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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

26 September 2015

8:00 AM

26 September 2015

8:00 AM

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In a speech at the Shanghai stock exchange, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a feasibility study into the trading of Chinese and British shares in both countries. At least half of all British banknotes in circulation are held overseas or used in the black market, a Bank of England report suggested. The political impasse in Northern Ireland continued. Sir David Willcocks, the director of choirs, died, aged 95. Brian Sewell, the art critic, died aged 84. Jackie Collins, the author of titillating blockbusters, died aged 77. An outbreak of highly drug-resistant gonorrhoea was detected in the north of England, from Oldham to Scunthorpe.

Lord Ashcroft, who says he resents not being given a ‘significant’ government job in 2010, wrote a disobliging book about David Cameron which included a claim by an MP that at an event held by the Piers Gaveston society when Mr Cameron was at Oxford, he ‘inserted a private part of his anatomy’ into the mouth of a dead pig’s head resting in the lap of a club member. Mr Cameron’s response in an after-dinner speech was to remark that he had just had an injection, before which the doctor said: ‘Just a little prick, just a stab in the back.’ The Metropolitan Police set about creating a team of 90 officers and staff to work on allegations of historical child abuse. The High Court undertook a judicial review of whether it was reasonable for Sport England to have ruled that bridge was not a sport.


Special measures were imposed upon Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, after the Care Quality Commission found that staff shortages and long-standing serious problems had not been addressed. WH Smith said it will cut the cost of some items sold in hospital outlets at higher prices than in the high street, such as a 750ml bottle of water for £1.89 against £1. Lidl said it would pay the minimum wage recommended by the Living Wage Foundation. SSI, the Thai-based company, halted production of steel at Redcar for the time being. Mohammed Ali, aged 31, was jailed for eight years after trying to buy the poison ricin on the internet.

Abroad

About 4,000 migrants reached the Greek island of Lesbos from Turkey each day; 13 drowned one day when their dinghy suffered a collision. Austria admitted 20,000 in a weekend, bound for Germany. Hungary attempted to close its borders. Television news showed harrowing scenes of tired and bewildered families trying to head north from Greece. In one morning 2,400 migrants entered Croatia. Germany discontinued rail services from Austria and Hungary. European interior ministers agreed on a deal to share out 120,000 migrants, an idea promoted by Germany, although Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic voted against. President Vladimir Putin of Russia met Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, in Moscow and sought to allay Israeli anxieties at the Russian military build-up in Syria, including combat aircraft at the airbase in Latakia.

Volkswagen admitted having installed software in diesels in America since 2009 to deceive regulators measuring exhaust fumes. It might face fines of $18 billion. It said 11 million vehicles worldwide were affected. Attention then turned to other manufacturers. In the United States, Turing Pharmaceuticals increased the price of a dose of Daraprim, a drug used by Aids patients against toxoplasmosis, from $13.50 to $750. The Pope visited Cuba and the United States, where he addressed both houses of Congress. President Xi Jinping of China visited the United States. Ben Carson, a black Republican contender for the US presidency, said: ‘I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation’ because a Muslim position on the public role of religion was inconsistent with the Constitution. New Yorkers expressed wide support for a rat caught on video struggling to manoeuvre a large slice of pizza down the steps of the subway.

The left-wing Syriza party beat the conservative New Democracy party in the fifth general election in Greece in six years. A Saudi-led coalition continued air strikes on Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, where 5,000 people, half of them civilians, were reported by the UN to have died in combat against Houthi rebels since March. President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi of Yemen returned from six months in exile. Egypt was said to have demolished at least 3,255 buildings in the Sinai peninsula, where it is fighting Islamist forces. In Burkina Faso the army told General Gilbert Diendere, the leader of a coup, to surrender. Pakistan postponed the execution of a paraplegic prisoner convicted of murder because the hangman could not calculate the right drop of a man in a wheelchair. CSH


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