The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 19 September 2012

Portrait of the week | 19 September 2012
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The government gave a commercial company, Capita, a contract to find and remove more than 150,000 migrants who have overstayed their visas. A French court prohibited a magazine from republishing pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge topless, or distributing them. After appearing in the French magazine, the pictures had been printed in the Irish Daily Star. The Duke and Duchess continued their Jubilee year tour, taking in the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. In a freedom of information case brought by a Guardian journalist, an appeal court ruled that correspondence between Prince Charles and the government should be made public. Derek Jameson, a former editor of the Daily Star, died, aged 82. Lord Stevens of Ludgate, a former chairman of United Newspapers, joined Ukip. In the past year councils have issued 3,197 fines for alleged crimes involving dustbins.

The annual rate of inflation fell a touch to 2.5 per cent in August (from 2.6 in July) as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, or to 2.9 (from 3.2) by the Retail Prices Index. The government hatched plans to break the link between inflation and the annual increase in benefits. Two unarmed policewomen were killed in a gun and grenade attack at Mottram, Greater Manchester, shortly after which Dale Cregan, a man wanted over two other killings, turned himself in. A 35-year-old woman from North Yorkshire who admitted aborting her own baby in the final phase of her pregnancy was jailed for eight years. Natural England granted farmers in Gloucestershire a licence to shoot badgers.

The government pondered a proposed merger between the defence concerns BAE and EADS (in which the French and German governments have interests). The GCSE examination in England is to be replaced in core subjects by an ‘English Baccalaureate Certificate’, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, announced. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that it was unlawful for Britain to hold prisoners for indeterminate sentences while not letting them complete rehabilitation courses that would qualify them for parole. Labour had a 15 percentage-point lead over the Conservatives, according to a poll for the Times.


Protesters attacked Japanese businesses in China following an agreement by Japan to buy some uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known to them as the Senkaku and to the Chinese as the Diaoyu islands. Xi Jinping, who is expected to be made the ruler of China at the next Communist Party congress, reappeared after an unexplained fortnight’s disappearance. In Chengdu, a two-day secret trial found against Wang Lijun, the policeman who in February briefly fled to an American consulate after the murder of Neil Heywood, a British businessman, precipitating the fall of the politician Bo Xilai. President Obama of the United States complained to the World Trade Organisation about the Chinese motor market.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, called for more protests against a video that an American had posted on the internet which insulted Islam. In the week following the killing of the US ambassador in Benghazi, Libya, mobs broke into the US embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, and attacked the US embassy in Cairo. In one day, seven protesters were killed in different parts of the Muslim world. In Afghanistan the Taleban attacked Nato’s Camp Bastion, killing two US Marines. Prince Harry, who is based at the camp, was moved to a more secure place, in recognition that he might be a target, according to the British Defence Secretary. Nato reduced joint operations with Afghan forces because 51 of its people have been killed this year by attacks by members of the Afghan forces.

The Pope said Mass for 350,000 in the open air in Beirut and called for peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims. He had been met by a banner reading: ‘Hezbollah greets the Pope in the country of co-existence.’ In Syria, aerial assaults by government aircraft continued on Aleppo. The UN said that 18,000 had died in Syria since hostilities began in 2011. Mitt Romney was taped saying that the Americans who back President Obama do not pay income tax and would never vote for him; then another video emerged of him saying: ‘The Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace.’ The US Federal Reserve launched $40 billion a month in quantitative easing. Madrid hosted 10 rallies in one day, by teachers, firemen, anarcho-syndicalists and others protesting at austerity. -CSH