The Spectator

Portrait of the Week - 26 March 2005

A speedy round-up of the week's news

Text settings

Private Johnson Beharry, 25, was awarded the Victoria Cross for valour on 1 May 2004 during an incident in Iraq. The government admitted that Camilla Parker Bowles would become Queen if she was married to the Prince of Wales when he became King. Mr Michael Howard, the leader of the Conservative party, said he would give parliamentary time if he were prime minister to a Bill to reduce the upper limit for abortion from 24 to 20 weeks. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, said, ‘The policy supported by Mr Howard is one that we would also commend, on the way to a full abandonment of abortion.’ Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, said it should not be an election issue. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said there was ‘more and more of a shared unhappiness and bewilderment around our law and its effects’. West Mercia Crown Prosecution Service announced that no prosecution would be pursued in the case of a late abortion in 2001 of a child with a cleft palate that had been brought for judicial review by the Revd Joanna Jepson. Mr Bob Quick, the Chief Constable of Surrey, said that constables spent nearly 90 per cent of their time filling in forms instead of fighting crime. A fraud case involving the building of London’s Jubilee line extension collapsed after two years; there will be no retrial. Police foiled a computer raid on the London branch of Sumitomo bank that would have sent £220 million to ten bank accounts around the world. An opinion poll by YouGov found that 40 per cent wanted Mr Gordon Brown as prime minister, and 30 per cent Mr Blair. GNER paid £1.3 billion for the East Coast mainline 10-year franchise. Mrs Margaret Dixon had a successful operation on her shoulder — which had been postponed several times last year and made into a political symbol — at Warrington General Hospital. A dry winter brought early hosepipe bans in southern England.

European Union finance ministers agreed to adjust rules in the stability and growth pact; Mr Gordon Brown, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, said this would make it even harder for Britain to join the euro zone. Mr Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, proposed in a 62-page report to reform the organisation; the Security Council could be expanded either by the addition of six new permanent members to Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States or by adding a third tier of semi-permanent members. President George Bush nominated Mr Paul Wolfowitz as the next head of the World Bank. He later received the five sisters and fiancée of the murdered Robert McCartney at the White House on St Patrick’s Day. Mr Bush signed into law at 1.11 a.m., after returning to the White House from Texas, a Bill passed by Congress allowing the parents of Terri Schiavo, 41, who has been in a coma for 15 years, to apply to a federal court to have water and food restored to her after her husband got the feeding tube removed; but the federal court did not order its restoration. A teenager shot dead his grandfather and eight others before killing himself at a high school in the Red Lake Indian reservation in northern Minnesota. Spain applied for the extradition of Moutaz Almallah Dabas, a Spanish citizen arrested in Slough, Berkshire, a day after his brother, Mohammed Almallah Dabas, a Syrian, was arrested in Madrid in connection with the bombs that killed 191 there in March 2004. A car bomb at the Doha Players theatre in Qatar killed a British man, Jonathan Adams. There was political unrest in Kyrgyzstan. George Kennan, author in 1946 of the long telegram that shaped American policy in the Cold War, died, aged 101. The Internet search engine Ask Jeeves was sold for £1 billion. Switzerland plans to wrap its largest glaciers in foil to stop them melting so fast.