Robert Byrd, the longest serving Senator in US history, died at the age of 92.

The FBI arrested ten alleged members of a Russian spy ring who were living as ordinary US citizens. Their paymaster escaped to Cyprus where he was given bail on a US extradition warrant and disappeared. The timing of the arrests so soon after President Obama's talks with President Medvedev of Russia caused comment.

The East African Community for free movement of labour, money and services was founded on 1 July. Its members are Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The declining status of Chancellor Merkel in Germany was demonstrated when her nomination for German President, Christian Wulff, needed three rounds of voting before he was elected.

Supporters of stricter gun laws in the United States suffered a setback when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that city and state legislation could not be used to control possession of hand guns.

China and Taiwan signed a wide-ranging trade deal that is expected to have political benefits in improving relations between the two countries.

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