Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

The Home Office proposed a new offence of having images from the internet of serious sexual violence and other obscene material; it would be punishable by three years in jail. The presumed murderer of an 11-year-old boy in West Lothian was found dead, hanged in his house; the man was on bail awaiting trial on charges of sexual offences against young girls. A woman was shot dead with a baby in her arms at a christening party in Peckham, south London; a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old black youth were arrested. A survey of 9,700 children aged 11-15 found that 9 per cent of them had said they had been able to buy alcohol in a pub or bar.

Last year there were 44,488 cases of Clostridium difficile in England, against 35,536 cases in the previous year, before reporting became mandatory. The government granted licences to shoot 3,000 of Britain's 23,000 cormorants competing for fish in rivers and lakes. No one at all was killed in the popular Notting Hill Carnival. A double garage in Ladbroke Road, Notting Hill, sold for £240,000.

Uniformed soldiers took part in Manchester's gay pride parade for the first time. British fashion retailers were said to be seeking suppliers nearer than China, from which sea routes ordinarily take 22 days; Turkey was one preferred source.

Mrs Victoria Beckham said that, contrary to previous reports, she had read a book, indeed several, although not all the way through. Lord Fitt, who as Gerry Fitt became the first leader of the Social Democratic and Labour party in Northern Ireland, died, aged 79. George Smith, a former royal valet who had claimed he was raped by one of the Prince of Wales's aides, died, aged 44. Mrs Florence Reeves, of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, thought to have been the oldest person in Britain, died, aged 111.

Hundreds died when Hurricane Katrina swept over the Gulf Coast of America. The area hardest hit was Harrison County, Mississippi, which includes Gulfport and Biloxi. …

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