WORLD ECONOMY: Stock prices around the world have plunged as the bankruptcy of a major U.S.
investment bank and other problems in the U.S. financial sector shook markets
for a second day.Major European stock indexes were sharply lower at
midday, while a key U.S. share index (the S-and-P 500) was down 11
points, indicating a lower opening for U.S. markets.In Asian markets,
Tokyo's Nikkei index closed down nearly five percent, while Hong Kong markets
closed down more than five percent on news of Monday's major shakeup in the U.S.
IRAQ: General Raymond Odierno has become the top U.S. commander in Iraq, replacing the
man credited with helping reduce violence in the country and overseeing the
surge of U.S. troops.Odierno replaced General David Petraeus at a
ceremony in Baghdad today presided over by U.S. Defense
Secretary Robert Gates.General Petraeus oversaw a change in U.S.
counter-insurgency strategy and the U.S. troop surge when he took command in
February 2007. He will now lead the broader U.S. central command, which includes
Afghanistan and Iraq.
IRAN - NUCLEAR: The Chinese government says increased United Nations sanctions against Iran will
not solve the stalemate regarding the country's nuclear program.U.S.
officials raised the possibility of more sanctions Monday after the
International Atomic Energy Agency accused Tehran of blocking the investigation
into its nuclear activities.Today, China's foreign
ministry representative, Jiang Yu, said dialogue between the IAEA and Iran could
resolve the issue better than sanctions.In its new report, the IAEA says
Iran continues to enrich uranium. U.N. officials say Iran has amassed one-third
of the enriched uranium it would need to make a nuclear weapon and could obtain
the rest within two years.
SRI LANKA: United Nations aid workers are withdrawing today from northern
Sri Lanka, as fighting intensifies between government troops and Tamil Tiger
rebels.Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said late Monday that
relief organizations will be allowed back in the region once the rebels are
defeated.Mr. Rajapaksa declined to give a firm timeframe, but he said
his military will soon destroy the militants. He rejected holding negotiations
with the Tamil rebels.Meanwhile today, the military
said four people received minor injuries when a bomb exploded inside a public
bus in the center of the capital, Colombo.
NIGERIA - UNREST: Militants in Nigeria's oil-rich southern region say they have destroyed a major
oil pipeline, as they carry out a stepped-up campaign against the government and
foreign oil operations. In an e-mailed statement today,
the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) claims to
have blown up a pipeline belonging to Royal Dutch Shell.In related
developments, security forces say they repelled an attack by militants on an oil
platform owned by Chevron, and officials said gunmen kidnapped a British oil
worker late Monday.
MALAYSIA POL: Malaysia's opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, says he has the support of enough
ruling coalition lawmakers to enable him to form a new administration with a
slim majority.Anwar told reporters today that more than
31 members of parliament had agreed to defect from the ruling Barisan Nasional
coalition. He did not reveal any names. Anwar told thousands of
supporters in Kuala Lumpur Monday that he wants to hold talks with Prime
Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to orchestrate a smooth transfer of power,
instead of forcing the prime minister out through parliamentary
THAILAND POL: Thailand's Supreme Court has issued a second arrest warrant for ousted prime
minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who recently fled to exile in Britain.The
court said today the warrant was issued because Mr. Thaksin
failed to appear at a hearing in one of four pending corruption cases.A
first warrant was issued after his departure in connection with a separate
case.Mr. Thaksin was deposed as prime minister in 2006 during a
bloodless coup, but remains a key figure in Thailand's politics. The
court forced his elected successor, Samak Sundaravej, to resign in an ethics
case last week.
TAIWAN - TYPHOON: Meteorologists say Sinlaku has weakened to a tropical storm after pounding
Taiwan on Monday with typhoon-strength winds and heavy rain. At least five
people are dead and several missing in Taiwan.The tropical storm is
moving at about 12-kilometers per houras it heads northeast toward
southern Japan.In mainland China, state media reports that authorities
have evacuated 460,000 people from the low-lying eastern provinces of Zhejiang
and Fujian. Xinhua says heavy rains were reported in parts of Fujian and
Zhejiang late Monday.
HURRICANE IKE: U.S. President George Bush will fly to his home state of Texas today to visit the cities of Galveston and Houston and inspect the
destruction caused by Hurricane Ike.Millions of people remain without
power three days after Ike made landfall carrying winds of 175 kilometers an
hour. Thousands of people are still in makeshift shelters, and residents are
complaining about a growing lack of food, water, gas and other supplies.
Officials in Galveston say there is a threat of a growing health
crisis.Mr. Bush has promised the federal government will do all it can
to assist the victims of Hurricane Ike.
JOLIE - PITT - ETHIOPIA: U.S. superstar couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have donated two million
dollars to help children affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in
Ethiopia.The non-profit Global Health Committee Monday announced the
donation by the Jolie-Pitt Foundation. A statement said the money will
be used to build a center for AIDS and tuberculosis-affected children in the
capital, Addis Ababa. It said the clinic will be named Zahara, after the
couple's three-year-old daughter who was adopted from Ethiopia. The clinic will
be modeled after a similar health center in Cambodia.
Listen to our World News for details.