In an unprecedented move US President Obama sent a letter to Iraq's leading Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, asking him to use his influence to persuade Iraq's political leaders to reach agreement on forming a coalition government before US combat troops leave the country at the end of August. The close result of the election held in March has led to a deadlock between leading parties.

Moscow's death rate doubled as smoke and debris from the fires in western Russia reached the capital. Muscovites used face masks or stayed indoors as their city was enveloped in a smog-like atmosphere.
Floods in Pakistan killed at least 1'600 people and displaced or otherwise affected some 14 million people. Mud slides in north western China killed more than 1'000 people as the worst rains for a decade hit 28 Chinese provinces and regions. Elaine Kagan was sworn in as a US Supreme Court judge, the fourth woman to serve in the Court which now consists of six Catholic and three Jewish judges.

There were calls for an inquest to be held on the death of British government scientist David Kelly who was involved in the Iraq “weapons of mass destruction” controversy in 2003. Following a police finding that he committed suicide no inquest was held.

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