Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Hosepipe bans, England’s women win the Euros and a strike over dragons

6 August 2022

9:00 AM

6 August 2022

9:00 AM

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BP reported quarterly profits of £6.9 billion, its biggest for 14 years, after oil and gas prices rose steeply. Typical domestic energy bills were forecast by the consultancy Cornwall Insight to go above £3,600 a year in the coming winter. Under the family scheme for visas, 31,300 Ukrainians had arrived in the United Kingdom, and 72,700 under the sponsorship scheme. British Airways suspended new ticket sales for short-haul flights from Heathrow until at least 15 August, to meet the airport’s limit on the number of passengers departing each day of 100,000. On 1 August, 696 migrants crossed the Channel in small boats; in July the total was 3,683, and more than 17,000 so far in 2022. Sir Christopher Meyer, the British ambassador to the United States 1997-2003, died aged 78.

There was a delay in sending out ballot papers for members of the Conservative party to vote for either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak as the new party leader and hence prime minister, and a rule was dropped that had allowed an online vote to supersede one sent by post. Ms Truss remained ahead and Mr Sunak suddenly declared he would reduce income tax by 4p in the pound within seven years (in his second as prime minister). Ms Truss said that Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish Nationalists, was merely an ‘attention seeker’. The Truss campaign said that £8.8 billion could be saved by having salaries for government employees set by regional pay boards; before the day was out, the proposal was dropped in the face of objections from public servants. Jaswant Singh Chail, 20, allegedly found with a crossbow in the grounds of Windsor Castle on Christmas Day, was charged under the Treason Act.


Covid infections in Britain fell for the first time since May: the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus fell to one in 20 in England and one in 19 in Scotland (from one in 17 and one in 15 a week earlier), according to surveys by the Office for National Statistics. Hosepipe bans were imposed in southern England. The England women’s football team beat Germany 2-1 at Wembley to win the European championship, and Chloe Kelly was given a yellow card after celebrating her winning goal by taking her shirt off, though decorously clad in a sports bra.

Abroad

A ship registered in Sierra Leone left Odessa laden with 26,000 tons of maize, bound for Tripoli in Lebanon, with inspection by Turkey en route, under an agreement signed by Russia to allow the export of grain from Ukraine. One of Ukraine’s richest businessmen, Oleksiy Vadatursky, 74, who was involved in grain export, and his wife, Raisa, died when a missile hit their home in Mykolaiv in the night during heavy shelling by Russia. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine told all civilians still living in parts of the Donetsk region under Ukrainian control that they must evacuate. The BBC found evidence that Russian forces in occupied Ukraine had systematically seized sunflower seed from farmers. Part of Beirut’s port grain silos, damaged in the 2020 port explosion, collapsed after days of smouldering fires in fermenting grain.

China launched a series of live-fire military drills in the air and sea around Taiwan after Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, visited the island and held talks with its president. America killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda, with a drone in Kabul. Mukhtar Robow, a former deputy leader of the militant group al-Shabab, was appointed the religious affairs minister in Somalia’s new cabinet; until 2017, America had offered £4 million for his capture. President Joe Biden of the United States, aged 79, caught Covid again, having been free from the disease from 26 to 29 July. New Zealand opened its borders fully for the first time since March 2020, when they were shut in an effort to keep out Covid. India saw its first death from monkeypox.

Debris from the 25-ton Chinese rocket Long March 5 crashed into the Sulu Sea in the Pacific. The state of Kansas voted in a referendum to retain the right to abortion in its constitution. Hundreds were missing in floods in Kentucky. Tensions increased between Serbia and Kosovo over new border regulations for Serbian visitors. Indonesian tourism workers went on strike over a rise in the price of tickets to see Komodo dragons from £11 to £206.

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