Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

20 June 2015

9:00 AM

20 June 2015

9:00 AM


Talha Asmal, aged 17, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, died in a suicide bomb attack on forces near an oil refinery near Baiji in Iraq, having assumed the name Abu Yusuf al-Britani. A man from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, Thomas Evans, 25, who had changed his name to Abdul Hakim, was killed in Kenya while fighting for al-Shabab. Three sisters from Bradford were thought to have travelled to Syria with their nine children after going on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. Britain had had to move intelligence agents, the Sunday Times reported, because Russia and China had deciphered documents made public by Edward Snowden, the CIA employee who has taken refuge in Russia. Payments expected by customers of the RBS group of banks failed to enter accounts overnight. A lottery prize of £93,388,943 was claimed. Camelot, the lottery operator, increased the number of balls in the draw from 49 to 59.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, headed off rebellion over the EU referendum by agreeing not to hold it on the same day as other elections on 5 May 2016 and by getting David Lidington, the Europe minister, to announce that, in the four weeks before the vote, the government ‘will not undertake a range of activity that most will regard as the province of the campaign’. Four nominations for the leadership of the Labour party — Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Jeremy Corbyn — will face a postal ballot, with the winner announced in September. The annual rate of inflation, according to the Consumer Prices Index, rose to 0.1 per cent in May after deflation at the rate of 0.1 per cent in the previous month; according to the Retail Prices Index, inflation rose from 0.9 per cent to 1 per cent. A spider, Hypsosinga heri, not seen since 1912 and assumed extinct, was found in Dorset.

Boris Johnson MP, the Mayor of London, said that Professor Sir Tim Hunt ‘should be reinstated forthwith to his academic positions’. Sir Tim, a Nobel prize winner, had been forced to resign from his honorary post at University College, London, after saying in a speech in South Korea: ‘Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.’ Sir Christopher Lee, the Dracula film actor, died, aged 93. Ron Moody, best known for his role as Fagin, died, aged 91. Marguerite Patten, the cookery writer, died, aged 99. Graham Lord, the biographer of Jeffrey Bernard, died, aged 72.


Greece continued to stumble towards the precipice of leaving the euro. Talks with European Union officials led nowhere. Greek shares fell. German and French politicians contemplated the prospect of Greece defaulting on debt payments at the end of the month. President Vladimir Putin of Russia said that it would put more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles into service this year. Swiss banks had reported suspicious activity around accounts used by Fifa, the Swiss attorney general said. Nestlé set about destroying more than £32 million worth of its popular Maggi noodles intended for sale in India after objections from the country’s food safety regulator about levels of lead.

Matteo Renzi, the Prime Minister of Italy, said that if other EU members would not agree to take migrants arriving across the Mediterranean, then Italy would begin to issue them with temporary visas, enabling them to travel on to other countries under the Schengen agreement. President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan returned to Khartoum from an African Union meeting in South Africa, having avoided arrest on charges of war crimes made by the International Criminal Court. Floods in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, killed at least 13 and sent animals from the zoo wandering the city.

Al Qa’eda in the Arabian Peninsula said that its leader, Nasser al-Wuhayshi, had been killed in Yemen by an American drone. Ansar al-Sharia, a violent Islamist group in Libya, denied that an American drone had killed Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who had carried out the siege of an Algerian gas plant in 2013 that left 40 people dead. At least 23 people were killed and 100 injured in suicide attacks by men on motorbikes outside two police buildings in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad. The number of people in South Korea to have died of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome rose to 19. The Pope published an encyclical on caring for creation, called Laudato Si, a quotation from the Canticle of the Sun by St Francis of Assisi.

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