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The results of the Iraq parliamentary election continued to trickle through slowly, at one time putting the incumbent prime minister Nuri al-Maliki slightly ahead and at another giving a slender lead to his predecessor Iyed Allawi. The radical Shia cleric Muqtade al-Sadr is thought to be in third place.Even when the results are called it is expected that weeks or months of coalition will follow.

Negotiations between the Greek government and other members of the eurozone continued with a view to providing some form of financial assistance to Greece to enable it to survive its severe economic crisis. However the prospect that similar assistance might be needed by Ireland, Portugal or Spain led to warnings from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel that provision might have to be made for exclusion from the zone of countries which did not follow its rules.

The South African prime minister Zuma visited Zimbabwe for three days in a bid to revive the power-sharing agreement that was forged by his predecessor President Mbeki but has been honoured more in the breach than the observance. Robert Mugabe continues to hold most power while prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai is often side-lined. Mr Zuma will have had to tell Mugabe that his recent efforts to persuade European nations to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe had not met with any success.