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The Week so Far

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1. Middle East

Oil prices fluctuated wildly on 23 August as fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Muammar al-Gaddafi continued. Rebels entered Tripoli on 21 August and quickly captured large parts of the city. The country's oil production has mostly been on hold during the civil war.

2. Latin America

Supporters of Hugo Chávez shaved their heads on 21 August in a televised show of solidarity with the Venezuelan president, who has been undergoing chemotherapy. Chávez said that he is free of cancer, crediting Jesus and Fidel Castro for his recovery.

3. Europe

Supermarkets in Switzerland negotiated further price cuts with suppliers in an attempt to stem the rising Swiss franc, which has sent shoppers across the borders to France and Germany. Some retailers have already made reductions of up to 20 per cent on food, drinks and household goods.

4. Asia

The prime minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, reportedly told politicians on 23 August that he expects his successor to be appointed in seven days. Criticism over his leadership following the country's tsunami and nuclear disaster is forcing the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan to step down after less than two years in office.

5. North America

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, walked free from a New York court on 23 August after a judge dismissed all criminal sexual assault charges against him. Polls suggest that 25 per cent of the French population still supports him. Members of the Socialist Party said that a return to politics for the former presidential candidate "could be envisaged".

6. Africa

Police in Nigeria freed the kidnapped father of the Chelsea FC footballer Mikel John Obi on 22 August. The abductors had held Michael Obi captive for ten days in the northern city of Kano, demanding a ransom of ten million naira (£39,400).

7. Human rights

Amnesty International accused Bahraini authorities on 22 August of making a "complete U-turn" in their decision to try two female civilian activists in a military court. The women have already been detained for several months for taking part in pro-reform protests.

8. Health

Figures released by the UK Department of Health show that the number of patients waiting six months for NHS treatment has increased by 61 per cent during the past year. In the same period, the number of those waiting over four hours to receive medical care at A&E has almost doubled.

9. Space

The James Webb Space Telescope will launch in 2018 at a revised cost of $8.7bn, Nasa announced. Widely regarded as the successor to Hubble, it has a mirror 6.5 metres wide and a sun shield the size of a tennis court.

10. Science

Cancer Research scientists have discovered how thiostrepton, a molecule first discovered in bacteria, blocks a protein that causes breast cancer to develop and spread. The finding could pave the way for improved drugs.

This article appears in the 29 August 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Gold