US ECONOMY: U.S. financial markets are waking up to a major reorganization that provides another sign of a deepening crisis. U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers announced early today (Monday) that it will file for bankruptcy. The news came shortly after word that Merrill Lynch had agreed to sell itself to Bank of America for some 50 billion dollars. Experts say the deal will make the nation's prime lender even bigger. Lehman was once the fourth-largest investment bank in the United States, but bad investments in real estate and other areas brought a drastic fall in the value of Lehman shares recently.
ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders have signed a landmark power-sharing deal in an attempt to end months of political turmoil and a deep economic crisis. After signing the agreement today (Monday), Mr. Mugabe and his longtime rival, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, shook hands in the capital, Harare. Under the deal, Mr. Mugabe will remain president and Mr. Tsvangirai will be prime minister. Arthur Mutambara, the leader of a smaller opposition group, will be the deputy prime minister.
NIGERIA UNREST: A spokesman for the Nigerian military said today (Monday) militants attacked a Royal Dutch Shell oil flow station -- in the third day of fighting between rebels and security forces in the Niger Delta region. Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa said the attack damaged a flow station in Rivers state. The main militant group in Niger's oil-rich southern region, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), declared an "oil war" Sunday. MENDsaid it has begun a "hurricane" of attacks on oil facilities in Rivers state and urged oil companies to pull out their workers.
MALAYSIA POL: Malaysian cabinet minister Zaid Ibrahim, who is responsible for legal affairs, resigned today (Monday) after the opposition criticized the arrests of three people under the country's internal security law. Zaid has said that the security law should be used only against those who pose a threat to national security, such as terrorists. It is not clear whether Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had accepted the resignation. On Saturday, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim condemned the government's detention Friday of an opposition politician, a blogger and a newspaper reporter. The three were detained under Malaysia's strict Internal Security Act (ISA) which allows holding people indefinitely without trial.
THAILAND POL: Thailand's ruling People Power Party has nominated Somchai Wongsawat for prime minister, to replace Samak Sundaravej, who was removed by the courts in an ethics case last week. A party spokesman said the selection of Mr. Somchai, who is the current acting prime minister, will be submitted to party members for endorsement today (Monday) before a parliamentary vote expected on Wednesday. It is unclear how Mr. Somchai's appointment will be received by street protesters aligned with the opposition People's Alliance for Democracy, who remain camped outside the government building in Bangkok. They say they will stay for as long as the ruling PPP is in power.