Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

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Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, having cancelled a trip to Moscow over the Syrian poison gas incident, consulted other foreign ministers at the G7 summit at Lucca in Italy about how to get President Vladimir Putin of Russia to abandon his support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. The Scottish Medicines Consortium accepted for routine use by NHS Scotland a drug called Prep which, at a cost of more than £400 a month, can protect people at risk of contracting the HIV virus through unprotected sexual activity. In England, 57 general practitioners' surgeries closed in 2016, Pulse magazine found, with another 34 shutting because of mergers, forcing 265,000 patients to move. Eric Monkman, a fiercely keen Canadian, could not prevent Wolfson College, Cambridge, being defeated by Balliol in University Challenge.

The RMT union went on strike on Grand National day on Merseyrail, Arriva Rail North and Southern services. It was announced that Charles Horton, the chief executive of Southern's parent firm Govia Thameslink, was paid £495,000 last year. A recording from 2008 was unearthed by the BBC that suggested that the Bank of England had been active in lowering the Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate); a senior Barclays manager was heard saying: 'We've had some very serious pressure from the UK government and the Bank of England about pushing our Libors lower.' Brian Matthew, who presented Saturday Club and Easy Beat on the BBC Light Programme before the advent of Radio 1 in 1967, died aged 88. Tim Pigott-Smith, the actor, died aged 70. Jeremy Lewis, the publisher and memoirist, died aged 75.

Wonga, the payday loan company, suffered a data breach which might have affected up to 245,000 customers, with names, addresses, phone numbers and bank account numbers being stolen. The Jaeger clothes chain appointed administrators after failing to find a suitable buyer. Poultry in England was allowed out of doors from Maundy Thursday after being kept in by law since December to avoid a strain of bird flu.

Abroad

After America fired 59 cruise missiles at the Shayrat airbase in Syria, on the orders of President Donald Trump, following the suspected sarin gas attack last week, at the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun near Idlib, which killed 87, the world wondered what the settled policy of the United States would be. …

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