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European Markets Continue Asia's Slump


WORLD ECONOMY: The U.S. government's planned 700 billion-dollar bailout of the country's financial industry has so far failed to reassure global investors.European markets were lower in midday trading today, while Asian stocks closed mostly lower. Investors in Hong Kong and Australia echoed the concerns of their American counterparts -- that the proposed U.S financial rescue plan will not be enough to revive the world's biggest economy. Japan's markets are closed for a holiday.

UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY: U.S. President George Bush will discuss the U.S. economic crisis in his final address to the United Nations today.White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters Monday the president will tell world leaders in New York the administration is taking "bold, aggressive, decisive action" to bolster the U.S. financial markets, which have been rocked by a handful of failures and government bailouts of key institutions. Mr. Bush is negotiating with congressional lawmakers over a 700 billion-dollar rescue plan for the U.S. financial sector.

FINLAND SCHOOL SHOOTING: Authorities in Finland say nine people are dead after a gunman opened fire at a vocational school today.The shooting took place in the western town of Kauhajoki, more than 300 kilometers northwest of the capital of Helsinki. Authorities believe several other people have been wounded. Authorities now say the gunman was wounded after turning the gun on himself. Earlier reports said the suspect, who may have been a student, had committed suicide.

PAKISTAN VIOLENCE: Pakistan's military says its soldiers have killed some 60 suspected militants in two days of fighting in the northwest part of the country.Officials say more than 50 insurgents and one soldier were killed in the fighting outside Peshawar Monday.In a separate incident, security officials said Pakistani soldiers killed at least 10 suspected militants today in the Bajur area near the Afghan border.Officials said the battle was part of the continuing military offensive against suspected al-Qaida-linked militants in the region.

US - PAK - AFGHAN: America's top military officer, Admiral Michael Mullen, says the most serious threat for the next U.S. president will come from the increasingly violent border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday that the United States needs to focus its resources there in order to pressure al-Qaida's leadership, which is suspected to be based in the region.The Pakistani government has criticized a series of suspected U.S. missile strikes and a ground attack against militant targets on Pakistan's side of the border.

BURMA: Burma's military leaders have released journalist Win Tin, the country's longest-serving political prisoner, after he spent 19 years in prison.Shortly after his release today from Insein Prison in (the main city of) Rangoon,the ailing 78-year old told a group of reporters and others that he would continue his fight until the emergence of democracy in Burma.Win Tin was arrested in 1989 and sentenced to 20 years in jail for allegedly writing anti-government propaganda.His release comes as Burma also announced today the release of nine thousand and two prisoners for good behavior.

US - CHINA RELIGION: A recent U.S. State Department report found that religious freedom in Asia is worsening, especially in China.The 2008 Report on International Religious Freedom criticizes Beijing for repression in Tibet following the protests in March, with hundreds of arrests and jail sentences, and monks expelled from monasteries.The report also condemns frequent arrests and imprisonment of the Islamic Uighur population of Xinjiang for possessing unauthorized religious texts or participating in religious activities.

NOKOR NUCLEAR: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is set to hold talks this week with members of the six-party talks on North Korean denuclearization, after Pyongyang's latest announcement about restarting a partially-disabled nuclear reactor.Rice has already held talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan and is slated to meet with her Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

SAF POLITICS: An African National Congress spokesman says South Africa's Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has resigned. Her resignation announced today follows the announcement that South African President Thabo Mbeki has agreed to resign from office, after the ruling ANC issued a call for him to do so. Reports from South Africa say the ANC will name deputy party chief Kgalema Motlanthe as the country's caretaker leader to replace Mr. Mbeki.

Listen to our World News for details.

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