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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

15 November 2014

9:00 AM

15 November 2014

9:00 AM

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The government, expecting a backbench rebellion over the European Arrest Warrant, did not present it for a separate vote in the Commons, which enraged backbenchers all the more. Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, tabled a procedural motion, forcing David Cameron, the Prime Minister, to hurry from the Lord Mayor’s banquet in white tie to vote amid angry scenes. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, came back from Brussels claiming that Britain would now only have to pay half of a £1.7 billion bill that the European Union had presented; but critics said that he was merely counting a future rebate that Britain was owed in any case. A recording emerged of a telephone conversation in 1983 between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan after the United States had invaded Grenada, which he begins by saying: ‘If I were there, Margaret, I’d throw my hat in the door before I came in.’

Ed Miliband spent a week having his leadership of the Labour party questioned. A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times suggested only 34 per cent of people who voted Labour at the last general election believed Mr Miliband was up to the job of prime minister, compared with 51 per cent a month earlier. The Observer said that 20 shadow ministers were ready to call on him to resign. Chris Packham, the wildlife television presenter, complained of the treatment of invertebrates in the ‘bush-tucker’ trials in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!


As a penalty for manipulating foreign exchange rates, the Financial Conduct Authority fined HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank £1.1 billion, while the US regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, fined the same banks more than £900 million. The Swiss regulator fined UBS £87 million, and Barclays continued negotiations. The FCA separately ruled that from January no one taking out a ‘payday loan’ would have to pay back more than twice the amount borrowed. The Competition and Markets Authority began an 18-month investigation into the way the ‘big four’ banks treat small business and personal customers. A man died after police used a Taser stun-gun against him following the cannibalistic murder of a 22-year-old woman at a hostel for homeless people at Argoed, Caerphilly. The Gherkin, at 30 St Mary Axe in the City of London, was bought by Joseph Safra, a Brazilian billionaire, for more than £700 million.

Abroad

The Iraqi defence ministry said that a coalition air strike that hit a gathering of Islamic State leaders near Mosul had wounded its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and killed his deputy, Abu-Muslim al-Turkmani. The United States was to send 1,500 more troops to train and assist Iraqi forces in fighting IS. A suicide bomber killed at least 46 pupils at a boys’ school at Potiskum in Yobe state, north-eastern Nigeria; it was thought to be the work of Boko Haram. Robert O’Neill, 38, a former US Navy Seal, said it was he who shot dead Osama bin Laden in 2011.

On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said: ‘The world is on the brink of a new Cold War.’ He thought that the West had succumbed to ‘triumphalism’ after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. There was a build-up of pro-Russian separatist reinforcements in eastern Ukraine, and heavy shelling of Donetsk. Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, shook hands awkwardly with President Xi Jinping of China at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum near Beijing, where US President Barack Obama donned a strange garb that made him look like a Buddhist monk and signed an agreement with China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Eleven women died, out of 83 who underwent sterilisation surgery, at a government health camp in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

In a case concerning a Romanian woman in Germany, the European Court of Justice ruled that unemployed EU citizens who go to another member state to claim benefits may be barred from receiving some of them. Riot police fired tear gas and used water cannon as protesters overturned cars during a march through Brussels by more than 100,000 demonstrators against austerity measures. Five people died of legionnaires’ disease at Vila Franca de Xira, 15 miles from Lisbon. Morocco refused to hold the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations out of fears of Ebola fever. President Donald Ramotar of Guyana suspended parliament to prevent MPs passing a vote of no confidence in his government.          CSH


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