In a stunning electoral reversal, the Massachusetts US Senate seat held for almost 50 years by the late Ted Kennedy was won by an almost unknown Republican, Scott Brown, despite the last minute intervention by President Obama on behalf of the Democrat candidate.
Chile elected a conservative president for the first time in 50 years.
Sebastian Pinera, a wealthy businessman, narrowly defeated Eduardo Frei, leader of the centre-left alliance that had ruled Chile for the past two decades.
At Britain's Iraq War inquiry, the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw claimed that he had held a virtual veto over British participation in the war but had decided despite misgivings to support prime minister Blair's policy.
The US Supreme Court ruled that restrictions on the amount of money that corporations can spend on supporting political parties were illegal. The Republicans welcomed the decision; Democrats deplored it.