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Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

20 August 2016

9:00 AM

20 August 2016

9:00 AM

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Theresa May, the Prime Minister, who was supposed to be on a walking holiday in Switzerland, wrote to Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, saying that she wanted to strengthen Britain’s trading relationship with China despite uncertainty over the construction of the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. During her absence and that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer from Britain, Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, was the ‘senior minister on duty’, Downing Street conceded. Regulated rail fares in England and Wales and regulated peak-time fares in Scotland will rise by 1.9 per cent in January, that being the annual rate of inflation in July, as measured by the Retail Prices Index (up from 1.6 per cent the month before). As measured by the Consumer Prices Index, inflation rose to 0.6 per cent in July from 0.5 per cent in June. Unemployment fell by 52,000 to 1.64 million by June; claimants continued to fall in July after the EU referendum. A diplomat from the North Korean embassy in Acton, west London, defected and fled abroad with his family.

In the Olympic Games, Britain overtook China at the end of the first week in the medal tables, reaching second place to the United States. British gold medals included six for cycling and three for rowing. A dog seized by police in June and returned to its owner last week killed a man in Huddersfield five days later. The sale of so-called zombie knives, with curved blades and serrated edges, was made illegal.


Anjem Choudary, 49, the Islamic cleric, and a supporter of his, Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, were convicted of inviting people to support the Islamic State, contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000. Public Interest Lawyers, the solicitors’ firm that brought forward many allegations of wrongdoing by British troops in the Iraq war, is to close this month, having been told it would no longer receive legal aid funds. Dalian Atkinson, 48, who used to play for Aston Villa, died after police in Telford, Shropshire, used a Taser on him during a confrontation in which he shouted: ‘I am the Messiah.’ Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale, was arrested and spent two nights in a police cell in Alicante following a loud row with his estranged wife Karen. A ten-month-old child diagnosed as having tonsillitis was found after two weeks to have a 2cm plastic angel wedged in his throat.

Abroad

Russia used a base in Iran to carry out air strikes on Aleppo and other targets in Syria. Residents of Manbij in northern Syria celebrated the capture of the city from the Islamic State by Kurdish and Arab fighters backed by the United States. Boko Haram, the Islamist group in Nigeria, posted a video of 50 of the 200 schoolgirls it had kidnapped from Chibok in 2014. The mayor of Cannes banned full-body swimsuits known as burkinis from the beach, calling them a ‘symbol of Islamic extremism’. An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels in Yemen hit a hospital in Abs run by Médecins Sans Frontières, killing at least 11 people. One in four women living in Rustenburg, a platinum-mining area in South Africa, has been raped at some time, a survey by Médecins Sans Frontières found.

Turkey released 40,000 criminals to make room in prison for people arrested after last month’s failed coup. The Polish government agreed a new law against ‘insulting and slandering the good name of Poland’, such as by referring to wartime ‘Polish concentration camps’. João Havelange, the predecessor to Sepp Blatter as president of Fifa, died aged 100. In Switzerland, a 27-year-old Swiss man died after setting fire to a train and attacking six people with a knife, one of whom died. People in Nanning, in the Guangxi autonomous region of China, fitted parked cars with plastic skirts to stop rats getting in.

‘We should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people,’ Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president, said in a speech suggesting a new screening procedure: ‘I call it extreme vetting.’ The United States sent 15 men held at Guantanamo Bay to the United Arab Emirates, leaving 61 imprisoned at the base in Cuba. Australia agreed to close a detention centre for asylum seekers on Manus island in Papua New Guinea. Damin Pashilk, 40, was charged with 17 counts of arson connected with the wildfire at Lower Lake in California that has destroyed more than 175 houses. Floods in Louisiana affected 40,000 houses.                  CSH


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