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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the Week

A speedy round-up of the week's news

3 September 2005

12:00 AM

3 September 2005

12:00 AM

The Home Office proposed a new offence of having images from the internet of serious sexual violence and other obscene material; it would be punishable by three years in jail. The presumed murderer of an 11-year-old boy in West Lothian was found dead, hanged in his house; the man was on bail awaiting trial on charges of sexual offences against young girls. A woman was shot dead with a baby in her arms at a christening party in Peckham, south London; a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old black youth were arrested. A survey of 9,700 children aged 11–15 found that 9 per cent of them had said they had been able to buy alcohol in a pub or bar. Last year there were 44,488 cases of Clostridium difficile in England, against 35,536 cases in the previous year, before reporting became mandatory. The government granted licences to shoot 3,000 of Britain’s 23,000 cormorants competing for fish in rivers and lakes. No one at all was killed in the popular Notting Hill Carnival. A double garage in Ladbroke Road, Notting Hill, sold for £240,000. Uniformed soldiers took part in Manchester’s gay pride parade for the first time. British fashion retailers were said to be seeking suppliers nearer than China, from which sea routes ordinarily take 22 days; Turkey was one preferred source. Mrs Victoria Beckham said that, contrary to previous reports, she had read a book, indeed several, although not all the way through. Lord Fitt, who as Gerry Fitt became the first leader of the Social Democratic and Labour party in Northern Ireland, died, aged 79. George Smith, a former royal valet who had claimed he was raped by one of the Prince of Wales’s aides, died, aged 44. Mrs Florence Reeves, of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, thought to have been the oldest person in Britain, died, aged 111.

Hundreds died when Hurricane Katrina swept over the Gulf Coast of America. The area hardest hit was Harrison County, Mississippi, which includes Gulfport and Biloxi. The full force of the hurricane narrowly missed New Orleans, from which a million people fled on orders of the mayor, but flood waters several feet deep inundated the city after levees gave way. Mr Peter Mandelson, the European Union trade commissioner, said that China had a ‘moral and political obligation’ to help resolve a trade dispute that had seen perhaps 80 million items of clothing piling up in European ports in consequence of EU quotas imposed on 10 June. Retailers in Europe wanted the clothes, many ordered before the quota was imposed, for sale this autumn. Mr Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People’s Bank of China, said that the exchange rate for the country’s currency, the renminbi, was not fixed; ‘China is introducing a new exchange-rate mechanism. It’s not a one-time adjustment,’ he said. Iraq’s parliament approved a draft constitution, but Sunni Arab leaders said their supporters would defeat it in a referendum on 15 October. Hundreds died in a stampede after crowds taking part in a pilgrimage to a Shia shrine north of Baghdad were attacked with mortar fire. Seven West Africans died in a fire at a former squat in Paris; three days before, 17 had died in another Paris building, most of them children. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela said that his government might seek the extradition of the Revd Pat Robertson, who had said he could be assassinated; the US state department said there did not appear to be a sound legal basis for such an extradition request. Venezuela also announced plans to send a woman to give birth on uninhabited Bird Island, 350 miles from the mainland, but only 150 miles from Dominica, in pursuit of a sovereignty claim. Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper, from Holland, thought to have been the oldest person in the world, died, aged 115.

CSH


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