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Katherine Baldwin

Opposition wins seat in blow to UK’s Brown

Britain's opposition Conservative Party won a mid-term parliamentary seat from the ruling Labour Party on Friday in a new blow to Prime Minister Gordon Brown's bludgeoned political fortunes. The Conservatives' win in the northern town of Crewe was the party's first gain from Labour in a mid-term election since 1978.

Brown faces political setback in northern England

Britain's opposition Conservative Party were poised on Thursday to gain a parliamentary seat in mid-term for the first time in 26 years. The by-election in the northern town of Crewe, triggered by the death of the constituency's member of Parliament, is being closely watched as an indicator of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's diminishing appeal.

Brown’s party routed in UK elections, loses London

Britain's Labour Party suffered its worst local election defeat on record and lost control of London on Friday, forcing Prime Minister Gordon Brown to rethink his strategy to avoid losing the next national poll. Conservative Boris Johnson, a journalist-turned-lawmaker prone to gaffes, wrested the prized post of London mayor from Labour's maverick Ken Livingstone.

Protesters disrupt Olympic torch relay in London

Anti-China protesters draped in Tibetan flags disrupted the Olympic torch relay through London on Sunday, billed as a journey of harmony and peace. Scores of Chinese officials in blue suits and British police on foot and bicycles guarded the celebrities and athletes carrying the torch, but demonstrators repeatedly broke through their security cordon.

Gordon Brown pledges more public-service reform

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised a new drive to transform the health service and schools on Monday, but again failed to stamp out speculation he may call an early general election. He was to lay out his plans for "a fairer, stronger Britain" in his first speech as leader to the ruling Labour Party's annual conference later on Monday.

Stars rock climate change concerts around the world

Many of the world's biggest pop stars performed at Live Earth concerts around the globe on Saturday to try to persuade fans and governments to go green. Tens of thousands of people poured into venues in Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai and Hamburg to hear Linkin Park, Rihanna, Shakira, Kumi Koda and others, while former United States vice-president Al Gore appealed for action on climate change.

Britain’s Brown shakes up government

New British Prime Minister Gordon Brown named a rising star and reported critic of the Iraq war, David Miliband, as Foreign Minister on Thursday in a wide-ranging government shake-up. The jobs given to other Brown allies underlined the priorities of his policy agenda.

Zambian leader challenges West over investment

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa challenged the West to match Chinese investment in his country on Tuesday, saying Western countries had let Zambia down. Mwanawasa said Zambia would carry on welcoming Chinese investment, credit and loans despite domestic political opposition and unease in the West.

Brown’s left-wing challengers join forces

The two potential challengers to Gordon Brown for the Labour Party leadership decided on Monday to join forces in a bid to ensure there is a contest to succeed Prime Minister Tony Blair. Left-wing Labour MP Michael Meacher agreed to stand aside in favour of fellow left-winger John McDonnell after both struggled to get the 45 nominations necessary to make it on to the ballot.

Blair’s party in struggle for power in Scotland

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's party was locked in a struggle for power in Scotland with a pro-independence party on Friday and suffered losses in local elections in England. Blair, whose popularity has slumped due to the Iraq war and a series of political scandals, is expected to announce next week he will leave office by July.

Britain’s Blair faces last electoral test

Prime Minister Tony Blair faced the final electoral test of his decade in power on Thursday, a vote that could set Scotland on course for a referendum on independence from Britain. Blair's Labour Party is expected to suffer heavy losses in the elections to local councils, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly because of discontent over the Iraq war.

Blair vows to support Iraq, aid workers seized

British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged on Sunday to support Iraq's government as it battles instability underscored when gunmen carried out a mass kidnapping at a Red Crescent office in the capital. Just before Blair landed in Baghdad for an unannounced visit, police said 10 to 20 people were seized from the Red Crescent's Baghdad office but the aid agency said more were snatched.

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