Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

The Law Lords ruled that General Augusto Pinochet, the former head of state in Chile, must remain to face extradition proceedings brought about against him by Spain. A member of the Irish Republic Army was sentenced to 435 years and three life sentences for murder, and three other IRA men to long terms for their parts in the murder of nine members of the forces, including Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick, aged 23, in 1997; but the killers will be released after 16 months under the Good Friday Agreement. Mr Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, sought a judicial review of the release dates of some other IRA prisoners, including Patrick Magee, the man who murdered five people by bombing the Grand Hotel at Brighton in 1984. The courts confirmed the immediate release of three prisoners and a date in June for the release of Magee. Fiona Jones was disqualified as the Member of Parliament for Newark after being convicted of knowingly making a false declaration of election expenses. Some council schools in Hackney are to be `contracted out' compulsorily by Mr David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, after Ofsted found `extensive failures' in the council's education department. The government also announced a strange scheme to give brighter children extra tuition out of hours, mostly at schools near their own. Lorry drivers blocked the roads of the West End of London in protest against higher taxes on them in Britain compared to the rest of Europe. Lord Beloff, the political historian and founder of a university at Buckingham, died, aged 85. Patrick Heron, the painter, died, aged 79. Ernie Wise, who formed a comedy act with the late Eric Morecambe, died, aged 73. Rod Hull, the ventriloquist who used a hand puppet called Emu, died, aged 63, after falling off his roof while adjusting a television aerial. …

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