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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

21 July 2012

6:00 AM

21 July 2012

6:00 AM

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The Armed Forces were called upon to supply 3,500 men to look after security for the Olympic Games after GS4, a security company, failed to recruit enough staff. Nick Buckles, its chief executive, agreed before a Commons committee that it had been a ‘humiliating shambles’ but said that the company would keep its £57 million management fee. The UK Border Agency had laid off 1,000 more workers than it intended, the National Audit Office found. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, appearing at a rail depot in Smethwick with Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, said that he was ‘even more committed’ to the coalition, and announced new rail schemes costing £4.2 billion, such as the electrification of the line to Sheffield, where Mr Clegg has his constituency. The Mayor of London’s cycling was an example of virtue, according to a petition to the Pakistan High Court by Hafiz Saeed, the founder of Laskar-e-Taliba, who has a $10 million American bounty on his head.

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Jerry del Missier, the former chief operating officer of Barclays, asked by the Treasury select committee whether a telephone call in 2008 from Bob Diamond, the chief executive, was an instruction to cut its London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) rate submissions, replied: ‘Yes it was.’ Eleven other banks linked to rigging the Libor rate are expected to pay a total of $22 billion in regulatory penalties and damages, according to estimates by Morgan Stanley. The annual rate of inflation fell to 2.4 per cent (by the CPI) from 2.8, or to 2.8 from 3.1 (by the RPI). Unemployment fell by 65,000 to 2.58 million. The government began a scheme to underwrite £50 billion of investment in infrastructure and exports. British arms companies operating under government licences were still exporting equipment to Syria, including bulletproof vehicles.

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The population of the United Kingdom has risen to 63.1 million, figures from Office for National Statistics suggested, after a decade registering the biggest surge in 200 years. More than half the increase came through immigration, with two thirds of migrants coming from outside the EU. Fourteen hospitals were found to have forged abortion certificates, an investigation by the Care Quality Commission found. John Terry, the footballer, was found not guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence arising from a verbal exchange with Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match last season. David Cameron told Glamour magazine that he had ‘never worn a watch or a ring’.

Abroad

In the village of Tremseh in Syria dozens of people were reported to have been killed. There was fighting in Damascus. The Red Cross designated the conflict in Syria as a civil war. Nawaf al-Fares, Syria’s ambassador to Iraq, defected, following Manaf Tlas, the general who had fled via Turkey a week earlier. Mahmoud Jibril’s Alliance of National Forces won 39 out of 80 seats in the Libyan elections, against the Muslim Brotherhood’s 17. An American ship, the Rappahannock, opened fire on a fishing boat off Dubai in the Gulf. The Egyptian public prosecutor ordered the return from hospital to prison of Hosni Mubarak, the former president, aged 84. Saudi Arabia decided to send two women athletes to take part in the Olympic Games.

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The Spanish government announced €65 billion in spending cuts and tax rises in return for European aid for its banks. Celeste Holm, who sang ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ with Frank Sinatra in High Society (1956), died, aged 95. Needles were found in five sandwiches served aboard flights to the United States. In response to a judgment by a Cologne court that it was actual bodily harm, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, declared: ‘Circumcision carried out in a responsible way must be possible in this country.’ A thousand people in Malaga were treated after touching mauve stinger jellyfish.

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In Japan more than 30 people died in floods and mudslides after heavy rain. The worst drought in the United States since 1988 hit the maize harvest. Fire swept through the 42-storey Polat tower in Istanbul. In the Niger delta, at least 95 died when spilt fuel ignited while people tried to gather it from a petrol tanker that had crashed. Police in Papua New Guinea who had arrested 29 people for making soup from the penises of seven witch-doctors whose fees were too high said: ‘They don’t think they have done anything wrong.’


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