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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

8 November 2014

9:00 AM

8 November 2014

9:00 AM

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Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of London, resigned as the head of an inquiry into historical child sex abuse three months after Baroness Butler-Sloss, the former president of the family division of the High Court, resigned from the same appointment. Both had been criticised for having establishment links. ‘It is really going to be hard to find someone with no connections,’ Mrs Woolf said. ‘A hermit?’ Exploitation of vulnerable children has become the social norm in some parts of Greater Manchester, according to a report by Ann Coffey, the Labour MP for Stockport. The Serious Fraud Office opened a criminal investigation into accounting irregularities at Tesco. A report into alleged fraud at Tower Hamlets Council revealed a ‘culture of cronyism’; Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, sent in three commissioners to work with the council for three years. Two people died in a fire at a fireworks warehouse in Stafford that took 50 firemen to put out. The next day firemen in England went on strike for four days. The actor who had played Tom Archer for 17 years was ‘deposed’ while the character in The Archers was abroad.

Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, would abandon her efforts to keep Britain in the EU, Der Spiegel reported, if David Cameron, the British Prime Minster, persisted in a plan to limit immigration of people from the EU. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, tried to attract interest in Manchester, which will be given its own elected mayor. Rolls-Royce is to cut 2,600 jobs. The Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that paid overtime should count towards the calculation of holiday pay. American technology companies such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp have become ‘command-and-control networks’ for terrorists, according to Robert Hannigan, the new head of GCHQ. A judge named 16-year-old Will Cornick as the murderer of his teacher Ann Maguire, and told him he may never be released from prison. Some 300 Libyan soldiers were sent home from a training course at Bassingbourn Barracks after several were alleged to have carried out sexual attacks on men and women in Cambridge.


The Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker resigned as a Home Office minister; Lynne Featherstone, also a Lib Dem MP, took his place. Opinion polls gave the Scottish Ñational Party a strong lead over Labour. Anas Sarwar resigned as deputy leader of Scottish Labour. Jim Murphy resigned from the shadow cabinet to stand as leader of Scottish Labour. Alistair Darling said he would not stand for Parliament at the next election. Lord Barnett, who invented the formula for funding Scotland in 1978, died, aged 91.

Abroad

The Republicans took control of the Senate as well as the House of Representatives in America’s mid-term elections. Janet Yellen, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, confirmed that it had ended the United States’ five-year programme of quantitative easing after spending $4,500 billion. The Bank of Japan surprised markets by expanding its programme of quantitative easing. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo broke up in mid-air during a test flight in the Mojave Desert, California, killing one of the two pilots. Crude oil prices hit a four-year low after Saudi Arabia cut prices. The Prince of Wales unveiled a plaque at Cartagena, Colombia, commemorating the siege of 1741 in which thousands died during the War of Jenkins’ Ear.

In Syria the al-Nusra Front, an affiliate of al-Qa’eda, took over districts of Idlib, pushing back anti-government rebels backed by the United States. Two pro-Russian separatist leaders declared to have won polls in Donetsk and Luhansk were sworn in. President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso resigned after demonstrations, and the army took over, although the African Union gave it a fortnight to hand over to civilian rule. Guy Scott, the interim President of Zambia, reinstated aspiring president Edgar Lungu as secretary-general of the ruling party.

Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, denied in a video that there was any ceasefire agreement with the Nigerian government; the 200 schoolgirls abducted in April had been ‘married off’. Masked gunmen killed five people in a Shia area of eastern Saudi Arabia during the feast of Ashura. In the Punjab province of Pakistan a crowd beat to death a Christian couple accused of desecrating a Koran and burnt their bodies at the brick kiln where they worked. CSH


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