The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 17 November 2016

Portrait of the week | 17 November 2016
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Nigel Farage, the caretaker leader of Ukip, was photographed with a smiling Donald Trump as the two men held a meeting at Trump Tower in New York. Downing Street was furious at suggestions that Mr Farage might act as a go-between. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said at the Lord Mayor’s banquet that policies favouring the common good should protect everyone from the effects of globalisation. Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, complained of a European ‘collective whingerama’ about Mr Trump and decided not to attend a summit of EU foreign ministers summoned by Germany; France and Hungary did not attend either. The prosecuting counsel in the trial for murder of Thomas Mair told the court that the accused repeatedly shouted ‘Britain First’ as he shot and stabbed Jo Cox, a Labour MP, just before the EU referendum.

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, overtook heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales, accounting for 11.6 per cent of deaths, two thirds of them women. An Italian man living in south London was found guilty of murdering a policeman he met on a gay dating site and whose body he tried to dissolve in the bath. Police said that a 14-year-old girl who claimed in September to have been abducted in Oxford was not. A memorial is to be erected to the six men and a woman killed when a tram overturned in Croydon. Someone accidentally sent an email to all 840,000 employees on the NHS internet list; chaos followed when hundreds of recipients clicked on ‘reply to all’.

Ingrid Isgren, Sweden’s chief prosecutor, questioned Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy in London (where he has lived since 2012) about a rape allegation. The government obtained a High Court injunction ordering protesting prison officers to return to work. Dominic Chappell, the man who brought BHS for £1, confirmed that he had been arrested on 2 November by HM Revenue and Customs over an unpaid tax bill of about £500,000. Unemployment fell to an 11-year low of 4.8 per cent. The rate of inflation, measured by the Consumer Prices Index, fell from 1 to 0.9 per cent, though a rise had been expected; the Retail Prices Index remained at 2 per cent. Google said it was to open a new headquarters building in London. The route of the HS2 rail link to Manchester and Leeds was announced; residents of a housing estate at Mexborough, which would be demolished, were displeased.

Abroad

Donald Trump, the president-elect of America, said that he wanted to expel or jail two or three million ‘people that are criminal’. He conceded that part of his wall with Mexico might be fence. He said future nominees to the Supreme Court would be ‘pro-life’ and defenders of the constitutional right to bear arms. He would take only $1 of the $400,000 presidential salary. A week after the election, not all votes had been counted but an interim total gave 61,324,576 for Hillary Clinton and 60,526,852 for Mr Trump. Mr Trump appointed Reince Priebus to be his chief of staff and Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of the Breitbart News Network, as his chief strategist. Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter, died aged 82.

Arnaud Danjean, an ally of presidential election frontrunner Alain Juppé, a right-wing contender for the presidency of France, said that France would close the British border post in Calais. Igor Dodon, the pro-Russian candidate, won Moldova’s presidential election. Alexei Ulyukayev, Russia’s economy minister, was charged with taking a $2 million bribe. Work began at Chernobyl in Ukraine to move a cover 345ft tall and 900ft wide over the ruins of the nuclear reactor there. The Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego planned a cull of 100,000 beavers, first introduced in 1946.

Islamic State shot 40 civilians accused of treachery in besieged Mosul and hung their bodies on electricity poles, the UN human rights office reported. Islamic State said that one of its people set off a bomb that killed 52 worshippers at the Sufi shrine of Shah Noorani in Balochistan, Pakistan. Pakistan said that seven of its soldiers had been killed by Indian shelling in Kashmir. The pilot was saved when a Russian Mig-29 fighter jet crashed into the Mediterranean as it tried to land on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier off Syria. Bombing of Aleppo resumed. Two people were killed by a powerful earthquake on the South Island of New Zealand, which caused much damage. The moon came its closest to the Earth since 1948.           CSH