The World Trade Organisation ruled as illegal China's restrictions on the export of metal ores and other materials used in high-tech products. The ruling affects the so-called rare-earth materials of which China has one-third of world supplies. The United States and the European Union had joined in the appeal to the World Trade Organisation; China said it did not accept the ruling.

Two bomb explosions in a town near Baghdad killed 40 people and revived speculation on whether the Iraq governmnet will ask for some US forces to remain in Iraq after their agreed final departure date at the end of this year. l With the debt default deadline of 2 August drawing nearer US President Obama held talks with the Congressional Republican leader John Boehner but without any reported result.

The 2008 Winter Olympics were awarded to Pyeongchang in South Korea, only the second time that an Asian city has been chosen for the winter games.

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