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The Week so Far

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1. Middle East

Muammar al-Gaddafi sent Libyan representatives to China in July to negotiate with the country's arms manufacturers. Beijing made a statement on 5 September insisting that no deal had come about, following a report in the Canadian Globe and Mail that Chinese companies had offered weapons and ammunition worth £124m to the regime.

2. Africa

The famine in Somalia has spread to the Bay region, the sixth area affected so far. Over 750,000 people are at risk of starvation over the next four months, the UN announced on 5 September. Tens of thousands - over half of them children - have already died of acute malnutrition in the Horn of Africa and an estimated 12.4 million are affected.

3. North America

Dozens of wildfires in Texas, covering over 100,000 acres, have engulfed more than 1,000 homes since 4 September. More than 5,000 residents have been forced to evacuate their homes in the rain-starved state, where fires have scorched 3.5 million acres since December. The drought is the worst in Texas since the 1950s.

4. South America

All 21 passengers on a Chilean military plane died when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean near the Juan Fernández islands on 2 September. Among those killed was a television crew that had been planning to report from the islands on their reconstruction following the tsunami that struck the region last year.

5. Asia

Food prices in China continued to rise in the first week of September. The cost of pork, a Chinese dietary staple, hit a record of 26.22 yuan (£2.50) per kilogram. The figures, released by the Chinese ministry of commerce, suggest that Beijing's efforts to dampen inflation are flagging.

6. Europe

Transport and businesses were shut down across Italy on 6 September as millions of workers went on general strike. Unions have deemed the government's €45.5bn (£40bn) austerity package "irresponsible".

7. Media

Tom Crone, former legal manager of the News of the World, told MPs on 6 September that he was "certain" he had informed James Murdoch of an email implicating reporters other than Clive Goodman in phone-hacking at the newspaper. "It was the reason that we had to settle the case" against them, he said.

8. Religion

Sa Pobla, a town on the island of Majorca, banned women from wearing burqas or Islamic veils in public on 5 September. The mayor said it was an issue of safety, not religious discrimination.

9. Technology

The mobile-phone signals of fleeing populations can help relief agencies set up aid in the right places, researchers have found. Linus Bengtsson's team was able to suggest sites of new cholera outbreaks during an epidemic in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

10. Science

Scientists found links between genes and post-traumatic stress disorder after examining students who were at Northern Illinois University during the 2008 shooting in which five were killed. Symptoms were more common in those with variations in a gene that regulates serotonin.

This article appears in the 12 September 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Cameron vs the shires