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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

5 July 2014

9:00 AM

5 July 2014

9:00 AM

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David Cameron, the Prime Minister, rang Jean-Claude Juncker to congratulate him on being nominated by EU heads of government as president of the European Commission. Mr Cameron had insisted the question should go to a vote at an EU summit, where 26 voted for Mr Juncker and two against: he and Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary. Mr Cameron announced a review into why, in the face of resistance to antibiotics, few anti-microbial drugs have been introduced in recent years. Sir Elton John came out in favour of gay marriage for clergy: ‘If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him, as the Christian person that he was and the great person that he was, saying this could not happen.’

Britain should keep the Trident nuclear weapons system to counter ‘credible’ threats to the nation’s security, according to the Trident Commission, set up by the British American Security Information Council think-tank (which favours nuclear disarmament), with members such as Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Lord Browne of Ladyton (Des Browne) and Sir Menzies Campbell. The number of people living in poverty in Scotland increased to 820,000, 16 per cent of the population, last year, according to the Scottish government. A week after George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, made a speech in Manchester, calling for ‘a northern powerhouse’, Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, made a speech in Leeds urging cities to band together to create economic ‘powerhouses’. Leeds prepared to send off the Tour de France via Harrogate. Redhill Cycle Club road race was abandoned after drawing-pins were left on the road near Newdigate.


Rolf Harris, the entertainer, aged 84, was found guilty on 12 counts of indecent assault between 1968 and 1986. In the past five years, 1,136 children under ten have been stopped and searched by police in England and Wales. Private companies bid for £800 million a year in contracts to run 80 per cent of UK probation services. A prisoner at Hollesley Bay prison, Suffolk, was found to be keeping a pet rabbit.

Abroad

The bodies of three Israeli teenagers, missing for 18 days, were found in the occupied West Bank. Israel launched 30 air strikes on the Gaza Strip the following night. ‘Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay,’ Benyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, said. A Hamas spokesman said that if Israel went to war it would ‘open the gates of hell’. The next day, the body of a Palestinian teenager kidnapped in east Jerusalem was found. In Jordan a court found Abu Qatada, the extremist Muslim preacher deported from Britain in 2013, not guilty of terrorism offences arising from an alleged plot in 1998. The European Court of Human Rights upheld a French law against the wearing of a niqab or full-face veil.

The armed movement called Isis (the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham) declared the establishment of a caliphate, to which all Muslims owed allegiance, with its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as caliph. ‘Rush, O Muslims, to your state,’ he said in a podcast, ‘because hijrah to the land of Islam is obligatory.’ Syria bombed Isis positions in Iraq. Iraq bought secondhand Russian aircraft. President Massoud Barzani of the autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq, said a referendum on independence would be held within months. In Nigeria, as civilian volunteers of the Joint Task Force militia patrolled Maiduguri, their enemies the Islamist army of Boko Haram set off a bomb in a market there, killing at least 18. India raised the minimum export price of onions by two thirds.

President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine signed a trade agreement with the European Union. After a ten-day ceasefire, Ukraine resumed military opposition to pro-Russia separatists. Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president of France, was detained for questioning over allegations of improperly influencing a judge. Mr Sarkozy had had his phone tapped for the past year on the orders of judges investigating alleged campaign donations from Libya. BNP Paribas agreed to pay a fine of $8.9 billion for infringing sanctions against Sudan, Iran and Cuba, in a settlement with US authorities. Argentina teetered on defaulting on its foreign debts. The EU gave $2.3 billion emergency credit to save Bulgarian banks. The Italian navy, which over the weekend rescued more than 5,000 migrants on vessels trying to cross from North Africa, found a fishing boat crammed with 600 people, 30 of whom had died of asphyxiation below decks. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia said that anyone caught hiding people sick with the Ebola virus (which has killed 468 in the latest outbreak) would be prosecuted.       CSH


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