EXACTLY two weeks after the London bombings of July 7, four individuals tried unsuccessfully to detonate bombs on the London Underground and a bus, bringing parts of London to a standstill again.

The police issued pictures of the four men and asked for public help in identifying and catching them. In a separate incident at Stockwell underground station a suspected terrorist of Asian appearanace was chased by armed undercover police and shot dead on the floor of a train in front of terrified pasengers. In Pakistan several suspected insurgents were arrested and President Musharraf made a television appearance to stress the importance of controlling religious schools and other organisations which condoned and even encouraged violence in the name of Islam. However, the Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations said that Britain should not “externalise” its search for blame, adding “Britain is now a breeding ground for terrorists too.” The House of Commons held an exercise in responding to a terrorist attack but only 30 of 646 MPs took part. The British government held discussions with opposition parties on new legislation against planning or glorifying terrorism. Although the police and security services stressed the urgent need for such legislation the House of Commons started its summer recess which will last until mid-September at the earliest.

In Iraq the killing continued. The organisation Iraq Body Count said that 24'865 Iraqi civilians had been killed during the two years of war and insurgency that began in March 2003; more than one-third had died as a result of action by allied forces. The credentials of those responsible for the figures were attacked but a previous estimate published in The Lancet put the total killed at over 100'000. There are no official figures.

In Spain eleven volunteer firemen died in a fire that destroyed 30'000 acres of pine forest in Guadalajara. General Westmoreland, who led American forces in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968, died aged 91. Mr John Snow, the US treasury secretary, told the US Senate that China would revalue its currency in August; on July 21 China revalued its currency by just over 2 per cent, much less than the 10 per cent appreciation for which the United States had hoped.


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