Leaders, past and present, of many countries assembled in Berlin to take part in commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1998. Armistice Day ceremonies on 11 November were particularly well-attended in Britain and in Paris President Sarkozy was joined by Chancellor Merkel of Germany in laying a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe.

In what appeared to be a last-minute intervention, the US Ambassador to Afghanistan warned President Obama in a classified communication that a surge of US troops would not necessarily be helpful in an unstable situation. The warning was leaked to two leading newspapers just as the President was leaving on a ten-day visit to Asia.

In Britain, prime minister Gordon Brown was criticised for his bad writing and carelessness in a letter to the mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan; she showed the letter to the Sun newspaper and recorded and released Mr Brown's follow-up phone call of apology.

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