Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

16 August 2014

9:00 AM

16 August 2014

9:00 AM

Home

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, resisted calls for Parliament to be recalled to debate the crisis in Iraq. Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, said that the government was not considering military intervention ‘at the present time’. Mark Simmonds resigned as a Foreign Office minister, but Downing Street hastened to say that his resignation, unlike Lady Warsi’s a week earlier, had nothing to do with government policy on Gaza, since he was complaining he could not afford to rent a flat in London for his family with the £27,000 allowance. A man sought by police investigating the theft of a fish tank from a furniture shop in Leeds hid in a bush and was attacked by a swarm of wasps.

Unemployment fell 132,000 to 2.08 million and average wages fell 0.2 per cent over a year. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Britain had breached the rights of ten prisoners in Scottish jails by preventing them from voting in the 2009 European election, but it refused to award damages, saying the ruling in the inmates’ favour was enough. Leicestershire police killed a dog with a taser after it attacked an alsatian. Ladbrokes, the bookmakers, saw a fall in profits of 49.7 per cent in the first half of 2014, during which it changed its gaming software. London Underground posted a video of a little child in a pushchair being blown on to the tracks at Goodge Street station and rescued by his mother.


The Royal Mail planned to bring forward last collections from postboxes to as early as nine o’clock in the morning, so that they could be made by postmen making deliveries. The British education system was ranked sixth in the developed world by Pearson, the educational firm, with Finland and South Korea taking the top places. Rory McIlroy, from Holywood, Co. Down, won the US PGA championship. A squall hit Strangford Lough, Co. Down, during a dinghy championship, throwing 100 people into the water. The moon at its perigee loomed unusually large and Perseid meteors dropped from the sky.

Abroad

In Iraq, tens of thousands of Yazidi took refuge without food or water on Mount Sinjar, fleeing forces of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. President Barack Obama of the United States asked: ‘How do we give safe passage for people down from the mountain and where can we ultimately relocate them?’ America dropped supplies to the Yazidi, and air drops by the RAF were resumed after being suspended lest they hurt those on the ground. Britain sent Typhoon fighters to help with surveillance and some Chinook helicopters. The Islamic State also overran the city of Qaraqosh, where thousands of Christians had sought refuge. The United States began air strikes to hamper Islamic State attacks on Kurdish positions near Erbil, and increased the number of its military advisers in Iraq to 380. President Fuad Masum of Iraq asked Haider al-Abadi, the deputy speaker of parliament (the candidate proposed by Shia parties), to form a new government in place of that of Nouri al-Maliki, who did not want to resign as prime minister. Forty men suspected of fighting in Iraq and Syria were arrested by police in Kosovo.

In Gaza, a 72-hour ceasefire ended with Hamas resuming hostilities, then another ceasefire began, accompanied by talks in Cairo. Up to 11 August, 1,948 Palestinians had been killed and 66 Israelis. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the outgoing prime minister of Turkey, was elected president, a role for which he hoped to secure more power. Lauren Bacall, the actress, died aged 89. The actor and comedian Robin Williams hanged himself at home in California while suffering from depression, aged 63. The acquisition of Chiquita by the Irish company Fyffes to form the world’s biggest banana company was challenged by a rival bid from a Brazilian consortium. The French government was asked to rename a village south of Paris called La Mort aux Juifs.

Russia despatched a convoy of 280 lorries that it said were carrying food and medicine to eastern Ukraine, where at least 1,500 have died in fighting since April. Ukrainian officials said that it should pass through a government-controlled border post and be accompanied by Red Cross officials. The Pope visited South Korea. A Spanish missionary who caught Ebola fever in Monrovia died in an isolation ward in Madrid; more than 1,000 in west Africa have died of the virus since February. Eight matadors in Bogota went on hunger strike in protest against the mayor cancelling the lease of the city’s bullring.       CSH

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