*Mr David Cameron was declared the winner over Mr David Davis of the Conservative Party leadership contest: he put his first questions to the prime minister in the House of Commons, formed his Shadow Cabinet, outlined his priorities and set up several task forces to look into policy issues and make recommendations. Mr Tony Blair was preoccupied with brokering an agreement among the 25 member states of the European Union on its next budget; Britain's presidency ends on 31 December, to be followed by Austria and then Finland.
*US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited several countries and Nato HQ in Europe but she was dogged by allegations of secret CIA flights in Europe carrying suspected terrorists and the possible use of torture to get information from them. She issued a long statement clarifying US policy on the treatment of suspects but her critics in Europe and the United States thought it begged more questions than it answered. At the UN conference on global warming in Montreal ended successfully after the chief US negotiator walked out but later relented and agreed that America would participate in follow-up talks on controlling harmful carbon emissions.
*In the final round of Egypt's general election candidates linked to the Muslim Brotherhood obtained 90 seats, a sixfold increase but still a small minoirty in the parliament's 454 seats, most of which were won by government supporters. In Venezuela backers of president Hugo Chavez won all 167 seats in the National Assembly after opposition parties boycotterd the election because of the government's control of the electoral authority; Sr Chavez will now be able to amend the constitution to enable him to serve further terms. A Moscow city council election was overwhelmingly won by United Russia, President Putin's favoured party.
*China placed an order worth US$10 billion with the European consortium Airbus for 150 of its A320-series aircraft. In the United States Ford announced a plan to sack as many as 30'000 factory workers in North America over a ten-year period in an effort to stave off bankruptcy. Ford's North American operation made losses of $2.2 billion in the first nine months of 2005 but its European division remains profitable. General Motors revealed a similar economy plan in November affecting plants in Mexico as well as North America.
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