An attack on the Syrian village of Tremseh left around 200 people dead this week, according to opposition groups in the country. Responding to reports of the massacre, the special envoy for Syria Kofi Annan said that it was 'desperately urgent that this violence and brutality stops.’ It is estimated that as many as 16,000 people have been killed since March 2011 when the opposition movement against President Bashar al-Assad's regime began. Syrian state news maintains that ‘the bloodthirsty media in collaboration with gangs of armed terrorists massacred residents of Tremseh village’ to create tension and provoke international intervention. A spokesperson for the Syrian foreign ministry has denied that heavy weaponry was used in the attack, despite confirmed reports of their use from UN observers in the region.
The security firm G4S will be unable to provide all 10,000 of the required security personnel to the London 2012 Organising Committee (Locog) ahead of the Olympic Games, it was revealed this week. The government has said that 3,500 military personnel will be required to make up for the shortage in security staff. Speaking in the House of Commons, Home Secretary Theresa May has said, ‘They stand ready to do their duty whatever the nation may ask. Our troops are highly skilled and highly trained and this task is the most important facing our nation today.’ Responding to the situation, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper criticised the government’s handling of the situation, saying, ‘This really looks like another huge Home Office shambles.’
Former England captain John Terry was found not guilty of racial abuse on Friday. The 31-year-old had been accused of making racist comments to Queens Park Rangers footballer Anton Ferdinand during a match last year. Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle wrote the judgement, in which he said, 'The prosecution evidence as to what was said by Mr Ferdinand at this point is not strong. It is therefore possible that what he [John Terry] said was not intended as an insult, but rather as a challenge to what he believed had been said to him. In those circumstances, there being a doubt, the only verdict the court can record is one of not guilty.’ Responding to the decision, the FA stated that, ‘The FA notes the decision in the John Terry case and will now seek to conclude its own inquiries.’
The O2 mobile network suffered technical difficulties this week that affected large numbers of users. The company posted a blog statement on its website on Friday saying, ‘At approximately 13:30 yesterday we experienced a fault with one of our network systems which meant that some mobile phone numbers were unable to register correctly on our network. Our engineers were deployed as soon as possible and worked throughout the night.’ A subsequent blog post said that 2G and 3G services had been restored, with a statement on Saturday adding that, ‘We want to restore customer confidence and trust so for those customers affected by the lack of service, we will be doing everything we can to make it up to them.’
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was booed on Wednesday during an address to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In his speech to members of the organisation at its annual convention, Romney said, ‘I will kill every expensive and unnecessary programme I can find, and that includes Obamacare.’ President Barack Obama received around 95% of the African American vote in the 2008 presidential election. Addressing the convention on Thursday, current Vice-President Joe Biden said, ‘this election will come down to character, conviction and vision. And it will not surprise you – I don’t think it’s even a close call.’
An avalanche in the French Alps killed nine climbers and injured twelve others this week. The avalanche took place close to the ski resort of Chamonix. The mayor of Chamonix Jean-Louis Verdier has said that, 'It's a steep mountain face. There are big plates of snow where an avalanche can easily occur. But this morning we had no reason to expect an avalanche of this size and such a tragedy.’ One of the three British climbers killed was Roger Payne, former chief executive of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC). Current BMC chief executive Dave Turnbull said, ‘Roger was one of the UK’s most enthusiastic and respected climbers with a track record of Alpine and Himalayan mountaineering stretching back to the 1980s. Our thoughts are with Roger’s friends and family – in particular his wife Julie-Ann.’
The leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband addressed the Durham Miners' Gala on Saturday, making him the first Labour leader to address the event since Neil Kinnock in 1989. At the event, Miliband said that he was ‘proud’ to have attended and went on to say, ‘A few years ago the Tories tried to say 'we're all in it together'. But now we know they never meant it. Because we have seen what they do when they get back in power.’ Commenting on Miliband's attendance, the co-chairperson of the Conservative Party Sayeeda Warsi said that, ‘Red Ed is using the Durham Miners' Gala to cosy up to his militant, left-wing union paymasters.’
The government has approved plans by the University of Birmingham to found the University of Birmingham School and Sixth Form, it was announced on Friday. A statement on the University website has said, ‘This will be the UK’s first University Training school outside London and one of the first university proposals approved by the Department for Education.’ The Vice-Chancellor David Eastwood commented that, ‘This exciting initiative will not only enable us to share our values and have a positive impact on students from across Birmingham from as young as 11, it will also ensure that we develop the next generation of inspiring teachers for our region and the country.’ The school is expected to open in September 2014.