Amidst international controversy Ali al-Megrahi was freed fom his 27-year prison sentence by the Scottish Justice minister. Megrahi, who had been convicted of planting the bomb that downed a Pan Am flight over Scotland in 1988, was released on compassionate grounds as he is suffering from terminal cancer.

Truck bombs and rockets hit a large part of central Bagdad, causing 100 deaths and 500 injured. The Foreign Office was almost totally destroyed and other government buildings badly damaged.

Kim Dae-Jung, a former president of South Korea, died aged 85. Under his “sunshine policy” successful attempts were made to engage with North Korea in a number of areas; a delegation from North Korea attended the funeral.

Japan's parliamentary election campaign began with expectations that the polls on 30 August may bring defeat to the Liberal Democrat Party after 50 years of almost continuous office.


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