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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

11 June 2016

9:00 AM

11 June 2016

9:00 AM

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David Cameron, the Prime Minister, caused mild surprise by cancelling a cabinet meeting and hastily convening a press conference on the roof of Savoy Place, where he warned against ‘taking a leap in the dark’, urging voters in the referendum on EU membership to ‘listen to the experts’ about the risks of leaving. Some supporters of the Leave campaign began to think they had a chance of winning. The campaign had already taken a turn towards reciprocal accusations of dishonesty between Conservatives. Boris Johnson MP, speaking in favour of leaving the EU, said: ‘The botched bureaucratic response to the migration crisis means the Eurocrats are demanding even more of our money.’ The Times Literary Supplement printed a ‘love letter to the British people’ from 140 European cultural figures including Arsène Wenger, the football manager, and Bjorn Ulvaeus, a singer with Abba, saying: ‘Please stay.’ Sir Peter Shaffer, the playwright of Equus and Amadeus, died aged 90.

Mike Ashley, the founder of Sports Direct, admitted to the Commons Business Select Committee that the company paid less than the minimum wage, because employees had to queue to be searched in their own time. The amount of vehicle excise duty collected from motorists fell by more than £200 million, over 6 per cent of the total, in the six months after the tax disc was abolished in October 2014. Reckitt Benckiser paid nearly £50,000 to help clear up thousands of bright pink Vanish bottles that had been washing up on Cornish beaches since a ship lost a container holding nearly 19,000 of them near Land’s End in May last year. The graffiti artist Banksy left a 14ft painting of a child bowling along a burning tyre on a wall at Bridge Farm primary school, Bristol, after a house there was named after him.


Although all 22 local authorities in Wales had pledged to house refugees from Syria, only five have done so, taking in a total of 78. Chelsea Football Club’s former doctor Eva Carneiro settled her claim of constructive dismissal on confidential terms a day after it was learnt that she had rejected an offer of £1.2 million. The Queen presented the trophy to Pat Smullen, the jockey of Harzand, the Aga Khan’s horse, which beat the favourite US Army Ranger to win the Derby at Epsom. Afterwards, 11 people were arrested during a fracas.

Abroad

The Red Crescent in Libya said 117 bodies had been washed up on a beach near Zuwara in Libya. Syrian government war planes made dozens of airstrikes in and around Aleppo. The Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia militias took the town of Saqlawiya, north of Fallujah. Al-Shabab said it was behind an attack on the Ambassador Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, in which at least ten died, including two MPs. An MP was among at least four people killed by a bomb in Kabul, Afghanistan. Boko Haram killed 32 soldiers in Niger. A car bomb exploded in Istanbul, killing 11. Ukrainian police arrested a Frenchman with TNT, rocket launchers, Kalashnikovs and 5,000 rounds of ammunition as he tried to cross into Poland, said to have been bound for the Euro 2016 football tournament in France.

Hillary Clinton gained the support of enough delegates to secure nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate. Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian former prime minister, aged 79, was taken to hospital with a heart problem. King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, aged 88, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, underwent heart surgery. Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad (1870–1957), a Swede who restored the Bridgettine order, was canonised. Muhammad Ali, the much-admired boxer, died aged 74.

In a referendum, Swiss voters rejected a plan to introduce a guaranteed basic income for all of perhaps 2,500 Swiss francs (£1,755) a month. Amid widespread floods, the Seine in Paris rose to 21ft above the norm and objects were moved for safety from the basement of the Louvre. The Rock am Ring music festival at Mendig was cancelled after 80 fans were struck by lightning. Viktor Korchnoi, the chess grandmaster who defected from Russia to the West in 1976, died in Switzerland aged 85. Lawyers carrying out an internal investigation at Fifa released details of payments over five years totalling £55 million to Sepp Blatter and two other former officials. A dagger buried with Tutankhamun was found to have been made from iron that came from a meteorite. Work expected to take a year began on the restoration of the aedicule housing the tomb renowned to be that of Christ in the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.


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