Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

21 September 2013

9:00 AM

21 September 2013

9:00 AM

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The government sold 6 per cent of Lloyds Banking Group to big investors for £3.2 billion. It still owns 32.7 per cent of the bank. Barclays published details of plans to raise £5.95 billion by issuing new shares. The Financial Conduct Authority warned Barclays of a £50 million fine for a deal with Qatari investors in 2008, in which it failed to ‘act with integrity’ towards shareholders; Barclays contests this. Blitz Games of Leamington, a computer games designers, closed its doors after 23 years. Inflation measured by the consumer prices index fell from 2.8 per cent to 2.7 per cent, but by the retail prices index rose from 3.1 to 3.3 per cent. Five men were jailed for up to seven years for the opportunistic theft of 40 anti-tank mines from a Ministry of Defence train that had stopped at a red signal outside Warrington. First Capital Connect was fined £75,000 after passengers were stuck on a train between St Pancras and Kentish Town in London for three hours in May 2011.

Asked if the coalition could break up before the elections in 2015, Vincent Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, said: ‘It’s certainly possible.’ Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, promised free lunches for every infant school pupil in England. Firemen belonging to the Fire Brigades Union will go on strike for a few hours. The death in February of Gloria Foster, an 81-year-old woman left without food or medicine for nine days, was the consequence of a ‘serious mistake’, according to a report by the Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board; her care agency closed, with no replacement, after a raid by police and the UK Border Agency. Rare lesser horseshoe bats gratefully moved into a former lime kiln near Brecon prepared for their use.


A Muslim woman accused of intimidating a witness can stand trial wearing a full-face veil but must remove it to give evidence, Judge Peter Murphy ruled at Blackfriars Crown Court. Birmingham Metropolitan College dropped a ban on pupils wearing full-face veils, after protests. Britain should consider banning full veils in schools and public places, Jeremy Browne, a Liberal Democrat minister at the Home Office said. The Church in Wales voted to ordain women as bishops.

Abroad

President Bashar al-Assad agreed to a Russian-backed plan for Syria to give up chemical weapons. Sarin gas was definitely used in a rocket attack in Damascus last month, an official UN report said. Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General said: ‘This is a war crime.’ After talks in Geneva between John Kerry, the US secretary of state, and Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart, Syria was given a week to disclose its chemical weapons and until the middle of 2014 to get rid of them. Mr Lavrov later fell out with Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, over who used the chemicals. President Vladimir Putin of Russia, meanwhile, held talks with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The civil war continued in Syria, where about 4.25 million people, mostly the elderly and children, had fled their homes. Some attention was focused on Maaloula, a Christian town where Sunni affiliates of al-Qa’eda fought Shia allies of Assad.

The Philippine army freed dozens of hostages held by 100 Muslim insurgents under siege for a week in the city of Zamboanga, where 70,000 fled the violence. The red-bearded Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, aged 78, lost control of the Islamist forces of al-Shabab and gave himself up to the government. Bombs in mainly Shia areas of Iraq killed more than 40 people in one day. More than 5,000 have been killed this year, according to the UN.

A former US Navy reservist, aged 34, shot dead 12 people at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, and was himself shot dead. Four men convicted of the murder and rape of a woman on a bus in Delhi were sentenced to be hanged, to the approval of the victim’s mother. A fire at a wooden psychiatric hospital in the Novgorod region of Russia killed 37. Spain’s public debt reached €942.8 billion. More than 100 people in Morocco pulled down part of a 20ft fence and entered the Spanish enclave of Melilla. Catalans formed a human chain stretching for 300 miles across their country, demanding independence. Twitter is to offer shares to the public. Microsoft announced a share buyback worth $40 billion. Floods forced thousands to leave Boulder, Colorado. The Costa Concordia cruise ship was righted 20 months after it foundered on rocks close to the Italian island of Giglio. Off Hawaii, 1,400 tons of spilt treacle killed thousands of fish; a shark alert ensued.            CSH

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