Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

21 November 2015

9:00 AM

21 November 2015

9:00 AM

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After the killings in Paris, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said that seven terrorist attacks on Britain had been prevented in the past six months. He met President Vladimir Putin of Russia at a G20 meeting at Antalya in Turkey. Mr Putin said: ‘We should join efforts in preventing terror. Unfortunately our bilateral relations are not of the best.’ Mr Cameron said in the Commons: ‘Raqqa, if you like, is the head of the snake… we need to deal with it not just in Iraq but in Syria too.’ He said funds from maintaining defence spending at 2 per cent of GDP would go to special forces, drones and fighter aircraft. MI5, MI6 and GCHQ would be able to recruit an extra 1,900 officers to their 12,700 staff. At a meeting of the parliamentary Labour party, MPs shouted at Jeremy Corbyn, their leader, after he expressed unhappiness with what he called a ‘shoot-to-kill policy’ towards possible terrorists on British streets. A woman in Bicester, Oxfordshire, was arrested after a beauty salon posted a notice on Facebook saying that it would no longer be ‘taking bookings from anyone from the Islamic faith’.

The day before the killings in Paris, Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British member of the Islamic State group, nicknamed Jihadi John, who had murdered hostages on video, was killed in Raqqa, Syria, by an American drone alerted by British intelligence. A charter fight landed in Glasgow with the first of 1,000 Syrian refugees due to arrive in Britain before Christmas. Two schools in east London were closed for a week to be rid of infestations of false widow spiders. Two ‘lads’ mags’, FHM and Zoo, ceased publication.


Warren Mitchell, who played Alf Garnett in Till Death Us Do Part, died, aged 89. Saeed Jaffrey, the film actor, died aged 86. A 16-year-old boy was arrested after a policeman was seriously wounded in the stomach by a knife attacker in Bow, east London. A 16-year-old boy was found, shot dead, on a canal towpath in Vauxhall, Liverpool. A 20ft cabin and a Nissan Micra were swallowed by a sinkhole at Lindal in Cumbria.

Abroad

Terrorists supporting the cause of the Islamic State shot dead 129 people in Paris, and wounded 352, 99 critically. At Bataclan, a concert venue in the 11th arrondissement, the audience was held hostage and 89 killed. At La Belle Equipe, a bistro also in the 11th arrondissement, 19 were killed. At Le Petit Cambodge restaurant and the Carillon bar opposite, in the 10th arrondissement, 15 were killed. At the Casa Nostra restaurant in the 11th arrondissement, five were killed. A man wearing explosives in a waistcoat fled when he was stopped as he tried to enter the Stade de France at St Denis during a football game against Germany that President François Hollande of France was attending; three attackers died outside, along with a bystander. Four attackers died elsewhere in the city.

Many Parisians lit candles and laid flowers. President Hollande called the attacks ‘an act of war’, and declared a state of emergency, asking parliament to extend it to three months. Some 115,000 troops and police were mobilised. A raid in St Denis, in search of Abdelhamid Abaaoud (the son of a grocer in the Molenbeek district of Brussels) who was suspected of being the ringleader, led to two deaths and seven arrests. Manuel Valls, the Prime Minister of France, said that the attacks were organised from Syria. One of the attackers had passed through the Greek island of Leros with a group of migrants in October. More than a dozen American states said that Syrian refugees were no longer welcome because of anxieties about security. French aircraft launched attacks on Raqqa, a headquarters of the Islamic State. Before the French atrocities, the Pentagon said it had probably succeeded in killing in an air strike Abu Nabil, an Iraqi also known as Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al-Zubaydi, the leader of the Libyan branch of the Islamic State.

The Burmese parliament sat with 238 seats out of 440 in the lower house held by the National League for Democracy (led by Aung San Suu Kyi) and 131 of 224 in the upper house. Jonah Lomu, the New Zealand rugby player, died aged 40. During the tour of New Zealand and Australia by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, a 22-month-old girl in Perth thought better of handing over a bouquet of flowers, but the Duchess proved too strong for her. CSH

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