Pakistan fell further into the grip of religious extremists when Salmaan Taseer was shot by his bodyguard in the most high-profile political assassination since the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007. The Punjab governor was killed for condemning a blasphemy law used to persecute minorities and settle scores. Revelations in 250,000 classified US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks spawned diplomatic crises and shocking revelations across the world, including allegations of dirty tricks by the US drug firm Pfizer and espionage by Shell in Nigeria; Rahul Gandhi in India saying Hindu fundamentalists were a bigger threat than militant Islamists, and fears about the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons. The International Criminal Court indicted some of Kenya's most powerful men over the post-election violence that saw 1,500 people killed. An area the size of France and Germany in Queensland was inundated in Australia's worst floods in half a century. Reprinted by permission of Carfax Publishing, Taylor & Francis Ltd.
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