After eight years of negotiation the European Union's Lisbon Treaty became law when the president of the Czech Republic was the last head of the EU's 27 members to sign its ratification despite his personal opposition to it.
In Britain the Conservative leader David Cameron said that there would now be no point in holding a referendum on the Treaty, as he had once proposed, but that if elected prime minister in 2010 he would work to change the UK's relationship with the EU in a number of key areas.
Michael Bloomberg was re-elected Mayor of New York for a third term affter a campaign that cost him over $100 million -- about $180 for each vote he received. In Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections were won by Republicans, reversing the presidential voting pattern of one year ago.
Mahmoud Abbas announced that he would not stand for re-election as Palestinian president next year. His decision was widely interpreted as a reaction to his disappointment with the lack of support he has received from the United States, particularly over the issue of Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.