The Spectator

Portrait of the Week - 21 September 2002

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The House of Commons was recalled for a day's debate on 24 September on the approaching war against Iraq, but no substantive vote will be allowed. Dr George Carey, in his last address as Archbishop of Canterbury to the Anglican Consultative Council, warned that unilateral action 'by dioceses and individual bishops' over homosexuality was driving the Anglican Church 'towards serious fragmentation and the real possibility of two (or, more likely, many more) distinct Anglican bodies emerging'. Mr David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, said that children of immigrant parents should talk to their mothers at home 'in English as well as in their historic mother tongue'. The government mounted a multimillion-pound campaign to publicise the new child tax credit, which comes into force next April and will affect all families with incomes of up to £58,000. Two Cambridgeshire policemen were charged with offences relating to indecent Internet images of children; one of the men had been liaison officer to the family of the murdered schoolgirl Jessica Chapman. Mr Iain Duncan Smith, the leader of the Opposition, said during a wireless interview to mark his first anniversary as Tory leader that the party would not want to get rid of Section 28 (which prohibits local authorities promoting to children a homosexual way of life) 'unless it can be found that there is a better way'. An inquest returned an open verdict on the death of Stuart Lubbock, aged 31, found drowned in the swimming-pool at the house of Michael Barrymore, a television entertainer, during a party where drugs were taken. Mr Tony Banks announced his candidature as an alternative to Mrs Nicky Gavron as Labour's contender for election as mayor of London. The Countryside Alliance expected hundreds of thousands of people to join its 'Liberty and Livelihood' march in London on 22 September. Buckingham Palace discovered that what it thought was a replica of a Benin bronze head, given to the Queen by General Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria in 1973, was in fact a genuine head made in about 1600. A survey of 1,000 children between four and eight found that 31 per cent could not tell the time on a clock with hands.

AMERICAN officials said that the United Nations Security Council had 'weeks, not months' to draw up resolutions to end the defiance by Saddam Hussein, the ruler of Iraq, of previous resolutions from the UN. The waters were slightly muddied when Iraq said it was ready to admit UN arms inspectors, who immediately began talks to arrange their admittance. After the address by President George Bush of the United States to the UN general assembly, many countries fell in with the plans of the United States. Even Prince Saud al-Faisal, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, said that 'every country that has signed the UN charter' was bound by decisions of the Security Council. Ramzi Binalshibh, an al-Qa'eda member who has admitted to involvement with the attacks of 11 September 2001, was arrested in Karachi and handed over with six other suspects by the Pakistan authorities to the United States; Condoleezza Rice, the US security adviser, said that it was hoped his interrogation would help uncover other terrorist plots. The suspected military leader of the armed Basque separatist group Euskadi ta Azkatasuna, Juan Antonio Olarra Guridi, was arrested in a suburb of Bordeaux. Maurice Papon, aged 92, was released from prison, where he had served two years of a ten-year sentence for collaborating with German Nazis in the second world war. The number of people suffering from food shortages in Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Malawi and Zambia has risen to 14.5 million, according to the United Nations. In Zimbabwe, Mr Feargus Blackie was charged with overturning the sentence and conviction of a white woman shortly before his retirement in May as a high court judge; he had earlier sentenced Mr Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister, to three months in prison for contempt of court. At least 46 died when a bus full of pilgrims from Tucuman bound for San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca plunged into a ravine 600 miles northeast of Buenos Aires.

CSH