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/ 28 May 2008

Olmert coalition ally demands he step aside

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak called on Wednesday for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to step aside over corruption allegations or face a collapse of his coalition that would disrupt peace talks with the Palestinians. This came a day after an American businessman told a court how he handed Olmert envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash.

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/ 5 May 2008

Brown seeks to quell revolt after elections

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is looking to make popular concessions in a bid to win back support for his beleaguered Labour government after its drubbing in last week’s local elections. Labour ministers and backbenchers continued to voice support for the prime minister despite the worst local election results for the party in 40 years.

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/ 1 May 2008

Gordon Brown faces first electoral test

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, his popularity plunging and his reputation for economic competence under fire, faced his first electoral test on Thursday since taking over from Tony Blair in June. The local council seats up for grabs in England and Wales, alongside a high-profile clash to pick the next mayor of London, were last contested in 2004.

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/ 7 April 2008

Mugabe plays on land issue to boost support

White-owned farms are again under siege in Zimbabwe, but while critics deride Robert Mugabe’s land-reform programme as shambolic and economically fatal, it could yet help him cling to power. President Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF is playing on the emotive issues of land and race to try to discredit rival Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of a possible run-off.

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/ 6 March 2008

Tippling ministers sometimes trip on UK budget day

To deliver the longest British budget speech of all time, William Gladstone imbibed a throat-soothing mixture of sherry and beaten egg to help him through a marathon that lasted four hours and 45 minutes. enjamin Disraeli reached for brandy and water to deliver the shortest budget — he took just 45 minutes to plot the path for the nation’s finances.

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/ 12 February 2008

Tears, dances as Aborigines make history

Aborigines playing didgeridoos and smeared with white body paint overturned hundreds of years of British tradition in Australia on Tuesday by taking part in the official opening of the nation’s new parliamentary session. The ceremony came a day before Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivers an historic apology to Aborigines for past policies.

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/ 6 February 2008

Aussie rugby shocked at funding withdrawal

The cash-strapped Australian Rugby Union said on Wednesday it was shocked at a government decision to scrap funding for a national rugby academy in Queensland state. Former prime minister John Howard committed Aus-million to the project last June but the new Labour government of Kevin Rudd said it was now being axed under a cost-cutting programme.

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/ 28 November 2007

New Aussie PM arrives in Canberra

Australia’s Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd arrived in the nation’s capital on Wednesday to choose his new Cabinet, aides said, as outgoing John Howard and his vanquished team cleared out their desks. Rudd (50) stormed to power in a landslide election victory on Saturday that wiped out Howard’s conservative government after almost 12 years in office.

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/ 8 October 2007

Brown takes the blame for election row

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday said he took ”full responsibility” for the decision not to call an early election, but rejected claims he had run scared from a possible defeat. Brown told an often rowdy news conference that he had instead opted to wait and take a long-term approach before going to the polls.

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/ 7 October 2007

Brown rules out early UK vote as lead vanishes

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown ruled out an early election on Saturday in what the opposition Conservatives called a humiliating retreat after polls showed his lead over them had evaporated. Brown, who took over from Tony Blair three months ago, had allowed his Labour Party to fan speculation in recent weeks that he would hold an early election.

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/ 26 September 2007

Britain’s Brown renews snub of Mugabe

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown renewed on Wednesday a pledge to snub Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at a European Union-Africa summit in December, but vowed to help his suffering people by reiterated London’s support for the ”reconstruction” of the economically ravaged former British colony.

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/ 12 September 2007

ANC gets majority rule — in Morkel family

Thanks to floor-crossing, the African National Congress (ANC) has at last secured a clear two-thirds majority in the Morkel family. The decisive moment came on Wednesday when the last of the Morkel brothers, Craig, joined the party. But the patriarch, former premier Gerald Morkel, has no intention of following in his sons’ footsteps.

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/ 3 September 2007

Climate, trade top Bush’s agenda at Apec summit

United States President George Bush hopes to spur momentum for a world trade pact and a global target on climate change at this week’s Asia-Pacific summit but the Iraq debate at home looms as a distraction. Bush will meet in Sydney with the leaders of Australia, China, Japan, Russia and other members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum.