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Asian Markets Rise on News of Buffett-Goldman Sachs Investment


WORLD ECONOMY: Asian financial markets are trading higher today on news that prominent U.S. investor Warren Buffett is investing heavily in a major Wall Street firm. Markets in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Sydney all showed modest gains.Buffett, one of the richest men in the United States, announced Tuesday that his Berkshire Hathaway investment firm would buy five-billion dollars of shares in Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs. The investment is a major boost for an institution battered by the current meltdown of the U.S financial sector.

US ECON - PROBE: The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched a probe of the four U.S. financial institutions at the center of the crisis on Wall Street.News reports Tuesday say the FBI is investigating potential fraud by mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, insurer American International Group (AIG), and investment bank Lehman Brothers. The inquiries are focused on the institutions and their executives, and are part of a wide-ranging fraud investigation by the FBI. The agency now has a total of 26 investigations related to the near-collapse of the U.S. financial sector.

UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Afghan President Hamid Karzai is to address the United Nations General Assembly today, on the second day of the U.N.'s annual week-long debate in New York.President Karzai is expected to discuss the increasingly deadly U.S.-led war on al-Qaida-linked militants in his country. On the sidelines of the General Assembly Tuesday, Mr. Karzai said (at a meeting of the Asia Society) he supported the idea of forming a joint military task force with the United Sates and Pakistan to secure both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border.

JAPAN - POLITICS: Lawmakers in Japan's lower house of parliament have confirmed Taro Aso as the country's new prime minister.The 68-year-old veteran politician was approved today to succeed Yasuo Fukuda, who quit abruptly earlier this month. Mr. Aso was elected leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in a landslide on Monday. The upper house of parliament backed Ichiro Ozawa, leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which controls the upper house for the prime minister's post. But the decision of the lower house, which is dominated by the LDP, carries the day under Japan's constitution.

CHINA - MILK: China has promised to fundamentally reform its quality control measures after several countries banned Chinese dairy products because of fears of tainted milk that has sickened thousands of children across China.Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told a gathering in New York on Tuesday that inspection standards for Chinese food products and other exports will be strengthened. Mr. Wen said they will be brought in line with international standards, as well as the needs of importing countries. China vowed Monday to stop milk tainted with the harmful chemical melamine from reaching export markets.

NOKOR NUCLEAR: The U.N. nuclear agency says North Korea plans to reintroduce nuclear material into its partially dismantled Yongbyon reactor.A spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Geneva says officials from the isolated regime have informed the agency that its scientists will refill the reactor within a week.The spokeswoman says the IAEA's inspectors will no longer have access to the Yongbyon plant. She says the agency's seals on the plant have been removed, and its surveillance equipment has been dismantled.

US - BURMA: U.S. first lady Laura Bush has urged China, India and countries neighboring Burma to push its military leaders to respect the rights of the Burmese people.Mrs. Bush made the comment after she and President George Bush met Tuesday with pro-democracy and human rights activists on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly in New York.One of the dissidents who participated was a Buddhist monk (Kovita) who went into exile after last year's pro-democracy protests in Burma.

PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Pakistan's military says it is investigating an incident involving an unmanned spy plane that was recovered from a tribal region bordering Afghanistan.Army spokesman Major Murad Khan said today that inspection of the suspected U.S. drone indicates the aircraft was not shot down. He said the drone was flying along the Pakistan-Afghan border late Tuesday when it crashed because of technical reasons. Khan said the wreckage fell on Pakistani territory, and that the military does not believe the drone's activity violated Pakistani airspace.

SOMALIA: Witnesses in Somalia say at least 13 people have died in heavy fighting between Somali insurgents and African Union forces in the capital, Mogadishu.Witnesses say many of the casualties resulted from stray mortar shells that landed in residential neighborhoods late Tuesday.They say African Union forces responded to the insurgents with tanks and some of the heaviest weaponry used in the nearly two-year-old battle for control of the capital.The AU troops are in Somalia to help the Ethiopian-backed government gain control.

Listen to our World News for details.

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