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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

26 May 2012

3:00 PM

26 May 2012

3:00 PM

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The International Monetary Fund suggested Britain should undertake more quantitative easing or even cut interest rates. But Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director, said ‘I shiver’ at the thought of Britain’s deficit in 2010 having been left without plans for fiscal consolidation. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, made a noise for his side of the coalition by writing in the Sun about the report on employment commissioned by the government from Adrian Beecroft, the venture capitalist: ‘Some people think that if labour rights were stripped down to the most basic minimum, employers would start hiring and the economy would soar again. This is complete nonsense.’ ‘I think he is a socialist,’ Mr Beecroft responded, ‘He’s in charge of business and yet appears to do very little to support business.’ Luton Crown Court heard that a man was paid £80 for the 15 years he worked for a traveller family in Bedfordshire. Stewart Parvin, who has designed clothes for the Queen, said that someone breaks in her shoes for her.

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The European Court of Human Rights reaffirmed that prisoners have the right to vote. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said that asbos would be abolished but people with old cars and rubbish in their gardens would be dealt with by the police. The government is to give out coupons at Boots for parents to take classes in looking after babies. The wreck of the missing fishing boat Purbeck Isle was found ten miles off Portland, and the body of one of its three crew recovered.

A man in Cheltenham was charged with making explosives for unlawful purposes. The Princess Royal, as she collected the Olympic flame from Greece, said of the staging of the games, ‘I understand that it looks like an extravagance,’ but added that it brought benefits. The torch began its relay round Britain, and went out at Great Torrington, Devon. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, refused to rule out accepting a peerage. Britain signed a £50 million to export pigs’ trotters and ears to China.


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Abroad

Greece should stay in the euro, the leaders of the G8 said at their summit at Camp David, Maryland. Greece had said a day earlier that Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, had proposed that Greece should hold a referendum on staying in the eurozone, but Mrs Merkel’s office denied it. Moody’s downgraded the credit rating of 16 Spanish banks, including Santander. Facebook was floated at $38 a share, giving the company a value of $104 billion, but the shares soon fell. Mark Zuckerberg, aged 28, the Facebook founder, was married the day after the launch. Pakistan suspended Twitter for eight hours in reaction to a discussion of pictures of Mohammed.

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Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted for a part in blowing up a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, died, aged 60, three years after being let out of prison on compassionate grounds. Forty-two people including the Cardinal Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh and Jim Swire, whose daughter died in the atrocity, demanded in a letter that the case against Megrahi be reopened.Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, the operatic baritone renowned for his rendition of Schubert Lieder, died, aged 86. Robin Gibb, a member of the Bee Gees, whose first British No. 1 was ‘Massachusetts’ in 1967, died, aged 62. Donna Summer, whose electronic ‘I Feel Love’ was a hit in 1977, died aged 63. A private rocket set off with supplies for the International Space Station and scattered the ashes of the Star Trek actor James ‘Scotty’ Doohan.

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Barack Obama, the President of the United States, was frosty towards President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan at the Nato summit in Chicago over demands for military supply lorries for Afghanistan to pay for passing through Pakistan. François Hollande, the new President of France, confirmed that he would withdraw troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012. A suicide bomber killed 96 soldiers in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the UN, said that the bombs in Damascus on 10 May that killed 55 were the work of al-Qae’da. Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese campaigner against forced abortions, flew to America with his wife and children. Tomislav Nikolic, a nationalist, was elected president of Serbia, beating the liberal incumbent Boris Tadic. The interim President of Mali was beaten unconscious by a crowd angry at his going beyond his agreed term of office. An earthquake of magnitude 6.0 killed six north of Bologna. CSH


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