THE eurozone was officially declared to be in recession, joining Britain, Japan and the United States in the first “synchronised downturn” in 30 years.

After his presidential election victory Barack Obama spent the week with advisers considering key appointments in his administration. He also visited the White House with his wife Michelle; they were shown round the “des.res.” by President Bush and his wife. Mr Obama declined an invitation to attend an energy crisis summit meeting convened by Mr Bush even though those attending included the leaders of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and several European leaders.

Laurent Nkunda, the Congolese rebel general said that his forces were prepared to fight UN peacekeeping forces if necessary. Despite the intervention of the UN Secretary General and EU foreign ministers no progress was made in reducing the tension in the Congo.

In California demonstrations by thousands of members of the gay community protested against a public vote which nullified a court decision in favour of gay marriages.