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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

17 November 2012

9:00 AM

17 November 2012

9:00 AM


Abu Qatada, detained in Britain for seven years although not charged here, but wanted on terrorist charges in Jordan, could not be deported, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled, because evidence might be used against him that had been obtained from the torture of others; so he was freed on bail. The annual rate of inflation by the Consumer Prices Index rose to 2.7 per cent in October, from 2.2 per cent in September, and to 3.2 per cent, from 2.6 per cent, by the Retail Prices Index. Unemployment fell by 49,000 to 2.51 million in the three months to September. The Rt Revd Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, is to be enthroned as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury on 21 March 2013. Frankie Dettori, the jockey, was reported to have tested positive for a banned substance at Longchamp. Nadine Dorries, the backbench MP, had 3,000 cockroaches and 5,000 crickets poured on her in an underground crate, as part of a television game show filmed in Australia.

George Entwistle resigned as director-general of the BBC. This followed the admission, by a man who had appeared on Newsnight a week earlier, that the person who had abused him as a child in North Wales was not Lord McAlpine. The Newsnight report had been made by Angus Stickler of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The editor of the bureau, Iain Overton (who later resigned), had tweeted before the broadcast: ‘If all goes well we’ve got a Newsnight out tonight about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile.’ This was retweeted 1,574 times. On 8 November, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, was handed live on This Morning, an ITV programme, a list of names said by the presenter Phillip Schofield to have been named online as paedophiles. The next day, Lord McAlpine, a former Conservative party treasurer, said that internet reports linking him to child abuse were ‘wholly false and seriously defamatory’. On leaving the BBC, the day after, Mr Entwistle was awarded £450,000, a year’s pay. Mr Cameron said this was ‘hard to justify’.

Ken MacQuarrie, the director of BBC Scotland, who was asked to investigate the Newsnight broadcast, found that identification of the claimed abuser ‘was not confirmed by photograph’. Tim Davie was made acting director-general of the BBC; before joining the BBC in 2005, he had been vice-president (marketing and franchise) for PepsiCo Europe. Helen Boaden, the BBC director of news, and Stephen Mitchell, her deputy, were said by the BBC to have ‘stepped aside’ from their posts until an inquiry reported on the earlier decision by Newsnight not to screen an investigation into Jimmy Savile. Valerie Eliot, the widow of T.S. Eliot, died, aged 86. Sir Rex Hunt, the governor of the Falkland Islands when the Argentines invaded in 1982, died, aged 86. An intruder broke into the Tower of London and stole a set of keys.


Eurozone finance ministers gave Greece two more years, until 2016, to meet its deficit-reduction targets, which would add €32.6 billion to the cost of its bailout. Greece passed a budget for this year imposing further cuts to wages and pensions. Spanish banks suspended for two years the eviction of homeowners ‘in extreme financial need’; about 350,000 families had been evicted since 2008. Argentina asked the International Sea Tribunal to intervene after its three-masted naval ship Libertad was detained at the port of Tema in Ghana by a hedge fund claiming to be owed $20 million. High water in Venice reached 150cm, the fourth worst since the 194cm of 1966.

General David Petraeus resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, citing an extramarital affair. General John Allen had his appointment as Nato’s top commander in Europe delayed by allegations that he sent ‘inappropriate emails’ to a woman involved in the scandal. A Canadian man thought to have been be in a vegetative state since a car accident 12 years ago was able to answer Yes and No questions via a magnetic resonance imaging scanner. He said he was not in pain.

China’s Communist Party congress ground towards confirming Xi Jinping as party secretary and ruler of the country. The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces was formed in Doha. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent estimated that 2.5 million people had been displaced within Syria. Six Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed by Israeli air strikes in response to a missile attack. A wolf that attacked a calf at Novo Biryuzyak in Dagestan was killed by a grandmother with an axe. CSH

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