Following an inconclusive general election in Britain, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats agreed to form a coalition with their leaders, David Cameron and Nick Clegg respectively, as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister; the joint administration will have a comfortable majority in the House of Commons. Both sides compromised by agreeing to modify or delay or drop some proposals in their election manifesto. In the course of negotiations lasting five days the Labour leader Gordon Brown first resigned as leader of the party and then as prime minister.

Leading eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund put together a 750 billion euro “stabilisation fund” to assist countries in difficulties and to deter speculators. The support of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the deal led almost immediately to the defeat of her coalition in an important regional election. n President Karsai of Afghanistan visited Washington and was given a warm reception by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton in contrast to the cool relations of earlier in the year. Mr Karsai was believed to be seeking support for his negotiations with some sectors of Taliban leadership.

In Thailand the predicted civil war seemed to be drawing nearer as government forces and opposition demonstrators clashed in the streets of Bangkok and deaths and injuries followed. Negotiations for the early elections called for by the opposition broke down and were abandoned.