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Phone-hacking: The other news you might have missed

Clockwise from left: Independence celebrations in South Sudan, Belfast riots, a synthetic windpipe and Prince

While many people have been gripped by the twists and turns of the phone-hacking scandal, which has dominated the media for the past fortnight, some may feel other stories have not been given the prominence they should.

With drought threatening the lives of millions in east Africa and European leaders scrambling to prevent economic catastrophe, other stories have been given plenty of column inches.

But there has also been other news which on another day in silly season may have made more of a splash. So what might you have missed out on?

For a start, there was the birth of the world's newest nation, South Sudan - captured in pictures by the Financial Times. Its independence was recognised by the UN after decades of conflict with the north.

Image caption Some people were switched off by blanket coverage of the hacking scandal

Elections in Thailand set up Yingluck Shinawatra to become the country's first female prime minister. The sister of exiled former PM, Thaksin, she moved quickly to cement her position by reaching a coalition agreement, as the Guardian reported.

Times were tougher for another political leader, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. He - as CNN reported - went to Cuba for cancer treatment for the second time in a month.

Back in the UK, when the government wasn't getting hot under the collar about News International it was tying up several bits of business before Parliament's summer recess.

The Daily Mail summed up the latest step in David Cameron's long-heralded Big Society reforms - a white paper proposing private and voluntary organisations be given the chance to run almost every part of public service.

Education Secretary Michael Gove told the Commons he would not reinstate 58 school rebuilding projects which the High Court said he scrapped unlawfully, while ministers were planning to save £1.5bn by tweaking private finance initiative contracts.

Image caption Job losses at train maker Bombardier led to fears its Derby plant would close

After the prime minister announced he would reduce the number of UK armed forces personnel in Afghanistan to 9,000 by September 2012, MPs on the Defence Select Committee warned that speeding up troop withdrawals could risk lives, as the Independent noted.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror reported how Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced plans to cut 17,000 personnel from the Army and plough extra funding into the Territorials.

Mr Fox also ruled on the future of several defence bases, as the Daily Telegraph reported, while plans to build two new aircraft carriers were questioned by the National Audit Office.

Unemployment falls

There was mixed news on the job front, with 1,400 redundancies at Derby trainmaker Bombardier, as the Guardian reported.

Statistics then showed unemployment falling, despite the number of people claiming jobless benefits going up. The Telegraph explained how.

While the Met police were criticised for shortcomings in the phone-hacking investigation, officers in Belfast suffered physical attacks during marching season riots, as the Express reported.

Image caption Appeal Court judges reversed a ruling against protesters who tried to shut a coal power plant

And the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions of 20 protesters who tried to shut down the UK's second largest power station.

In entertainment news, even the most ignorant of Muggles among us found it hard to ignore the launch of the latest - and final - Harry Potter film.

But you may have missed Prince earning strong reviews in the Telegraph for headlining his first UK festival, the Hop Farm in Kent, or news that US soap Dallas is to be revived, as the Metro reports.

Meanwhile, the Oxford Mail reported how the city's Bodleian Library paid almost £1m for a manuscript of an unfinished Jane Austen novel.

It has been a good fortnight for discoveries.

An Indianapolis man received a 53-year-old love letter that mysteriously surfaced at a university in Pennsylvania, reported ABC, while the Telegraph reported India's claims to finding the world's largest uranium reserve.

Bomb blasts

The British Antarctic Survey plotted a chain of huge undersea volcanoes, according to National Geographic, and the Telegraph reported how a healthy population of snow leopards was found in Afghanistan.

And there was another British success when scientists at University College London created an artificial windpipe for the world's first synthetic organ transplant in Sweden.

Image caption Nineteen people died and dozens were injured by bomb blasts in Mumbai

Further afield, it has been an unhappy period for Afghan President Hamid Karzai,. His half-brother and key aide was assassinated, while Mumbai was once again rocked by bomb blasts, as the Mail reported.

An international outcry may have erupted last year after nine Turkish activists were killed as Israeli commandos boarded a Gaza-bound aid ship.

But news that another aid ship had been intercepted, reported this week by the Guardian, struggled for coverage on the day Rupert Murdoch was hit with a shaving foam "pie".

At times it may have seemed there was no escaping the hacking scandal, but one recent news story gives hope to anyone hoping to flee blanket news coverage in future.

According to the Daily Mail, flying cars could be regularly in use in Britain within five years.