THE WORLD THIS WEEK
The fighting between Colonel Muammar Qaddafi's forces and those rebelling against him moved to and fro along the coast road between the oil town of Brega and Benghazi, the rebels' capital in the east. The Americans handed control of the anti-Qaddafi coalition to NATO, which continued its assault on the LIBYAN government's ground forces from the air.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh of YEMEN struggled to stay in charge in the face of growing demonstrations in the capital and unrest across a divided country. In a policy shift, meanwhile, the American administration signalled that it would like Mr Saleh to be eased out of office, despite fears that al-Qaeda might fill the vacuum if he departed.
RICHARD GOLDSTONE, a South African judge who headed a UN inquiry into Israel's three-week war on Gaza two years ago, recanted a key finding of his original report. He says that he now believes Israel did not intentionally target civilians "as a matter of policy".
The palace compound of COTE D'IVOIRE'S Laurent Gbagbo, in Abidjan, was surrounded by UN and French troops. He was defeated in a presidential election in November but has refused to step down. Forces loyal to the election winner, Alassane Ouattara, have conquered the rest of the country. Hundreds of people have been killed in the past fortnight.
Radioactive water from JAPAN'S stricken nuclear power plant seeped into the sea around Fukushima. The leak was sealed on April 6th as engineers were forced to dump 11,500 tonnes of less contaminated water into the ocean to make room for fresh coolant. Japan acknowledged that South Korea and China were not adequately consulted about the situation.
CHINA'S government detained Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist and dissident, for "economic crimes" after preventing him from boarding a flight bound for Hong Kong. His whereabouts had been unknown for days. A state newspaper chided Mr Ai for being a political "maverick".
KAZAKHSTAN re-elected Nursultan Nazarbayev as its president with 95.5% of the vote. Mr Nazarbayev is popular among his countrymen but the near-perfect result is an embarrassment for the foreign governments that applauded him for calling the election. Even an opposition candidate voted for him.
Two suicide-bombers in PAKISTAN'S Punjab province blew themselves up near a Sufi shrine, killing at least 50 people and injuring 100.
Thousands of AFGHANS protested about the actions of Christian bigots in Florida who had burned a Koran on March 20th. Seven foreign UN staff and guards were killed in Mazar-i-Sharif, while a dozen people died in clashes with police in Kandahar.
To no one's surprise, BARACK OBAMA announced that he is to seek re-election as president in 2012. In his opening message, he called for a big push on fund-raising, and some analysts reckon he might raise as much as $1 billion, shattering all records. Only one serious Republican candidate has so far entered the race for that party's nomination.
Guido Westerwelle resigned as leader of GERMANY'S Free Democratic Party, a junior coalition member, and as federal vice-chancellor, following the party's poor performances at recent state elections. Philipp Rosler, the 38-year-old health minister, of Vietnamese origin, will replace him in both roles, although Mr Westerwelle wants to stay as foreign minister, a position in which he has attracted much criticism.
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, SPAIN'S unpopular prime minister, said that he would not stand for a third term at a general election due by early 2012. The ruling Socialist Party is expected to hold primaries to elect Mr Zapatero's successor as party leader after local elections on May 22nd.
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