Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

Mr Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, announced that Britain would send an extra 500 troops to Afghanistan, bringing its strength there to 10,000. Earlier he had criticised Pakistan for not making 'more progress in taking out' the leader of al-Qa'eda: 'We have got to ask ourselves why, eight years after September 11, nobody has been able to spot or detain or get close to Osama bin Laden.' The High Court ruled that two men in prison accused of being al-Qa'eda terrorists, who cannot be named, have the right to hear the secret evidence against them or be released. Lady Warsi, the opposition spokesman on community cohesion, was pelted with eggs by Muslim protesters when she visited Luton.

English Heritage refused an application to put up a blue plaque in London to L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. The Rt Revd Eric Kemp, Bishop of Chichester from 1974 to 2001, died, aged 94. The Yorkshire and the Chelsea building societies announced plans to merge. Miss Susan Boyle, a 48-year-old woman from Blackburn, West Lothian, exposed to public curiosity on television talent shows, sold 411,820 copies of her CD in Britain in a week, an unprecedented number.

Twelve NHS hospital trusts in England are 'significantly underperforming', according to the annual Dr Foster Hospital Guide, although the Care Quality Commission had a month earlier given nine of them 'good' or 'excellent' ratings for their overall performance. Basildon University Hospital had the worst patient death rate in the country for the second year running. Social workers would one day need licences to work and a National College of Social Work would be established, the Department for Children and the Department of Health announced.

Mr Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, said he would push for the college to be given royal status as quickly as possible.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Bermuda, where they heard a 105-yearold woman play 'God Save the Queen' on the piano, then flew to Trinidad. Rwanda was accepted as the 54th member of the Commonwealth.

President Barack Obama of the United States, after deliberating for 92 days, announced that he would send an extra 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. He hoped troops would be able to withdraw again from 2011. The Senate foreign relations committee declared that Osama bin Laden had been within the grasp of US forces in Afghanistan but, at the end of 2001, had 'walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan's unregulated tribal area'. …

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