WORLD ECONOMY: The U.S. government has agreed to provide an 85 billion dollar emergency loan to
rescue the world's biggest insurance firm, American International Group
(AIG).The Federal Reserve Board authorized the loan late Tuesday,
with the support of the Treasury Department. The Fed said it determined a
"disorderly failure" of AIG could add to "already significant" levels of
fragility in financial markets.AIG was on the verge of collapse due to
major losses in the housing crisis. Earlier this week, the mortgage and credit
crisis led a major U.S. investment bank, Lehman Brothers, to file for
YEMEN - BLASTS: A car bomb explosion outside the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, has killed at least 16 people, including six attackers.U.S. Embassy Spokesman Ryan Gliha said several other explosions occurred after the car bomb blast today.Police have cordoned off the area. Officials say six Yemeni soldiers were among the dead.Witnesses also say they heard gunfire near the embassy after the explosions.In recent years, Islamic extremists have carried out several attacks in Yemen targeting Americans.Last April, the U.S. State Department ordered non-essential staff to leave Yemen, following a militant attack on a residential compound and an al-Qaida attack targeting the U.S. embassy.
NIGERIA - UNREST: Nigeria's most prominent militant group says it has teamed up with a new ally to destroy an oil flow station operated by the Shell petroleum company in the country's south.The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, says it attacked the station in Rivers state today with help from the Niger Delta Volunteer Force.The militants' attack on Shell's Orubiri oil flow station was the third in two days.The MEND says that on Tuesday it blew up another major oil pipeline belonging to Royal Dutch Shell, and an oil platform owned by Chevron.
CHINA - MILK: China's health minister says the death toll from drinking tainted milk has risen
to three babies and more than six-thousand others have fallen ill.Chen
Zhu told reporters today that of the six-thousand-244 babies
that were sickened, 158 are suffering from acute kidney failure.The
babies got sick after consuming milk powder contaminated with the industrial
chemical melamine.Authorities say inspectors have found melamine in milk
powder produced by 22 Chinese companies.Police have arrested four people
suspected of adding melamine to milk they sold to an infant formula company.
THAILAND - POLITICS: The brother-in-law of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been elected as the country's new premier.The speaker of Thailand's parliament (Chai Chidchob) announced the election of Somchai Wongsawat today. He was elected by a vote of 298 to 163. Mr. Somchai, who is married to Mr. Thaksin's sister, is a deputy leader in the ruling People Power Party coalition. Mr. Somchai has been serving as acting prime minister since last week, after Samak Sundaravej was forced to resign after the Constitutional Court ruled he violated the law for hosting a television cooking show while in office.
MALAYSIA - POLITICS: A small Malaysian political party has announced its decision to leave the ruling coalition, in a blow to the embattled government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Sabah Progressive Party president Yong Teck Lee today said his party will become independent, but stopped short of saying it would join the opposition coalition.Opposition leader and former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim is trying to rally lawmakers from the ruling coalition to defect and topple Mr. Abdullah's government.The Sabah Progressive party only has two lawmakers and Anwar needs at least 30 legislators from the ruling coalition to defect if he wants to control a majority in parliament.
ISRAEL - POLITICS: Israel's ruling Kadima party is holding its first round of voting today to select a new leader to replace outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.Mr. Olmert is under investigation for alleged corruption and has promised to resign immediately after his party's election. He denies any wrongdoing.Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev says Mr. Olmert will continue peace talks with the Palestinians as long he remains prime minister. After resigning, Mr. Olmert could serve as a caretaker prime minister for weeks or months until a new government is formed.
PAKISTAN: The U.S. military chief has held talks with top Pakistani officials in an effort to ease tensions over U.S. missile strikes on Pakistani territory.The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, met Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and General Ashfaq Kayani separately today in Islamabad. Mullen arrived in Pakistan Tuesday, after Pakistan's military warned that its troops would fire back at future cross-border incursions.The U.S. military has carried out missile strikes on suspected militant targets in Pakistan's tribal regions, saying Taliban and al-Qaida-linked fighters based there are launching attacks on troops in neighboring Afghanistan.
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