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The Week so Far

1. Media

On 2 August Stuart Kuttner, former managing editor of the News of the World, was arrested by Metropolitan Police officers investigating phone-hacking and allegations of police bribery at the now-defunct tabloid newspaper. Kuttner was reportedly unaware he was going to be taken into custody on arriving as arranged for questioning in north London. He was later released on bail.

2. North America

Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman shot in the head by Jared Lee Loughner in January, was applauded by both sides of the House when she returned to Congress on 1 August to take part in the vote on the US debt ceiling. The Democrat said she was "deeply disappointed" by goings-on in Washington leading to the $2.4trn spending cut bill.

3. Latin America

Mexican police captured José Antonio Acosta Hernández, a drug gang chief who reputedly ordered the killing of 1,500 people. A former policeman, "El Diego" was involved in kidnap and extortion, and led a gang of contract killers for the Juárez cartel.

4. Europe

The bodies of 25 African migrants were found in the hold of a boat bound to Italy from Libya. The victims, all young men, died of asphyxiation from engine exhaust fumes. Italian coastguard officials boarding the 15-metre boat discovered 296 people, including women and children, packed inside.

5. Middle East

Government military forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, entered the central city of Hama on 31 July and continued their crackdown on civilians. Tanks and armed troops killed ten people on Monday 1 August, the first day of the Muslim holy festival Ramadan.

6. Charity

Over 2,000 UK charities face forced closure of services because of slashed local authority funding, the campaign group False Economy reported. Children's charities are the worst affected.

7. Finance

Barclays posted a sharp drop in profits of 33 per cent to £2.64bn in the six months to 30 June. The decline was ascribed partly to a £1bn payout to settle claims of missold payment protection insurance (PPI).

8. Technology

Foxconn, the largest electronics manufacturer in the world, which assembles products for Apple, Nokia and Sony, announced that it will replace factory workers with a million robots. Last year, under industry pressure, Foxconn raised factory wages by 70 per cent following a spate of suicides by its Chinese workers.

9. Health

Scientists have discovered that a chemical derived from bear bile could help treat victims of heart attacks. Synthesised ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is already used in managing cholesterol, but new studies demonstrate its ability to prevent arrhythmia by affecting the electrical properties of non-beating heart cells.

10. Environment

Global warming has caused the shrinkage of three Himalayan glaciers over the past 40 years, say Japanese researchers. Two glaciers in Nepal are expected to disappear in the near future.

This article appears in the 08 August 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Slum rule