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Portrait of the week

England beat Colombia in World Cup penalty shootout

7 July 2018

9:00 AM

7 July 2018

9:00 AM

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In an attempt to distract the nation from the toothache of Brexit, the government announced a £4.5 million scheme to encourage homosexuals to hold hands; a law would be considered to ban corrective therapy, which Penny Mordaunt, the Equalities Minister, said could involve rape. A man known as Nick, whose true name is withheld for legal reasons, who alleged there was a paedophile ring at Westminster, was charged with perverting the course of justice. Labour restored the whip to Jared O’Mara, the MP for Sheffield Hallam, from whom it had been suspended in October. Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, was interrupted during a statement to the Commons by the voice of Siri on his mobile phone. More than 200 firemen spent days trying to control fires that had been burning for a week at at Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill in Lancashire. June was found to be the driest recorded in parts of the south.

The cabinet was called to Chequers by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, to discuss Brexit. No. 10 said that it had discovered a plan that offered both frictionless trade with the EU and the scope to strike deals elsewhere. This followed a week of dissension. Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, had physically torn up a government document that claimed his Brexit working group had agreed to a customs partnership with the EU that he thought unworkable. Jacob Rees-Mogg, who chairs the European Research Group of pro-Brexit Conservative MPs, wrote in the Daily Telegraph that Mrs May ‘must stand firm for what she herself has promised’. At the same time he introduced the analogy of Sir Robert Peel, who ‘left the Conservatives out of office for 28 years’, though ‘at least he did so for a policy that works’. Sir Alan Duncan, a Foreign Office minister, accused him of ‘insolence’, upon which Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, tweeted: ‘I hope we can all agree that Jacob Rees-Mogg is a principled and dedicated MP who wants the best for our country.’ Peter Firmin, who made the figures for Oliver Postgate’s children’s TV series such as the Clangers, died aged 89.


Tesco, which employs 440,000 people, said it was planning a ‘strategic alliance’ with the French chain Carrefour, which employs 375,000 worldwide. Police arrested a ‘health-care professional’ in connection with eight deaths of newborns at the Countess of Chester Hospital between March 2015 and June 2016. A man and woman were in a critical condition in hospital after being found unconscious at Amesbury, Wiltshire, ten miles from Salisbury: police declared a major incident. In Scotland, 934 drug-related deaths were recorded last year, the most ever. Andy Murray, twice Wimbledon champion, decided not to take part in the competition because of recent hip surgery.

Abroad

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany persuaded her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, not to resign and bring down her coalition government. She agreed to operate checks on the border with Austria to stop people who have applied for asylum in other EU countries from entering Germany; transit centres would be set up to hold them. England beat Colombia in a penalty shoot-out, to go through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup against Sweden; Germany was eliminated from the World Cup, as was Spain, beaten by Russia, the hosts. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said that ‘huge and serious divergences’ with Britain remained. Dozens of migrants were missing after a rubber boat sank off the coast of Libya.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the leader of the left-wing National Regeneration Movement party, was elected President of Mexico. Fighting in the provinces of Deraa and Quneitra in south-western Syria drove 270,000 from their homes. President Donald Trump of the United States urged Saudi Arabia to increase oil production to bring down prices. Najib Razak, the former prime minister of Malaysia, was arrested by police investigating corruption; he had been accused of taking £517 million.

The Chinese renminbi saw its worst month ever in June, falling 3.3 per cent against the US dollar. Twelve boys and their football coach trapped in an underground cave at Chiang Rai in northern Thailand were found by two British rescue divers nine days after going missing. A Polish ecological charity was left with a £2,064 bill after a GPS tracker attached to a migrating stork was taken in Sudan and the sim-card used in a mobile phone.                      CSH


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