The Spectator

Portrait of The Week

The gross domestic product of the United Kingdom was 0.8 per cent greater in the third quarter of the year than in the previous quarter, which had seen a growth of 1.2 per cent; the new figure was higher than expected.

Portrait of The Week
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The gross domestic product of the United Kingdom was 0.8 per cent greater in the third quarter of the year than in the previous quarter, which had seen a growth of 1.2 per cent; the new figure was higher than expected. A Sovereign Support Grant will replace the Civil List from 2013, derived from part of the income of the Crown Estate, perhaps limited to £30 million a year. Switzerland agreed to withhold from British savers an amount representing the tax they would have paid at home. Investment in building wind turbines would bring 70,000 jobs by 2020, the government said. The owners of the Independent, which sells for a pound, launched a thin newspaper called i, selling for 20p. London firemen said they would go on strike on 5 November.

Five members of the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty were sentenced to between six years and 15 months in prison for intimidating companies linked to Huntingdon Life Sciences. An agency nurse working for the NHS was filmed by a closed-circuit camera turning off the ventilator of a quadriplegic patient, leaving him with serious brain damage. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority and West Mercia Police found seven Romanian children between the ages of nine and 16 at work picking spring onions in a field near Malvern, Worcestershire. Coca-Coca ended production of bottled Malvern water. In the first quarter of 2010 the consumption of beer fell by 9.7 per cent.

Martin Broughton, the chairman of British Airways, said there should be an end to ‘kowtowing’ to the United States with unnecessary checks on passengers’ shoes. Police were issued with extra ammunition against the threat of a terrorist attack of the kind experienced in Bombay in 2008. The 33 police helicopters maintained by 30 police forces in England and Wales are to be replaced by 23 helicopters at 20 bases run by a new National Police Air Service. The Supreme Court in London ruled that police in Scotland had no right to question suspects without the presence of their lawyer. Astute, a new nuclear-powered submarine, ran aground on a bank off Skye. A Weymouth-born octopus called Paul, which predicted eight matches during the 2010 World Cup, died at an aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, aged two and a half.


Tariq Aziz, the foreign minister of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, was sentenced to death by an Iraqi court on charges of persecuting Shia parties; Mr Aziz, a Christian, was jailed for 15 years in 2009 on charges of killing 42 Iraqis. The website Wikileaks released almost 400,000 classified US documents about the war in Iraq, some of which showed that US soldiers had handed over detainees in 2004 and 2005 to an Iraqi unit, the ‘Wolf Brigade’, which used torture. In Haiti, more than 250 died of cholera in an outbreak infecting 3,000. The UN airlifted tents to Benin, affected by the worst floods in 50 years. The worst drought in 50 years affected the Amazon regions of Brazil. An earthquake and tsunami hit islands off Sumatra and 10,000 fled a volcano on Java. The Prime Minister of New Zealand persuaded Warner Bros not to make two films based on The Hobbit elsewhere.

France prepared for another day of strikes after the Senate voted to raise the age for state pensions. Police broke blockades of oil refineries, and rubbish piled up in the streets of Marseilles. Protests by nearby residents delayed the opening of a rubbish dump near Naples, where 2,000 tons of rubbish lay uncollected in the streets. Finance ministers of G20 countries, meeting in South Korea, agreed to ‘refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies’, but failed to say how. Mining shares soared in reaction to a shortage of rare earths, 97 per cent of which are exported by China. Students marched in the Qinghai province of China, demanding the right to be taught in Tibetan. In the Indian state of Assam, Bholaram Das, aged 100, began a doctoral course at Guwahati University.

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan admitted that his chief of staff regularly received bags from Iran containing hundreds of thousands of pounds, ‘to help the presidential office’. Gunmen shot dead 13 teenagers at a party in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez, where 5,000 have died in violence between drug gangs in the past two years. Cuba imposed income tax at 10 per cent on the self-employed. Pedro Soria Lopez, from Ecuador, won a €1,000 prize in a siesta competition for spending 17 out of an allotted 20 minutes asleep in a crowded Madrid shopping centre.