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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

7 January 2012

5:00 PM

7 January 2012

5:00 PM

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Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty, on the evidence of blood and fibre traces, of the murder of Stephen Lawrence at Eltham in 1993. Dobson had been acquitted of the crime in 1996, but the law changed to allow a new trial to consider new evidence. A 20-year-old man charged with murdering Anuj Bidve, an Indian student, by shooting him dead in Salford on Boxing Day, when asked to confirm his name in court, said that it was ‘Psycho Stapleton’. A man shot a woman, her sister and niece in a house in Peterlee, Co Durham, and then shot himself. One policeman was sacked and 154 faced disciplinary action over their use of Facebook between 2008 and 2010. Thieves have stolen £13 million of metal from British railways in the past three years, according to the British Transport Police, including 11 miles of cabling from Bilston, in the West Midlands, one day in July.

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In the New Year honours, David Hockney, already a Companion of Honour, was appointed to the Order of Merit, to which John Howard, the former prime minister of Australia, was also appointed. Peter Bazalgette, who brought Big Brother to the television screen, was knighted, as were Geoffrey Hill, the poet, Diarmaid MacCulloch, the historian, and Paul Ruddock, the patron of the arts, who also happened to have given half a million pounds to the Conservative party. CBEs included Dannie Abse, the poet, Helena Bonham Carter, the actor, Ronnie Corbett, the television entertainer, Clive James, the writer and broadcaster, and Gerald Ronson, who served six months in jail after the Guinness scandal in 1990, but has given much of his fortune to charity. The Duke of Edinburgh walked to church on New Year’s Day, five days after being discharged from hospital, where he had had a stent fitted in a coronary artery. A murder enquiry began later that day, when a woman’s remains were found on the Sandringham estate.

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Tim Goodacre, the president of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, who is a member of the committee advising the government about unsatisfactory breast implants supplied by the French company PIP, said that there was no cancer risk, but recommended that the 40,000 British women who had received them should have them replaced in due course because of the proportion that ruptured. Ronald Searle, the cartoonist, whose work in the Spectator included the Christmas cover for 2002, died, aged 91. High winds swept Britain; falling trees killed a driver in Kent and badly injured one in Surrey.

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Abroad

Iran held 10 days of military manoeuvres in the Strait of Hormuz, with the test-firing of a surface-to-surface cruise missile with a range of 125 miles. The Taleban said they had agreed to set up a political office, perhaps in Qatar, as part of western plans to end the war in Afghanistan. Israeli and Palestinian delegates held their first direct talks in 15 months. Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist militants, warned Christians to move out of the north of the country within days or be killed. In South Sudan at least 150, mostly women and children, were killed as 6,000 Lou Nuer tribesmen pursued member of the Murle tribe. Indian government anti-smoking graphics for use on tobacco products were found to show by mistake, above the words ‘Smoking Kills’, an image of the English footballer John Terry.

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During the first week in which Arab League observers toured Syria, at least 390 people were said to have been killed; army deserters also killed 18 members of the Syrian security forces in a battle at a police station at Jassem in the south of the country. In Tripoli four died when a revolutionary militia tried to free prisoners and were opposed by another militia. Saudi Arabia introduced a law banning men from working as assistants in lingerie shops; 28,000 women were said to have applied for the jobs, from which they were previously banned.

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Mitt Romney beat Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucus for the Republican presidential candidate by 30,015 votes to 30,007. President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy urged his people to make sacrifices to prevent the ‘financial collapse of Italy’. In Spain, unemployment rose above five million, with 21.5 percent of the population is without a job. German unemployment fell to 6.8 per cent, its lowest rate in December since 1991. Greek doctors and chemists’ shops went on strike. Rupert Murdoch began to use Twitter, saying in one tweet: ‘Maybe Brits have too many holidays for broke country!’ CSH


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