The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 31 December 2011

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The Duke of Edinburgh, aged 90, left Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire four days after arriving by helicopter for an emergency operation to fit a stent in a blocked coronary artery. ‘It is tragedy that often draws out the most and the best from the human spirit,’ the Queen said in her Christmas broadcast, recorded earlier. In an interview with RTE, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said that the Queen’s visit to Ireland in May had been a ‘game-changer’ in Anglo-Irish relations. The body of Christopher Hitchens, who died aged 62, was donated for medical research. Kauto Star won an unprecedented fifth King George VI Chase at Kempton.

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Mr Cameron said that he supported minimum pricing for alcohol. In a broadcast message to the Falkland Islands, Mr Cameron said: ‘We will never negotiate on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless you, the Falkland Islanders, so wish.’ A few days earlier, Mercosur, a trading bloc including Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, said it would close its ports to ships flying the Falkland Islands flag. Thirty-three per cent of those on Jobseeker’s Allowance were found to have a criminal record. In the Boxing Day sales, a young man was stabbed to death outside Foot Locker, a trainer shop, in Oxford Street, and another was later stabbed in the thigh. Aslef held a strike on Boxing Day on the London Underground.

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Revised figures showed an increase in GDP of 0.6 per cent, not 0.5 per cent in the three months to September, as the Office for National Statistics had earlier thought; but in the three months to June there was no growth at all. Brazil overtook Britain as the world’s sixth largest economy, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

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