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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

1 September 2012

8:00 AM

1 September 2012

8:00 AM

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The nation settled down to watch the Paralympic Games on television. Some 2.5 million tickets had been sold for events. The government reconsidered building a third runway at Heathrow after all. Grant Shapps, the housing minister, said that ‘all options should be considered’, even though the Transport Secretary, Justine Greening, whose constituency is under the flight path, has campaigned against it. The former minister Tim Yeo asked whether David Cameron, the Prime Minister, was a man or a mouse. Ms Greening said that there was no reason to delay signing a contract with FirstGroup to run the West Coast main line; Sir Richard Branson, whose Virgin Trains lost the franchise, called for a reconsideration by Parliament and then went to court. The British economy contracted by 0.5 per cent in the second quarter, not the 0.7 per cent announced in July, according to revised figures. Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister, suddenly said that rich people should pay a special tax during the economic downturn. The security company G4S said its failure to supply enough security staff for the Olympic Games had cost it £50 million.

Photographs of Prince Harry in a Las Vegas hotel wearing no clothes, next to a woman wearing no clothes either, appeared on an American website. St James’s Palace told the Press Complaints Commission it was worried about intrusion into the Prince’s privacy, against the editors’ code of practice. The Sun published a front-page picture of staff members dressed up, or down, as the prince and the woman, and then the next day published the real thing. Rupert Murdoch then tweeted: ‘Prince Harry. Give him a break.’ Police spent a day looking for a lion near St Osyth, Essex.


For the first time in the 24-year history of the General Certificate of Secondary Education, the percentage of candidates awarded an A fell (by 0.8 percentage points to 22.4); Cs went down by 0.4 percentage points to 69.4. Young people under 18 who use cannabis suffer a permanent decline in intelligence, according to a 20-year study of 1,000 people. Patients missed one in ten hospital appointments in England last year. At Stoke Gifford, near Bristol, a £1.3 million park-and-ride car park with no bus service until 2015 has been used by 139 drivers in its first three months.

Abroad

Neil Armstrong, in 1969 the first man on the moon, died, aged 82. The South Korean company Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $1.05 billion for copying patents. Tropical storm Isaac strengthened to a hurricane as it moved off to New Orleans. Floods drove 85,000 from their homes in the Irrawaddy delta in Burma. President Thein Sein of Burma reshuffled nine ministers in the cabinet of 29. Just as Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, was working out a scheme to buy Spanish bonds, Catalonia asked its central government for five billion euros in aid. A newlywed bride drowned during a photo-shoot in Quebec when the weight of her dress pulled her into a waterfall.

Syrian government forces were reported to have killed more than 300 people, including women and children in an attack on the Damascus suburb of Darayya. President François Hollande said that France would ‘recognise the provisional government of the new Syria as soon as it is formed’. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria called the creation of humanitarian safe zones ‘unrealistic’. Peru announced plans for an international airport at Chinchero, between Cusco and Machu Picchu. A tiger killed a zookeeper in Cologne. A sports official at an athletics event in Dusseldorf was killed when a javelin struck him in the throat.

T he bodies of two women and 15 civilian men were found beheaded or with their throats cut by a road in Helmand province of Afghanistan, after the Taleban found them listening to music and dancing. Badruddin Haqqani, said to be responsible for suicide bombings in Kabul, was killed by a drone in North Waziristan. In Islamabad a girl aged between 11 and 14 who is said to have Down’s syndrome was imprisoned after being charged with blasphemy when a crowd accused her of desecrating a copy of the Koran. Two days of rioting followed the killing in a drive-by shooting of Aboud Rogo Mohammed, a Muslim cleric said to have secured funds for al-Shabab fighters. Several Shia shrines were destroyed by Salafists in north-west Libya. In Taiwan, the minister for environmental protection implored men to make use of lavatories while sitting down, as, he said, they do in Japan and Sweden.

CSH


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