The Spectator

Portrait of the Week - 9 August 2003

A speedy round-up of the week's news

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Lord Hutton began his inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly, the Ministry of Defence expert on Iraqi weapons, by disclosing part of a letter by the scientist to his superior, in which he said that, judging from the report by the BBC's Andrew Gilligan about the government's September dossier on Iraq, 'I can only conclude one of three things: Gilligan has considerably embellished my meeting with him; he has met with other individuals who were intimately associated with the dossier; or he assembled comments from both multiple direct and indirect sources for his articles.' Lord Hutton said he meant to call both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence to give evidence; the inquiry adjourned until after Dr Kelly's funeral. One of the Prime Minister's official spokesmen, Mr Tom Kelly, told a newspaper that Dr Kelly might have been a 'Walter Mitty' character; Mr Kelly later apologised. A Mori poll for the Financial Times gave the Tories the support of 38 per cent of voters, Labour 35 and the Liberal Democrats 21. The Communication Workers Union decided to ballot its 160,000 members on a strike that could stop postal services from October after it said that a pay offer from the Royal Mail had 'more strings than the Philharmonic Orchestra'. The Office of Fair Trading fined Manchester United, the Football Association and JJB Sports a total of £18.6 million for fixing the prices of football shirts. Graeme Smith, the 22-year-old captain of South Africa, scored 259 in his innings against England in the second Test at Lord's, after making 277 in the first Test. Thousands were delayed in sweltering trains after Network Rail imposed a 60mph speed limit on the West Coast main line in case the hot weather made rails buckle.

Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America confirmed the election of a homosexual apologist, Canon Gene Robinson, who lives with another man, as Bishop of New Hampshire. The primate of the 17 million Anglicans in Nigeria, Dr Peter Akinola, had called the appointment 'a Satanic attack on God's Church'; some kind of schism is now expected. Saddam Hussein's daughter, Raghad, who, with her sister Rana, has taken refuge in Jordan, said, 'He was a very good father. Loving. Has a big heart.' Saddam Hussein's two sons, Uday and Qusay, and Qusay's teenage son Mustafa, killed on 22 July by an American raid on the house where they were staying, were buried at the village of Awja on the outskirts of Tikrit. About 150 Nigerian soldiers arrived in the Liberian capital of Monrovia as the vanguard of a peacekeeping force of 3,000 from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), and the United States sent a handful to give logistical support; President Charles Taylor, against whom rebels have been fighting a civil war, gave no clear date for his promised departure. Mr Colin Powell is to stand down as the American secretary of state at the end of President George Bush's current term of office; if Mr Bush is re-elected, then Miss Condoleezza Rice, the present national security adviser, or Mr Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defence secretary, might wish to replace Mr Powell. A suicide lorry-bomb destroyed a four-storey military hospital at Mozdok in southern Russia on the route to Chechnya, killing 50. A bomb at the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta killed 14 and injured 150. The Irish police arrested ten men after finding a shooting range in Co. Waterford said to have been used by the Continuity IRA. Great heat affected Western Europe. Portugal declared a national disaster during the worst forest fires for a generation, in which nine people were killed. A new island a mile and a half long has emerged next to the East Frisians off the German coast; it is called Kachelotplate, meaning 'Whale Bank'.