US Vice-President Joe Biden visited Israel to help launch the latest round of peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine but was shocked when the Israeli government announced plans for 1'600 Jewish homes in East Jerusalem. Later in the week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu that the incident had sent a “deeply negative signal” on US-Israeli relations.

The Northern ireland Assembly approved by a large majority the devolution of judicial and police powers to Belfast. In a surprising intervention former President George W Bush telephoned the UK Conservative leader David Cameron to ask him to persuade his Ulster Unionist allies not to oppose the change.

In Chile, Sebastian Pinera, a wealthy centre-right businessman, was inaugurated as president in a ceremony that was interrupted by a severe after-shock of Chile's earlier devastating earthquake.

Despite extreme protests, India's parliament approved legislation to reserve for women one-third of seats in federal and state legislatures.