IN Iran, Abbar Hashermi Rafsanjani, a leading cleric and former president, used a Friday prayer meeting to declare the Iran republic “in crisis” and to call for the release of protestors who marched against the outcome of the recent presidential election. Some reports suggested that Rafsanjani and Hossein Mousavi, the man millions believe won the election, may form an alliance against Mahmoud Ahdadinejad who is due to be sworn-in as president early in August.

Twice in one week President Obama told black audiences not to blame others for their problems. The first was in Ghana where he warned against attributing today's problems to colonial misrule; the second was in New York where he told a 100th anniversary meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) that young African Americans should aim higher than basketball and rap.

The newly elected European Parliament voted for the right-wing former Polish prime minister, Jerzy Bouzek, as its president; he will step down after 30 months in favour of a left-wing candidate for the post.

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