The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Britain would not violate human rights by extraditing to the United States five terrorist suspects: Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad, Adel Abdul Bary, Talha Ahsan and Khaled al-Fawwaz; the case of Haroon Aswat, who suffers from schizophrenia, was adjourned. A car bomb was found at Newry, Co. Down. The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigated ten incidents of alleged racism involving 18 officers. Football clubs should pay for policing further away from stadiums, Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt said on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers. A fire in a goods yard in Canning Town cut off electricity for 88,000.
Candidates for the post of Mayor of London published details of their taxes: Boris Johnson (Conservative) paid £213,749 tax on an income of £473,280; Ken Livingstone (Labour) paid £34,661 tax on an income of £94,568; Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat) paid £20,504 tax on an income of £76,804; Jenny Jones (Green) paid £15,577 tax on an income of £63,028. Chancellor George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, then told the Daily Telegraph that he would be ‘very happy’ to consider publishing the personal tax returns of senior cabinet ministers. Downing Street accused some rich people of donating to charities which do not ‘do a great deal of charitable work’. The NUT and NASUWT celebrated Easter in their traditional manner by threatening to go on strike. The government considered proposals by Emirates airline to fly to and from Heathrow from 4 a.m. round the clock to 1 a.m., narrowing the current night closure of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, flew off to Japan, and included Burma among the destinations of an east Asian tour.
Sky News said that it had hacked emails from John Darwin, the man who faked his own death in a canoe, before passing information to the police. Through mistakes in entering data, National Health Service statistics were found to have recorded 8,000 men as having sought gynaecological treatment. The Home Office website was brought down by an attack by Anonymous, an internet hacking group. A group posted photographs on the Place Hacking blog taken from the top of the 1,016ft Shard building in London. The 158th Oxford and Cambridge Boat race was stopped when Trenton Oldfield, an Australian aged 35, swam into the path of the boats; when it was resumed Oxford broke an oar, leaving Cambridge to win by four-and-a-quarter lengths.
On the day that the Syrian government had agreed to withdraw heavy weapons from centres of population before a UN-sponsored ceasefire, shelling was reported in Homs, and some 100 people were killed throughout the country. Shots were fired at people fleeing into Turkey, which called it a ‘clear violation’ of its borders. Ansar al-Sharia, an affiliate of al-Qa’eda, attacked a military camp near Lawdar in Yemen and at least 57 were killed. Israel banned Günter Grass from entering the country after he published a poem accusing it of claiming ‘the alleged right to the first strike that could annihilate the Iranian people’. North Korea set about testing a rocket. Facebook paid $1 billion for Instagram, the online photo-sharing site. The Lion King became the highest earning show in Broadway history, having overtaken The Phantom of the Opera and earned $853.8 million since opening in 1997.
Rick Santorum halted his campaign to be chosen as the Republican candidate for the American presidency. Amadou Toumani Touré formally resigned as President of Mali as negotiations continued with leaders of the coup that has alarmed members of the Economic Community of West African States. Joyce Banda, who had been vice-president of Malawi, succeeded as president after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika. A psychiatric evaluation found that Anders Behring Breivik, who admits having killed 77 people in Norway, was not suffering from psychosis at the time and can stand trial.
President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan held talks in Delhi with Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, in the first such visit for seven years. An avalanche buried a military camp housing 124 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians near the Siachen glacier in Kashmir. Spain found the cost of borrowing rising to dangerous levels again, with ten-year bonds hitting 5.99 per cent. The King of Spain’s 13-year-old grandson, Felipe Juan, accidentally shot himself in the foot. Dennis Hennis, a 52-year-old builder in New Jersey trying to mend a nail-gun, shot a four-inch nail into his heart, but, wisely deciding not to remove it himself, underwent life-saving surgery. CSH
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated April 14, 2012