Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

23 November 2013

9:00 AM

23 November 2013

9:00 AM


The government announced proposals for the National Health Service, including a law to criminalise wilful neglect by doctors and nurses, and a scheme to post online the numbers of nurses on wards. By the end of October, 219 households had seen work completed to insulate their houses under the government’s Green Deal, launched last January. Nick Boles, the planning minister, suggested that David Cameron, the Prime Minister, might like to revive the National Liberal Party, an organisation affiliated to the Conservative party from 1947 to 1968. The Foreign Office summoned the Spanish ambassador after a Spanish ship entered waters off Gibraltar and undertook surveying activity for 20 hours. A Norfolk woman was convicted of failing to stop after an accident after she tweeted: ‘Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier.’ Tie Rack is to close its 44 shops.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Colombo, Sri Lanka, David Cameron called for an independent inquiry into alleged war crimes by the Sri Lankan government at the end of its war against separatist Tamil Tiger terrorists; otherwise he would take action through Britain’s position on the UN Human Rights Council. He flew to Jaffna and met Tamils at a camp, whose leader said: ‘We believe in David Cameron as a god.’ The Prince of Wales celebrated his 65th birthday and danced the hokey cokey with disabled Sri Lankan children. Back in Britain, David Cameron telephoned the President of Iran. Downing Street responded to an invitation by Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, for a national debate on reducing the age of consent from 16 to 15, by saying: ‘There are no plans to change it.’ Mr Cameron responded to an invitation by the Princess Royal to consider the horsemeat trade by saying: ‘I think we should stick to our non-horse-eating habits.’

John Larkin, the attorney general of Northern Ireland, said that there should be no further police investigations, inquests or inquiries into killings by paramilitaries, the police or the army that took place before the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. The Ministry of Justice rejected an offer of £24 million from G4S, the security firm, which said it had overcharged for the tagging of offenders. Joanna Dennehy, 31, from Huntingdonshire, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to murdering three men found stabbed in Cambridgeshire ditches in March and April. Denis MacShane, 65, the former Labour MP, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to false accounting over parliamentary expenses. Paul Flowers, the former chairman of the Co-op Bank, apologised after being filmed buying cocaine; he was suspended from the Labour party and the Methodist Church where he is a minister. Len Wardle resigned as chairman of the Co-op Group. Doris Lessing, the novelist, died, aged 94. Hull is to be UK city of culture for 2017.


A three-day general strike was held in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, to encourage the withdrawal of militias from Misrata, who had shot dead more than 40 people demonstrating against their presence. Mustafa Nuh, the deputy intelligence chief of Libya, was freed a day after being abducted by gunmen from Zintan, where the late Colonel Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, is still being held. Armed gangs of former rebels from the Seleka movement, mostly Muslim, continued in control of much of the Central African Republic, provoking mainly Christian militias to offer protection to villagers.

A double suicide bombing outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut killed at least 22. Bombs in mostly Shia districts of Baghdad killed at least 21 in a day. In Syria, Abdul Qadir al-Saleh, the leader of Liwa al-Tawhid, an Islamist faction of 10,000 fighters, died of wounds from a government air-raid on Aleppo five days earlier. Google agreed to remove from its Maps service a satellite image of a teenager shot dead near a railway line in Richmond, California.

Checks by Spain at its border with Gibraltar, which held up traffic for hours, did not break EU law, the European Commission ruled. Rob Ford, the popular 21-stone mayor of Toronto, who has admitted drunkenness and drug-taking, had most of his powers removed by city councillors. More than 17 inches of rain fell in 90 minutes over Sardinia. Tornadoes swept through the American Midwest, with hailstones the size of tennis balls. A lion killed a lioness in Dallas zoo. The sun is to ‘flip upside down’ within weeks, astronomers at Nasa said, as its magnetic field reverses polarity.             CSH

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  • Terry Field

    Whatever is done with the Soviet health edifice, it will fail.

    No other civilised nation replicates the insanity of the idea of the British NHS.

    They know better.
    So do I – I left!