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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

29 October 2015

9:00 AM

29 October 2015

9:00 AM

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After it was twice defeated in the Lords on its plans to reduce working tax credits, the government announced a review of the workings of Parliament, to be led by Lord Strathclyde, the former leader of the House of Lords. Peers had voted for a motion by Lady Hollis of Heigham to delay the measures until the introduction of ‘full transitional protection’ for those who would suffer loss, and for a motion by Lady Meacher to delay them until the government had responded to an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The IFS had said that three million working families would be on average £1,300 a year worse off. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, blamed the Lords for breaching a convention by defeating ‘a financial matter passed by the elected House of Commons’. He said he would return to the matter in the autumn statement on 25 November. Michael Meacher, the Labour MP, who had been married to Lady Meacher from 1962 to 1987, died, aged 75.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, visited Iceland in order to say that arrangements there and in Norway to trade with the European Union, but remain outside it, would not suit Britain. TalkTalk, the telecommunications company, told its four million current customers that their data might have been stolen in a cyber attack; police investigating the incident arrested a 15-year-old boy in Co. Antrim. More than 2,000 staff are to sue Morrisons, the supermarket, after personal and financial details were posted online; Morrisons denied it was responsible. The British economy grew by 0.5 per cent between July and September, a slower rate than the 0.7 per cent growth of the second quarter of 2015. A conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Mars was visible.


Tony Blair, the former prime minister, spoke about responsibility for the Iraq war in an interview with CNN. ‘I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong. I also apologise for some of the mistakes in planning,’ he said. ‘I find it hard to apologise for removing Saddam.’ Saudi Arabia ‘will not be lectured to by anyone’ and trade links with Britain were ‘going to be at risk’ if they were made ‘subordinate to certain political ideologies’ said Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia, in an article for the Daily Telegraph. Lisa Jardine, the popular historian, died, aged 71.

Abroad

Leaders from eight EU countries (Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia) and two outside the EU (Macedonia and Serbia) met to address the migrant crisis. Miro Cerar, the Prime Minister of Slovenia, said: ‘If we do not deliver some immediate and concrete actions on the ground in the next few days and weeks I believe the EU and Europe as a whole will start falling apart.’ For the past week, migrants had been arriving in Greece at a rate of 9,000 a day. Turkish forces shelled positions in northern Syria held by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, an ally of the United States against the Islamic State. An art installation at the Museion Bozen-Bolzano in Italy, consisting of empty champagne bottles, cigarette ends and party-popper streamers, was tidied away by a cleaner into rubbish sacks for glass, plastic and paper.

In Poland, the Law and Justice party, which is conservative and Eurosceptic, won the general election. In Portugal, the president invited Pedro Passos Coelho, the previous prime minister, to attempt to form a minority government, rather than the left bloc of communists and anti-austerity MPs. Jimmy Morales, a television comedian with no experience in government, was elected President of Guatemala. Data roaming charges for mobile phones in the EU will be abolished from 2017, after a vote in the European Parliament. Maureen O’Hara, the film star, died, aged 95. Ireland introduced a ‘voluntary national rounding scheme’ to adjust prices to the nearest five cents and do away with cent and two-cent coins.

Two bombs in north-eastern Nigeria blamed on Boko Haram killed at least 42 people. An American naval vessel passed close to Subi and Mischief, two reefs in the Spratly Islands that China had turned into islands and laid territorial claim to. Five people drowned when a whale-watching boat with 27 aboard suddenly sank off Vancouver Island in Canada. In the United States, Walmart offered as a Halloween outfit for children an ‘Israeli soldier costume’. A food analysis laboratory in America found human DNA in 2 per cent of the hot dogs it sampled. CSH


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