US LENDERS: Asian stock markets soared today (Monday) on news that the U.S. government had seized two large companies that finance much of the troubled American housing market.
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index was up more than three percent, while
markets in Seoul and Taipei jumped over five percent. Markets in
Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong also surged.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Sunday. The companies will have more access to government funds, and the chief executives will be replaced.
Paulson said the two companies are so large and interwoven in the U.S.
economy that their failure would cause great turmoil in domestic and
PAKISTAN VIOLENCE: Pakistani security officials say suspected U.S. drones on Monday
attacked a Taliban stronghold in the troubled northwest region, killing
11 people and wounding at least 15 others.
Security officials say the suspected drones fired missiles at a house
and nearby seminary run by Taliban commander Jalauddin Haqqani.
The United States has not confirmed the strikes.
The attack took place in the tribal town of Miran Shah in North Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan.
U.S. intelligence official say Pakistani militants in the tribal areas
have joined with al-Qaida in plotting attacks against U.S. and allied
troops in Afghanistan.
HONG KONG ELECTION: Hong Kong's pro-democracy parties have retained control of more than one-third of legislative seats in Sunday's election.
Election results announced this (Monday) morning indicate
that pro-democracy candidates won 23 seats in Hong Kong's 60-seat
Legislative Council. That is two seats fewer than they won in 2004, but
more than was expected in the run up to the poll.
Nineteen of the winning anti-establishment candidates were directly
elected, while four others were chosen by special interest groups (functional constituencies).
Hong Kong's public broadcaster says pro-government and pro-Beijing candidates now hold 37 legislative seats.
THAILAND POLITICS: Thailand's prime minister appeared in court today on charges of
conflict of interest for hosting television cooking shows while in
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej told the Constitutional Court in
Bangkok that he had been hired to do the shows, but was not an employee
of the producers. It is illegal under the Thai constitution for a Prime
Minister to work for a private company.
The court will hand down its ruling on Tuesday. If convicted, Mr. Samak must resign his office.
The hearing came as thousands of protesters surrounded Government House
in the capital of Bangkok for the 14th day, vowing not to leave until
the prime minister resigns.
US-POLITICS: A new U.S. public opinion poll shows Republican presidential candidate
John McCain leading his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, by four
The USA Today-Gallup poll says McCain leads Obama by 50 percent to 46
percent among registered voters. The poll shows McCain got a boost from
last week's Republican Party convention and the selection of Alaska
Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.
On CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday, Senator McCain described himself as
a force for change within the Republican Party by taking on big
spenders and supporting campaign finance reform. McCain says if he is
elected he would bring in Democrats and independents at the highest