who lives with Glenn Greenwald, a Guardian journalist who has written about security information leaked by Edward Snowden, was held at Heathrow for nine hours, under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which obliges the person detained to ‘give the examining officer any information in his possession which the officer requests’. Mr Miranda’s flight had been paid for by the Guardian. The Home Office said the police were right to act if they believed someone had ‘highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism’. After 11 years as mayor of Mansfield, Tony Egginton has been banned by the council’s Labour majority from wearing his chain of office in public.

Abroad

A state of emergency continued in Egypt after two Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins had been broken up, with the death of 638 according to the health ministry, or of 2,600 according to the Muslim Brotherhood. Mohamed ElBaradei resigned as the interim vice president. Two days later, 173 died in and around Ramses square. Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were evicted from the al-Fath mosque. More than 1,000 members of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested, including its supreme guide, Mohammed Badie. In Sinai, near Rafah on the Gaza border, 25 police were told to leave the minibuses in which they were travelling and shot dead. In Cairo, 36 Islamist suspects died in a police van, apparently from suffocation. Many Coptic churches were attacked. The ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, continued in detention. Lawyers for Hosni Mubarak hoped he would be released. President Barack Obama of the United States said: ‘We deplore violence against civilians,’ and cancelled joint military exercises with Egyptian, but not the £830 million in US aid.

Some 30,000 Kurdish refugees suddenly fled into the Kurdish part of Iraq from Syria, where Kurds have been fighting affiliates of al-Qa’eda. Dozens of people were said to have been killed by chemical weapons on the outskirts of Damascus. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, blamed ‘takfiris’ (Sunni radicals) for a bomb that killed 22 in a Shia suburb of Beirut. In Baghdad, bombings killed 33 in one day. Britain re-opened its embassy in Yemen. A 14-inch species of raccoon-like mammal, the olinguito, was discovered living quietly in the mountains of Ecuador and Colombia.

Spain demanded the removal of 70 concrete blocks forming a small artificial reef off Gibraltar. At least 300 tons of highly radioactive water had leaked from the ruined Fukushima nuclear plant, its owners discovered. Wild fires encroached on the suburb of Monte above Funchal on the island of Madeira. Dick Van Dyke was pulled unscathed from his car when it burst into flames on a freeway in the Los Angeles area. Elmore Leonard, the crime novelist, died, aged 87. The Obamas acquired a second Portuguese water dog, Sunny, company for Bo. The rupee enjoyed a sensational fall.          CSH

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