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Unesco vote on Palestine membership gets angry response from US Link to video: Unesco vote on Palestine membership gets angry response from US The United States has cut off funds to Unesco as a punitive action after the Palestinian Authority was accepted into the UN agency as a full member in defiance of American, Israeli and European pressure. The overwhelming backing for the Palestinians' bid to join the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation was a huge boost for their campaign for international recognition of an independent state, and a blow to Israel and the US, who had opposed the move. Members voted by 107 votes to 14 to accept Palestine as a full member state to loud cheers from delegates in Paris.
Caroline Macfarlane and Vanessa Nicholas, from Toronto's OCAD University, gave a bright face-lift to an abandoned Raleigh as a work of art, and part of the Good Bike Project.
Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy had sries of talks with Silvio Berlusconi over Italy's national debt. Photograph: Jesco Denzel/AFP The eurozone's two biggest powers, Germany and France, on Sunday launched an unprecedented attack on Italy to stop the rot by taking far more radical measures to reform its economy and get its debts under control. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel , and Nicolas Sarkozy , the French president, held a series of face-to-face talks with the Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi – who was then subjected to a roasting at the hands of other European leaders who are worried that the EU as a whole is on the verge of another deep-rooted recession.
Congress needs to agree a deal to reduce the US budget deficit by at least $1.2tn by 23 November. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA The United States will probably suffer the loss of its triple-A credit rating from another rating agency by the end of this year because of concerns over the deficit, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is forecasting. The trigger would be a likely failure by Congress to agree on a credible long-term plan to cut the deficit. A second downgrade – either from Moody's or Fitch – would follow Standard & Poor's downgrade in August and represent an additional blow to the sluggish US economy, Merrill said. "The credit rating agencies have strongly suggested that further rating cuts are likely if Congress does not come up with a credible long-run plan to cut the deficit," Merrill's North American economist, Ethan Harris, said.
Hamid Karzai's controversial remarks during a TV interview came hours after US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's visit to the region. Photograph: Reuters The US reacted with dismay on Sunday after the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai , said that he would side with Pakistan in the event of any war with America.
Protesters outside the Greek parliament in Athens. Photograph: Yiorgos Karahalis/Reuters Kizbot, a frequent and eloquent commentator on Comment is Free, lives in Athens and writes in with her view of the crisis – and its consequences for her neighbours: I don't have to go far to see how deep the cuts have bitten into the lives of all Greeks. My next-door neighbours, Maria and Antonis, are a couple in their mid 30s.
A week before Tunisians vote in their country's historic general election, protesters gathered to demand free speech Link to video: Tunisian election 2011: protesters demand freedom of speech Along the main street of the desolate, rural town where Tunisia 's revolution started, passersby watched from the pavement as a new kind of demonstration filed past. First came a slow-moving truck carrying a group of 10-year-old boys waving religious banners, shouting: "God is great!" Then a crowd of 100 to 200 people chanting: "Your god has been insulted, come out and defend him!"
Tens of thousands demonstrate outside the Greek parliament building in Athens Link to video: Greece austerity plan draws thousands of protesters onto streets Greece 's great economic crisis turned into a massive showdown between the little man on the street and lawmakers in Athens's 300-seat parliament when tens of thousands of protesters marched on parliament in a day marked by fury, defiance and ultimately violence. A demonstration that will be remembered as one of the biggest in modern times – with around 100,000 Greeks taking to the streets ahead of a crucial vote on stinging austerity – ended in ferocious street fighting on Wednesday after riot police fired teargas into the crowd and youths responded with a volley of rocks and petrol bombs. A heavy security operation by a government that appears increasingly under siege did little to stop protesters pushing their way up to the great marble steps of the parliament building itself.
In his speech to the Conservative party conference this month, David Cameron looked back with Tory nostalgia to the days of empire: "Britannia didn't rule the waves with armbands on," he pointed out, suggesting that the shadow of health and safety did not hover over Britain's imperial operations when the British were building "a great nation". He urged the nation to revive the spirit that had once allowed Britain to find a new role after the empire's collapse. Tony Blair had a similar vision. "I value and honour our history enormously," he said in a speech in 1997, but he thought that Britain's empire should be the cause of "neither apology nor hand-wringing"; it should be used to further the country's global influence.
Clashes in the West Bank during the prisoner exchange. Link to video: Clashes in West Bank as prisoner exchange continues He came home to flowers, flags and a euphoria tinged with shock at his fragility; free at last but inevitably scarred by his 1,940 days of captivity. The boy soldier, whose abduction by Hamas militants in June 2006 had turned him into a symbol of national unity, was at the end of his ordeal, but only the beginning of a long period of difficult readjustment and rehabilitation.
Saudi riot police gather before a Shia demonstration in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, this year. Photograph: Str/AP
Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's federal minister of finance, has dampened hopes of a swift resolution to the eurozone crisis. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images Moody's, the ratings agency, issued a warning to France last night that it could face the loss of its coveted status as one of the world's most creditworthy nations after saying the euro debt crisis and slowing world economy left the country's AAA rating under pressure. It said that while the French economy remained able to absorb normal shocks, "the government's financial strength has weakened, as it has for other euro area sovereigns, because the global financial and economic crisis." The warning will come as a shock to many in France and is likely to unnerve markets already anxious at the prospect of the euro debt crisis spreading to the US and Asia.
Occupy George dollar bill. Where are the protests around the world? "951 cities in 82 countries" has become the standard definition of the scale of the Occupy protests around the world this weekend, following on from the Occupy Wall Street and Madrid demonstrations that have shaped public debate in the past month. We wanted to list exactly where protests have taken place as part of the Occupy movement - and see exactly what is happening where around the globe. With your help, adding events in our form below, we've been able to show 750 Occupy events world wide.
In Madrid, tens of thousands thronged the Puerta del Sol square shouting "Hands up! This is a robbery!" In Santiago, 25,000 Chileans processed through the city, pausing outside the presidential palace to hurl insults at the country's billionaire president. In Frankfurt, more than 5,000 people massed outside the European Central Bank, in scenes echoed in 50 towns and cities across Germany, from Berlin to Stuttgart. Sixty thousand people gathered in Barcelona, 100 in Manila, 3,000 in Auckland, 200 in Kuala Lumpur, 1,000 in Tel Aviv, 4,000 in London. A month to the day after 1,000 people first turned up in Wall Street to express their outrage at corporate greed and social inequality, campaigners are reflecting on a weekend that saw a relatively modest demonstration in New York swell into a truly global howl of protest .
A light, taunting shower of rain fell in Funafuti recently. It lasted minutes, with the slightest film of moisture quickly burned away by the bright sun, dashing the hopes of this crowded, parched atoll. Funafuti and the other eight tiny islands that comprise the Pacific nation of Tuvalu , home to slightly more than 10,000 people, have not seen substantial rainfall since last November. The government, which declared a state of emergency at the end of last month, says the dry spell is unlikely to break until January.