Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week

28 June 2014

9:00 AM

28 June 2014

9:00 AM

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David Cameron, the Prime Minister, fought a last-ditch battle against the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Union. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, declared that to be ‘isolated’ could be the ‘right thing’. Attention was diverted by an opinion of Mr Cameron’s negotiating skills in Europe, given in a private conversation, secretly recorded along with several others leaked to the Polish press, by Radoslaw Sikorski, the foreign minister. Mr Sikorski, once, like Mr Cameron, a member of the Bullingdon Club at Oxford, spoke of ‘a kind of incompetence in European affairs. Remember? He fucked up the fiscal pact. He fucked it up. Simple as that.’ The Queen, on a visit to Northern Ireland, was shown around the disused Crumlin Road jail in north Belfast, now a tourist attraction, by Peter Robinson, the first minister, and Martin McGuinness, the deputy first minister and former IRA commander.

Andy Coulson, a former editor of the News of the World, later head of communications at 10 Downing Street, was found guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey of conspiring to intercept voicemails. David Cameron immediately said: ‘I am extremely sorry I employed him.’ Rebekah Brooks was found not guilty of all charges brought against her in the 138-day trial, and her husband Charlie Brooks was found not guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Ed Miliband should be replaced as Labour leader, according to 43 per cent of Labour-voting respondents to a poll by Ipsos Mori. In a YouGov poll, only 21 per cent thought he was up to the job of being prime minister. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown called on Mr Cameron to withdraw the whip from Michael Fabricant after he tweeted: ‘I could never appear on a discussion prog with @y_alibhai. I would either end up with a brain haemorrhage or by punching her in the throat.’


Two young men in a recruitment video for the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (Isis) were found to have come from Cardiff, and another from Aberdeen. Police sought the killer of Nahid Almanea, a Saudi Arabian woman stabbed to death in Colchester. England was knocked out of the World Cup, lost all three matches against the All Blacks, and the Test series against the Sri Lanka tourists. Possession of khat was made illegal as it became a class C drug.

Abroad

Men of Isis, allied with Sunni tribal leaders, took control of Iraq’s biggest oil refinery at Baiji, in Saladin province, and captured border crossings to Syria and Jordan. John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, made a visit to Baghdad and to Irbil for talks with Kurdish leaders. At least 1,075 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Iraq between 5 and 22 June, the UN said. Iraqi armed forces used up all their 300 Hellfire rockets. A court in Cairo sentenced three al-Jazeera journalists charged with spreading false news to seven years’ imprisonment; a court also confirmed death sentences on 183 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood accused of attacking a police station. Meriam Ibrahim, sentenced to death by a Sudanese court for apostasising from Islam, was freed by an appeal court, rearrested at the airport and later released. Another 60 women were abducted in raids by Boko Haram on villages in Borno state, Nigeria. At least 337 people have died of Ebola fever in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Luis Suarez, the Uruguay and Liverpool player, bit Giorgio Chiellini of Italy in a World Cup game.

Before Ukraine’s signing of an agreement of association with the European Union, President Petro Poroshenko declared a unilateral week-long ceasefire against Russian-backed separatists. After a number of Russian tanks had crossed into the east of Ukraine, President Barack Obama rang President Vladimir Putin of Russia, urging him to stop the flow of arms. Mr Putin asked the Russian parliament to withdraw the authorisation it granted him in March to use force in Ukraine. Pro-Russians then shot down a Ukrainian helicopter, killing all nine on board. A man had to be extracted by firemen after becoming stuck in a 30-ton stone sculpture of a vagina at Tubingen university in Germany.

There were 51.2 million refugees in 2013, according to the UN, the most since the second world war. Italy said its navy had saved 50,000 migrants from vessels in the Mediterranean this year. The Pope, on a visit to Calabria, said that the ’Ndrangheta and other mafiosi ‘worship evil’ and ‘are not in communion with God: they are excommunicated’. A Monet of waterlilies, which had failed to reach its reserve in 2010, sold in London for £31.7 million.      CSH

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