Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

2 July 2015

1:00 PM

2 July 2015

1:00 PM

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At least 30 British people were among 38 shot dead at a beach resort at Sousse in Tunisia by Seifeddine Rezgui, aged 23, a Tunisian acting for the Islamic State and said to have been trained in Libya. Soldiers, emergency services and 1,000 police took part in a two-day exercise in London simulating a terrorist attack. A statutory obligation became binding on public bodies, including schools, to prevent people being drawn towards terrorism. Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, said that schools should look out for ‘homophobia’ as a symptom of Islamist jihadism. James Brokenshire, the Immigration Minister, said the National Barrier Asset (lengths of nine-foot fencing) would be deployed at the French end of the Channel tunnel to keep out illegal immigrants, as striking French ferry workers barricaded the tunnel with burning tyres for the second time in a fortnight. Loud booing greeted a prolonged rape scene in Damiano Michieletto’s production of Guillaume Tell at the Royal Opera House.

The government delayed plans to electrify railway routes from Sheffield to London and from Manchester to Leeds. Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, said that Network Rail’s chairman, Richard Parry-Jones, would leave the group at the end of his three-year term. Network Rail Scotland promised to stop trains dumping sewage on Scotland’s tracks by the end of 2017. The commission headed by Sir Howard Davies recommended an extra runway at Heathrow, a plan hotly opposed by Boris Johnson MP, the Mayor of London, and lukewarmly received by David Cameron, the Prime Minister. John Noakes, aged 81, the former presenter of Blue Peter, who suffers from dementia, was found wandering ten hours after going missing from his house in Majorca.


The population of the United Kingdom was found to have increased in a year by 491,100 (including net immigration of 259,700) to reach 64,596,800; the city of London saw an increase of 5.54 per cent and Scotland of 0.37 per cent. Patrick Macnee, who played Steed in The Avengers, died, aged 93. A second was added to 30 June, in order to synchronise atomic clocks with the slowing rotation of the Earth. Scientists said there was a one in 10,000 chance that an asteroid could land off the coast of Norfolk in the next 85 years, causing a devastating tsunami. Trains were delayed by hot weather.

Abroad

The European Central Bank cut off funds from Greece, which had to close its banks and impose capital controls. Greece refused to pay a €1.5 billion instalment on a loan from the International Monetary Fund, due on 30 June. But the Greek government kept making new negotiating proposals. A referendum was scheduled on whether people favoured a submission made by Greece to the Troika on 26 June; the government recommended a No vote, which would imply rejection of the euro currency. Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, said: ‘I will say to the Greeks, whom I love deeply: You mustn’t commit suicide.’ Lars Løkke Rasmussen became the prime minister of Denmark, heading a minority government of the economically liberal party called Venstre.

A Saudi supporter of the Islamic State set off a bomb in a Shia mosque in Kuwait, killing himself and at least 27 others. About 1,200 prisoners, including al-Qaeda suspects, escaped from a prison in central Yemen, which has been undergoing a campaign of airstrikes, led by Saudi Arabia, to slow the advance of Houthi rebels backed by Iran. At least 11 Egyptian soldiers were killed by jihadists in Sinai. Yassin Salhi, a worker at the Air Products factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier near Lyon in France, was arrested on suspicion of killing his boss, whose head was hung on a fence there. Walmart apologised after one of its stores in Louisiana made a cake decorated on request with the Islamic State flag.

President Barack Obama welcomed a judgment by the Supreme Court which gave people of the same sex the right to marry throughout the United States. Mr Obama sang ‘Amazing Grace’ at a service to commemorate the nine people shot dead at a church frequented by black people at Charleston, South Carolina. A military transport plane crashed in the Indonesian city of Medan, killing more than 100. Coloured powder sprayed from the stage on to a crowd at an amusement park near Taipei suddenly ignited, engulfing them in fire and leaving more than 500 burnt, with one woman dying of her wounds. An oak tree said to be 600 years old at the Serbian village of Savinac brought to a halt the construction of a motorway from Sarajevo to the coast.         CSH


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