Portrait of the week

Portrait of the Week: Corbyn and Jewdas and Kim Jong-un’s visit to South Korea

7 April 2018

9:00 AM

7 April 2018

9:00 AM


Alison Saunders said she would relinquish her position as the Director of Public Prosecutions when her five-year contract ends in October. Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, told the Times that she was ditching the previously embraced principle of believing all complaints of sexual assault. ‘We should have an open mind when a person walks in,’ she said. In February, 15 people were murdered in London and 14 in New York; in March it was 22 and 21. On 2 April two teenagers were shot in London; one died at the scene and the other the day after. Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, said that the sale of ivory items of whatever age would be made illegal.

Some Labour MPs joined criticism of Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the party, for not having done enough to counter anti-Semitism in its ranks. Mr Corbyn deleted his personal Facebook page. He had been accused of belonging to Facebook groups which contained anti-Semitic posts, which he denied having seen. Christine Shawcroft, a director of Momentum, which backs Jeremy Corbyn, resigned her seat on Labour’s National Executive Committee after having called for the reinstatement of a council candidate accused of Holocaust denial. She was replaced by Eddie Izzard, the comedian who often wears women’s clothes. Momentum issued a statement: ‘Accusations of anti-Semitism should not and cannot be dismissed simply as right-wing smears.’ Mr Corbyn then attended an event held by Jewdas, a satirically minded Jewish far-left group, which on its Twitter account called Israel ‘a steaming pile of sewage which needs to be properly disposed of’. The government delayed until 17 April the final decision on which company will make UK British passports after Brexit.

More than three quarters of companies employing more than 250 people reported paying men more than women in different jobs. The condition of Yulia Skripal, who, with her father Sergei, was poisoned in Salisbury on 4 March, is no longer critical, her hospital said. Russia, which had expelled 23 British diplomats, said that Britain must cut its diplomatic mission in Russia to the same size as the Russian mission in Britain, entailing a reduction of another 27. A fire that started at 4.20 p.m. on Good Friday destroyed a shuttle bus at Stansted airport, and all flights until midnight were cancelled. About 3,300 customers of the suppliers Calor gas were left without hot water and heating over Easter. The Duke of Edinburgh, 96, went for hip surgery to the King Edward VII’s Hospital in Marylebone.


Kim Jong-un, the ruler of North Korea, applauded K-Pop and other music acts from South Korea as they performed at the 2,500-seat East Pyongyang Grand Theatre. North Korea would take part in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the International Olympic Committee announced. The 8.5 ton retired Chinese space lab Tiangong-1 fell into the Pacific. China imposed import tariffs on American goods such as frozen pork, fruit, ginseng and wine in retaliation for United States tariffs on steel and aluminium. Nasim Aghdam, 39, who had a grudge against YouTube, shot and wounded three people outside its headquarters in California, then shot herself. Drue Heinz, the philanthropist, died aged 103. French railway workers began three months of strikes with a Mardi Noir of inaction. Half the flights in Europe were delayed on the same day because of a system failure at Eurocontrol, which co-ordinates flights.

Jaish al-Islam, a guerrilla group, agreed with Russia to be evacuated from Douma, the last rebel-held town in Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, to rebel-held territory in Idlib. Sixteen Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces as thousands rallied on the border of the Gaza Strip at the start of a six-week protest. A day after agreeing with the UN to accept half of about 30,000 illegal African immigrants and sending 16,250 to western countries, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, changed his mind. Winnie Mandela, for 38 years the wife of Nelson Mandela, until their divorce in 1996, died aged 81. Spotify, the music streaming company, floated shares on the New York stock market.

Australian cricket took on a soggy aspect with tearful performances at press conferences by Steve Smith, the captain, David Warner, the vice-captain and Cameron Bancroft, the player caught applying sandpaper to the ball, all banned for months. Darren Lehmann tearfully resigned as coach. The Vatican poured cold water on a quotation from Pope Francis retailed by the 93-year-old atheist Eugenio Scalfari: ‘There is no hell — there is the disappearance of sinful souls.’

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