Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

7 June 2014

9:00 AM

7 June 2014

9:00 AM

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The government scrabbled together material for the Queen’s Speech, which promised measures to allow money to be put into ‘collective defined contribution schemes’ for pensions, as is done in Holland; to prevent pub landlords who are tied to large companies being worse off than independent publicans; to increase penalties for human traffickers; and to allow for by-elections when MPs do serious wrong. The European Commission called on Britain to raise taxes on higher value properties and build more houses. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, and Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, fought fiercely to blame each other over Islamic extremism in Birmingham schools. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, backed Conservative party proposals for Scotland to be able to set its own rates of income tax. In an attempt to steal sensitive information, Gameover Zeus malware stalked computers running on the Windows system.

Wrangling among the Liberal Democrat peerage continued. Lord Ashdown said that plots to get rid of Nick Clegg as leader had made ‘a bad situation worse’ and that Lord Oakeshott, who had resigned from the party four days earlier, was ‘famous for making difficult days for the party more difficult’. Lord Oakeshott had leaked results of a poll he’d commissioned suggesting that the party would do better if Mr Clegg was replaced by Vince Cable. Messrs Clegg and Cable then posed drinking beer together in a deserted public house. Shirley, Lady Williams, said that she thought allegations of sexual impropriety against Lord Rennard were ‘hugely blown up’. Lord Rennard issued a reticent apology, which Lord Carlile called ‘generous’, although Bridget Harris, one of his accusers, said the Lib Dems ‘have to ask him to leave’. Mary, Lady Soames, Churchill’s last surviving child, died, aged 91.


Police in London arrested Altaf Hussain, the leader of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which controls Karachi, on suspicion of money-laundering. Three spectators were killed at the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders. Two competitors died during the TT races on the Isle of Man. Kirstie Allsopp, the television presenter, told the Telegraph that if she had a daughter, her advice would be: ‘Darling, do you know what? Don’t go to university. Start work straight after school, stay at home, save up your deposit — I’ll help you, let’s get you into a flat. And then we can find you a nice boyfriend and you can have a baby by the time you’re 27.’

Abroad

Football officials took £3 million in return for supporting the bid for Qatar to hold the World Cup in 2022, the Sunday Times revealed. Jim Boyce, the vice-president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, said he’d be happy with a new vote on the venue. Brazil gave policemen a 15.8 per cent rise to avert a strike during this year’s World Cup. Nigerian police lifted a ban on peaceful rallies demanding the release of more than 200 schoolgirls seized by Boko Haram in April. Boko Haram killed dozens more villagers in the north. South Africa was ranked worst of 148 countries in the world for education in maths.

The United States exchanged five prisoners at Guantanamo Bay for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, 28, who had been held for five years by the Taleban in Afghanistan; Mullah Omar, the mysterious one-eyed Taleban leader, called the deal a ‘big victory’. Some of Sgt Bergdahl’s former comrades blamed him for deserting his post in the first place. President Barack Obama visited Poland. Pro-Russian separatists attacked Ukrainian posts in eastern Ukraine; Ukrainian forces attacked separatist forces controlling the city of Sloviansk. Saudi Arabia admitted 282 people had died from the camel-borne Mers virus.

King Juan-Carlos of Spain abdicated after 39 years, in favour of his heir Felipe, Prince of Asturias. Spain arrested six men in its north African enclave of Melilla suspected of trying to recruit men for militant groups in Libya and Mali. The Italian navy picked up more than 3,600 migrants in 24 hours trying to cross from north Africa. In Libya the Islamist guerrillas Ansar al-Sharia fought the forces of the renegade General Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi. Syria, in the midst of its civil war, held a presidential election with three candidates; President Bashar al-Assad was re-elected. Abdul Fattah al-Sisi was declared President of Egypt, with 96 per cent of the vote. Tory MEPs annoyed David Cameron by wooing the anti-euro Alternative für Deutschland party, which won seven seats in the European Parliament. The South Korean rapper Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ video became the first on YouTube to be watched more than two billion times.         CSH

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