The Spectator

Potrait of the week

Potrait of the week
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The government cancelled a vote setting a timetable for a Bill to reform the House of Lords after dozens of Conservative MPs were ready to rebel. The Bill, which gained a second reading thanks to Labour, was brought in at the insistence of the Liberal Democrats. Six men from the West Midlands were charged with terrorism. President François Hollande of France visited David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, who, standing next to the 5ft 7in leader, said: ‘We both want to stand tall in the world.’ The unseeded Jonathan Marray of Britain and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark won the Wimbledon men’s doubles. Roger Federer of Switzerland won the men’s title, beating Andy Murray, the first British finalist since Bunny Austin in 1938.

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Paul Tucker, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, told the Commons Treasury Select Committee that no government official or minister in 2008 had asked him to ‘lean on’ Barclays or any other bank in 2008 to lower their London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) submissions. Asked if he could be confident that abuse of Libor was not continuing, Mr Tucker replied: ‘I can’t be confident of anything after learning of this cesspit.’ Bob Diamond, who resigned as Barclays chief executive over the scandal voluntarily relinquished bonuses worth up to £20 million. The Serious Fraud Office began a formal investigation into the Libor scandal. Eva Rausing, married to the heir to the Tetra Pak drink-carton enterprise, was found dead in her Chelsea home. Marks & Spencer reported that like-for-like sales in Britain fell by 2.8 per cent between April and June. Pedestrians walking under a railway bridge at Taunton were startled by sudden amplified wailing designed to scare away pigeons as part of a £300,000 scheme; the pigeons stayed put.

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Universities saw 50,339 fewer applications from British students, an 8.9 per cent fall, with effects of high fees most notable in England and among students with middle-class parents, rather than among the poor. Britain has the lowest food security in western Europe, with one meal in three being imported, according to research by DuPont and the Economist Intelligence Unit. Floods once more swept over Britain, from Poole to Goole. The last four water companies with hosepipe bans lifted them. The Church of England Synod deferred a decision on the consecration of women bishops after liberals took against an amendment proposed by the bishops which would have given alternative episcopal care to parishes that rejected women bishops. A block of ice from an aircraft smashed into the roof of Brentwood Cathedral during Mass.

Abroad

Eurozone finance ministers offered Spain €30 billion by the end of the month as part of a bailout for its beleaguered banks. Spain was forced again to pay 7 per cent in the markets for ten-year borrowing. In Germany the constitutional court heard objections to the European Union’s planned European Stability Mechanism. In Russia floods killed at least 171 people in the southern Krasnodar region, north-east of the Black Sea. Norway used emergency powers to end a strike by offshore oil and gas workers. President Evo Morales of Bolivia was re-elected head of the coca-growers union.

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Ansar al-Dine, a group affiliated to al-Qa’eda, tightened its grip on northern Mali and destroyed two more ancient Muslim shrines in Timbuktu. Violence continued in Syria despite peace efforts by Kofi Annan; 17,000 were said to have been killed in the past 16 months. Libya held elections, with 2,639 competing for 120 seats. Egypt’s parliament convened briefly on the instructions of the newly elected president, Mohammed Mursi, in defiance of an order by the ruling military council for it to be dissolved after a ruling by the supreme court that it was unconstitutionally elected. Ernest Borgnine, the film actor, died, aged 95.

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The Rt Revd Thaddeus Ma Daqin, a new auxiliary bishop of Shanghai, was held by the authorities after announcing his resignation from the Patriotic Catholic Association at his consecration. Thomas Lubanga, a warlord from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was sentenced to 14 years in jail after being convicted by the International Criminal Court of using child soldiers in his rebel army in 2002 and 2003. The US National Park Service said it would take until 2014 to mend the 555ft Washington Monument, damaged by a small earthquake last August.  CSH