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Asian Stock Soar on News of US Bailouts


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 international markets.

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 office.
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 percentage points.
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 levels.

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