More than 800 people were confirmed dead and many hundreds more missing after a massive 8.8 earthquake struck many parts of Chile. The government declared a “state of catastrophe” and ordered the army to stop widespread looting.

During a visit to Argentina, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, spoke in favour of talks between Argentina and Britain on the Falklands Islands. In London this was taken as a snub and a reminder that in the Falklands war in 1982 Washington was initially unhelpful to Britain.

Ukraine's prime minister Julia Tymoshenko lost a vote of confidence and relinquished her post. The newly elected president Viktor Yanukovich visited Brussels and Moscow.

The Northern Ireland Protestant leader Ian Paisley announced that he will not be seeking re-election to the House of Commons. Once notorious for his hostility to Roman Catholicism, he eventually won admiration for his positive role in implementing the Good Friday Agreement.