The World

10 ESSENTIAL STORIES

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1 | Australia

Election Deadlock Ends

More than two weeks after Australia's election resulted in the country's first hung parliament in 70 years, the center-left Labor Party secured another three-year term when two remaining independent lawmakers announced their support. But with just 76 of 150 seats in the lower house of parliament--the conservative Liberal-National coalition has 74--Prime Minister Julia Gillard's government will most likely have a difficult time passing legislation. Even maintaining control is a potential challenge for Labor, as the defection of just a single lawmaker would break its hold on power. Gillard (above) became Australia's first female Prime Minister in June after ousting former Labor PM Kevin Rudd in the midst of intense opposition to his tax on mining companies, which are key players in the country's economy.

2 | London

BP Spreads The Blame

Following a four-month investigation, BP released a report Sept. 8 that tried to divert blame from itself to other companies--including contractors like Transocean--for the April 20 explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon rig, killing 11 people and resulting in the worst oil spill in U.S. history. A team of investigators cited "a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgments" and "engineering design" as the ultimate cause of the accident. The team compiled 25 recommendations to prevent any such occurrences in the future, including better pressure testing and re-evaluation of emergency systems.

3 | Beijing

Help from Big Brother

On a four-day visit to China, General Than Shwe, leader of Burma's military junta, won valuable symbolic support from his country's biggest ally. Beijing officials publicly endorsed the pariah state's upcoming November elections, which have been viewed by many in the international community as likely to be rigged in favor of Burma's army elites.

4 | North Korea

An Heir Apparent

North Korea's apparatchiks were expected to meet at what appears to be the isolated state's most important conclave in years, at which Kim Jong Un, youngest son of ailing dictator Kim Jong Il, may be anointed the future leader. All the while, conditions on the ground remain dire: Pyongyang had to exchange a seized South Korean fishing boat for $8 million in food and aid from its southern neighbor.

5 | Guatemala

Landslides Kill Dozens

Fearing fresh avalanches of mud, Guatemalan officials called off the search for those still missing after the heaviest rainfall in 60 years flooded the country, causing at least 45 deaths and some 200 mudslides and land collapses. Some of the victims were the rescuers themselves, buried alive as they attempted to dig out those trapped by an earlier mudslide that swallowed a bus and five other vehicles on a major highway. The torrential rains also affected some 600,000 people in Mexico.

6 | France

RETIREMENT RIGHTS

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