Portrait of the week
Mr Michael O’Higgins, the chairman of the Audit Commission, denied accusations made by Mr Eric Pickles, the Communities
Secretary, of organisational extravagance exemplified by spending £5,943 to hire the Reform Club for a 25th anniversary event and £40,000 on pot plants for its offices. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that the emergency Budget in June was regressive, hitting poorer people hardest. In the three months to June, in the run-up to the election, the Conservatives were given £12.3 million in donations; Labour £10.9 million and the Liberal Democrats £2 million, according to the Electoral Commission. Mr Charles Kennedy, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, dismissed talk of his joining the Labour party. The late William Whitelaw was said, while Northern Ireland Secretary in 1972, to have arranged to have a priest (who died in 1980) suspected of belonging to the IRA removed to Donegal after the bombing at Claudy, Co. Londonderry, that
States; Britain gave $34.7 million; Australia $26.6 million and the European Commission $18.6 million. Bilaterally, Saudi Arabia sent relief goods worth $60 million, with another $40 million expected. British people had also privately donated £30 million through the Disasters Emergency Committee, which co-ordinates 13 charitable aid agencies. Eight Hong Kong tourists died when police in the Philippines shot dead a man who had taken them hostage in their bus in Manila. Canada’s PotashCorp, the world’s largest fertiliser producer, urged shareholders to reject a £25.8 billion hostile takeover bid from BHP Billiton, a mining company. After 17 days trapped 2,300ft down in the San Jose gold and copper mine near Copiapo, Chile, 33 miners attached a message to a rescuers’ drill saying they were alive; it was expected to take another four months to dig a tunnel to free them.
killed nine people. A girl was born to Mrs Samantha Cameron while she and Mr David Cameron, the Prime Minister, were enjoying a holiday in Cornwall, a county in which he was struck by an egg earlier this year. David and Victoria Beckham were reported to have parted with 14 of their 50 servants because of the hard times.
The pass rate for A-levels rose to 97.6 per cent, with A grades rising to 27 per cent and the new A* accounting for 8 per cent. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service said that at least 160,000 of the 675,465 who applied for places at universi- ty would fail to find one. GCSE results saw 69.1 per cent of entries gaining a grade C or above, including Miss Dee Alli of Southwark, aged five, who gained a C in maths. For the first time, French fell from the top 10 most popular subjects, ousted by religious studies. Dr Nicholas Hunt, the Home Office pathol- ogist who performed the post-mortem on Dr David Kelly, the expert in Iraq weap- ons who died in 2003, said, ‘It was an abso- lute classic case of self-inflicted injury. You could illustrate a textbook with it.’ He was responding to a call by a group of doctors for an inquest, which he said he would wel- come. The Crown Prosecution Service said that Mr Ray Gosling, a broadcaster, was to be charged with wasting police time over claims he had made of having smothered a dying lover. Edwin Morgan, the poet, died, aged 90. Public bicycles for hire, recent- ly introduced in London, will be removed from Notting Hill during its Carnival over the August bank holiday.
Israel and the Palestinians agreed to resume direct peace negotiations in September, for the first time since December 2008. The United States said it had withdrawn all its combat troops from Iraq, although 50,000 remain in other roles. In Chisinau, the capi- tal of Moldova, police seized 4lb of urani- um-238, which they said was on sale for £7.5 million. Iran began loading fuel into its first nuclear power station at Bushehr; a cere- mony was attended by officials from Russia, which will supply the fuel and take away the waste. Australia’s Labor party failed to secure a majority in a snap election called by Miss Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister. Mr Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods, the golfer, and Ms Elin Nordegren announced that they had divorced; he had confessed last December to infidelities. France set about expelling 700 Roma (gypsies); last year it sent 10,000 back to Romania and Bulgaria. A painting by Van Gogh of flowers in a vase was stolen from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum, Cairo; a state prosecutor said that alarms had not been working, and the Egyptian govern- ment’s head of fine arts was thrown into prison. CSH
Floods in Pakistan moved down the Indus river into Sindh, leaving six million needing basic shelter and another 11 million affected, according to the United Nations. Of state aid to Pakistan made through a UN fund, $88 million came from the United
6 THE SPECTATOR 28 August 2010