In Britain, George Osborne presented his “emergency Budget” with measures including a rise in VAT to 20 per cent and a freeze in child benefits, He said his aim was to balance Britain's books by the next election in five years time. The respected Institute for Fiscal Studies said Osborne's claim that his Budget was “progressive” was “debatable”.

US President Obama relieved General Stanley McChrystal of his command of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan after an article in Rolling Stone magazine revealed that the General and his senior staff were openly critical of the President and members of his administration.

In Jamaica the alleged drug dealer Christopher Coke was arrested while driving to the US Embassy where he was wanted for extradiction to the United States on drugs charges. Earlier efforts by the Jamaican army and police to apprehend Coke in Kingston led to the deaths of 73 civilians.

Kevin Rudd, until recently a popular prime minister of Australia, was outsted by his own party and replaced by his deputy Julia Gillard who was thought more likely to win an election later this year. Gillard, born in Wales, is Australia's first woman premier.

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