Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

29 November 2014

9:00 AM

29 November 2014

9:00 AM

Home

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, spent a few days announcing things. She broadcast on the Andrew Marr Show on television and then on Desert Island Discs. She said Britain was ‘unlikely’ to meet a target of reducing net immigration to the tens of thousands, because EU migration had ‘blown us off course’. Regarding child abuse, she said: ‘What we have already seen revealed is only the tip of the iceberg.’ She then announced a new Security Bill, obliging internet providers to retain Internet Protocol addresses to identify individual users, and requiring schools, universities and councils to counter radicalisation. Asked if she wanted to succeed David Cameron, the Prime Minister, in leading the Conservative party, she said she hoped he was ‘going to be doing that for a very long time’. Hundreds of people in Manchester and Salford tweeted about a loud bang on 24 November, but police and firemen found nothing.

The murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby near Woolwich Barracks in 2013 could not have been prevented despite his killers appearing in seven intelligence investigations, a report by the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee found. After it emerged that one of the killers had spoken on Facebook about wanting to murder a soldier, David Cameron said that internet companies had a ‘social responsibility’ to act on terrorist material posted online. Tesco redesigned its newspaper display stands so that shorter children would not be able to see the filth and violence depicted on tabloid front pages. Lewis Hamilton took the Formula 1 world title for the second time.


Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, addressed 10,000 party supporters at the Glasgow Hydro, saying: ‘Right here, right now, democracy rocks.’ Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, was reported not to be seeking re-election to Parliament. Royal Bank of Scotland apologised for directors giving incorrect evidence to a parliamentary hearing in June when the Treasury Committee asked about claims that the bank had deliberately killed off viable firms. The number of mortgages granted by banks fell by 16 per cent in the year up to October.

Abroad

Buildings were burnt and many shots fired during riots in Ferguson, a suburb of St Louis, Missouri, after a grand jury decided against prosecuting a policeman for shooting dead Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, in August. Talks between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany on the Iranian nuclear programme were extended beyond their deadline. Cyber snooping malware called Regin, attributed to western intelligence agencies, was detected in Russian and Saudi Arabian telecommunications systems, according to security company Symantec. A train set off from eastern Ukraine for Holland carrying the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, brought down in July with the loss of the 298 on board. President Vladimir Putin of Russia signed a treaty with Abkhazia, the breakaway region of Georgia.

Gunmen from al-Shabab separated non-Muslims from other passengers on a bus in Kenya near the Somali border and shot 28 dead. Two woman suicide bombers, thought to be from Boko Haram, killed at least 30 people in Maiduguri, northern Nigeria. Two British men, one a former soldier, were found to be fighting alongside Kurdish troops in Syria against forces of the Islamic State. President Barack Obama of the United States parted company after two years with Chuck Hagel as his defence secretary. A suicide bomber killed at least 45 people at a volleyball tournament in eastern Afghanistan. A British-born Iranian woman, detained in Iran in June after attempting to watch a men’s volleyball match, was freed on bail. ‘You cannot put women and men on an equal footing,’ President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey told a women’s conference in Istanbul. ‘It is against nature.’

The great ideas which once inspired Europe seem to have lost their attraction, only to be replaced by the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions,’ Pope Francis said in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He also called for a united response to boatloads of migrants desperate to reach Europe: ‘We cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a vast cemetery.’ Jose Socrates, the prime minister of Portugal from 2005 to 2011, was detained in prison by a judge investigating corruption. In Sierra Leone, burial workers protesting about not being paid danger money dumped 15 bodies at the hospital in the city of Kenema, two of them at the entrance. A first folio of Shakespeare’s plays was found in the public library of Saint-Omer in northern France.                 CSH

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