US President Barack Obama unveiled his long-awaited decision on increasing troop levels in Afghanistan and on the complementary strategy of training Afghan troops to a standard that will enable them to take responsibility for their country's security. Mr Obama also mentioned mid-2011 as a possible starting date for an American withdrawal.

In a referendum Swiss voters showed a preference for a ban on new minarets on Muslim mosques. The anti-immigration Swiss People's Party had called for the referendum to be held and campaigned strongly for the ban.

Five British sailors were detained by Iranian security forces when their yacht drifted into Iranian waters; however, they were released unconditionally after seven days.

Rwanda was accepted into the Commonwealth, joining Mozambique and Namibia as the only countries in the 54-nation club not to have had a former colonial relationship with Britain.

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