Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

9 August 2014

9:00 AM

9 August 2014

9:00 AM

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined 50 heads of state at the St Symphorien cemetery near Mons to commemorate the invasion of Belgium in 1914. The Prince of Wales attended a service at Glasgow cathedral; the Duchess of Cornwall attended a service at Westminster Abbey where a lighted flame was put out at 11p.m., the hour that Britain had declared war on Germany on 4 August. Many people in Britain kept one light burning for an hour that evening. The Queen attended a private service at Craithie church, near Balmoral. In the grassy moat of the Tower of London, 888,246 ceramic poppies were being planted, one for each British and Colonial death in the first world war.

Baroness Warsi resigned as a Foreign Office minister, tweeting a long letter to the Prime Minister in which she said ‘our policy in relation to the Middle East Peace Process generally’ was ‘morally indefensible’ and declared that ‘William Hague was probably one of the finest Foreign Secretaries this country has seen’. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said he was looking for a constituency in which to stand for Parliament in 2015. Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, debated on Scottish independence live on television with Alistair Darling, the leader of the Better Together campaign; viewers in England were given their own programmes. Police in Scotland began to patrol with firearms. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, cheered on a scheme by Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Newcastle for an ‘Inter-connected region’. Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, was fined £900 and given five penalty points for failing to stop after crashing into a parked car.


Two RAF Typhoons escorted a Qatar airliner to Manchester airport, where a man suspected of making a hoax bomb threat was detained under the Mental Health Act. British Airways suspended flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone, fearful of the ebola outbreak which had killed 887 in west Africa. Homeowners could be compensated if their property fell in value when new garden cities were built, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, suggested; this was news to Brandon Lewis, the housing minister. British banks increased to £23 billion the amount set aside to provide for mis-sold payment protection insurance. A group of boys, aged between seven and ten, found a 4,300-year-old golden tress-ring during an archaeological dig at Kirkhaugh, Northumberland.

Abroad

A 72-hour truce was called in Israel’s attacks upon the Gaza strip, and the launching of missiles against Israel by Hamas. An earlier truce had been broken after a few hours. Israel said that one of its soldiers had been kidnapped on 1 August, but it later emerged that he had been killed in fighting. After four weeks, 1,867 people had been killed in Gaza, and 63 Israeli soldiers, with four civilians killed in Israel. At Rafa, ten people had been killed outside a UN-run school where thousands had been sheltering, an incident that Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, called a ‘moral outrage and a criminal act’. The UN said that 485,000 people had been displaced in Gaza. Israel said that 3,000 rockets and 32 tunnels under the border had been destroyed.

In Sierra Leone, troops blockaded settlements where ebola had broken out. A White House memo leaked to the Associated Press said that a secret Senate report on CIA interrogations ‘tells a story of which no American is proud’. The next day President Barack Obama said: ‘In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that we got wrong, we did a lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks.’ An earthquake in the Yunnan province of China killed at least 400. Argentina defaulted on debts of $30 billion. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela, demanded his village house for her children.

HMS Enterprise took 110 people, mostly British, to Malta from Libya, which was overcome by fighting between militias, with Tripoli airport a focus of conflict. In Iraq, Isis took territory from Kurdish forces. The UN reported the death of dozens of Yazidi children among the 25,000 who had fled into the mountains of Iraq with their parents to escape Isis; the fugitives believe the world is in the care of Malak Taus, the Peacock Angel. Fighting continued around Donetsk as Ukrainian government forces engaged with militias supporting Russian influence. More than 60 were injured in fighting between Sudanese and Eritrean migrants camping at Calais, awaiting the chance to steal into England. CSH

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