0

by MONITOR
l On the third anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, negotiations for a government of national unity continued with little expectation of early success. The elected parliament assembled formally in Baghdad for about ten minutes but could not agree on anyone to elect as Speaker. In Britain and several other European cities demonstrations were held to protest against the war and its outcome. Mr Tony Blair said that he had not changed his belief that his decision to go to war was correct and that he “would do the same again”. l Although Mr Blair was able to win a vote on his reformist Education Bill in the House of Commons, he needed Conservative help to do so because of a revolt of Labour backbenchers. He had greater difficulty in dealing with revelations that the Labour Party had borrowed large sums of money for the 2005 general election campaign without registering the loans; there were also accusations that some of the lenders had been nominated for membership of the House of Lords. l Slobodan Milosevic, the ex-president of Yugoslavia and Serbia was found dead in his cell at The Hague war crimes tribunal where his trial for crimes against humanity was nearing its end. Tens of thousands of Serbs filed past his coffin in Belgrade but the government refused suggestions that he should receive a state funeral. l Israeli troops stormed a Palestinian jail in Jericho, capturing a militant leader wanted for the alleged killing of an Israeli minister in 2002. British monitors left the prison a few minutes before Israeli helicopters and tanks began their attack; the Palestinian Authority and Hamas accused Britain of collusion with Israel, a charge that Mr Blair denied. l The first two television debates in the Italian election seemed to go in favour of the opposition centre-left leader Romano Prodi. The prime minister Silvio Berlusonci said he would be changing his make-up artist to improve his appearance. l Munich Re, the world's biggest reinsurer, had an increased net profit for 2005 despite the impact of the devastating hurricane season in the United States which cost the company 2.3 biilion euros. l Sony announced that it was delaying the release of its keenly-awaited Playstation 3 games console until the autumn. The problem was said to be the disk drive which uses Sony's Blu-ray technology.