David Cameron, the Prime Minister, appeared in public with George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer — the first time they had been photographed as a couple for four years — to draw attention to infrastructure projects. Mr Cameron mentioned in an article for the Church Times that Britain is a Christian country, which made 55 celebrity atheists write to the Daily Telegraph to deny it. A new Family Court came into being, committed to resolving within 26 weeks cases about the care of children, rather than the average of 56 weeks recorded in 2011. Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat pensions minister, said that the government could help people by telling them when they would die. A black and white photograph by David Bailey, aged 76, of the Queen was released for her 88th birthday. Two earthquakes in two days hit Oakham, Rutland; no damage was reported.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, HM Chief Inspector of Schools in England, is to take personal charge of Ofsted’s investigation of claims that some schools in Birmingham have been taken over by Muslim extremists. Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, launched an investigation under Peter Clarke, the former Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism chief. The Foods Standards Agency found that 43 out of 145 samples of lamb takeaways contained other meat instead. Manchester United sacked David Moyes as its manager, ten months after he succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson. Peter Moores, the England cricket coach from 2007 to 2009, was reappointed. A mother and two children found that their car had caught on fire in the lion enclosure at Longleat; ‘It was very difficult to know what to do,’ she remarked later, ‘Keep in the car or get out of the car.’
Ukip launched a £1.5 million poster campaign, paid for by Paul Sykes, a former donor to the Conservatives. One poster, showing a pointing finger, read: ‘26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose jobs are they after?’ Mike Gapes, a Labour Co-operative MP, called the posters ‘racist’. The Co-operative Group announced losses of £2.5 billion for 2013, £2.1 billion of which came from losses at the Co-operative Bank. The government borrowed £108 billion in the year ending in April, compared with £115 the year before. Tommy Crossan, aged 43, formerly of the Continuity IRA, was shot dead in west Belfast. Viewers turned on subtitles during a BBC dramatisation of Jamaica Inn in order to make out the indistinct dialogue.
In Geneva, crisis talks by Ukraine, Russia, the European Union and the United States agreed that: ‘All illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners.’ Pro-Russian separatists who had occupied municipal buildings in the Donbass region stayed put. Three people at a pro-Russian roadblock near Sloviansk were shot dead in the middle of the night. US vice-president Joe Biden visited Kiev and said that ‘provocative behaviour’ by Russia would lead to ‘greater isolation’. President Oleksandr Turchynov of Kiev said he would resume action against pro-Russian militants after the discovery near Sloviansk of the bodies of two men, one a local politician, who had been tortured.
A South Korean ferry full of schoolchildren sank; of the 476 on board — 339 of them pupils and teachers on a school trip — 174 were saved. Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, known as Abu Hamza, a former imam of the Finsbury Park mosque in London, went on trial in New York on charges of establishing an al-Qa’eda training camp in Oregon in 1999. Brunei delayed, ‘due to unavoidable circumstances’, the introduction of laws imposing death by stoning for adulterers and the severing of limbs for theft. An avalanche killed 16 sherpas on Everest. Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian novelist, died, aged 87.
France and America accused the Syrian government of using poison gas. President Bashar al-Assad announced presidential elections for 3 June. American drones killed about 40 people in Yemen. Abdullah al-Rabiah was dismissed as health minister of Saudi Arabia after the number of deaths from the coronavirus Mers (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), spread by camels, rose to 81. Rome prepared for the canonisation of Pope John XXIII (died 1963) and Pope John Paul II (died 2005) on 27 April. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toured Australia, accompanied by nine-month-old Prince George. CSH
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