THE “peoples' uprising” against President Mubarak's regime in Egypt continued throughout the week although without any resolution. TV coverage of the peaceful marches and demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of Egyptians in Cairo and Alexandria was seen throughout the world. President Mubarak said that he would not contest the next presidential election in September but refused to respond to calls from the Cairo streets and international leaders that he should resign immediately. His decision to resign from his party but not form the presidency made little impression.

Egypt's economy was in trouble as normal life came almost to a standstill. Anxiety that the Suez Canal might be affected led to an increase in oil prices; Brent crude topped $100 a barrel for the first time since 2008.

THE political unrest in Egypt had a knock-on effect elsewhere in the Middle East where demonstrations were held. In Jordan King Abdullah dismissed his cabinet and appointed a new prime minister. In Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh undertook not to stand for re-election in 2013 or to ask the electorate to appoint his son in his place. In Israel concern was concentrated on the possibility that an Islamist administration might follow President Mubarak.

IN Spain the government reached a social pact with employers and trade union for a delay in the retirement age from 65 to 67 by 2027 and for changes to wage-bargaining procedures.