Disastrous floods in Pakistan left some three million people homeless and thousands dead. The loss of farmland, livestock, roads, homes and supplies of food and clean water was incalculable. Criticism was directed at President Asif Zardari for visiting Europe rather than directing rescue operations at home.

South Africa's former chief of police, Jackie Seleba, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for taking bribes. It was the first conviction for corruption of a senior official since the African National Congress took office in 1994.

In a referendum Kenya's public strongly endorsed constitutional and other reforms designed to avoid the racial violence that took the country to the brink of civil war in 2007.

Italy's premier Silvio Berlusconi lost his majority in parliament when his coalition partner Gianfranco Fini walked away with his followers after Berlusconi accused him of “creating a party within a party”. The media described Berlusconi as “a dead man walking”.

President Obama said that the withdrawal of 50'000 US troops from Iraq at the end of August was “as promised and on schedule” and delivered the pledges he made after being elected.

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