WORLD ECONOMY: World stock markets are soaring today on news the U.S.
government is formulating a plan to rescue banks from the bad debts at the
center of the U.S. financial crisis.Tokyo's Nikkei index gained nearly
four percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index earned more than nine-and-a-half
percent. China's Shanghai index also closed more than nine percent higher, after
the government lifted a tax on purchasing shares. Shares are also
trading higher across Europe, with Russian markets reopening after being closed
two days. Trading was briefly suspended after stocks rose too sharply at the
start of today's session.
WORLD ECON SDBR: SINGAPORE: The head of American International Group's (AIG's) subsidiary in Singapore is stepping down from the troubled insurance company.A statement released today by American International Assurance (AIA) Singapore says Mark O'Dell has resigned as executive vice president and general manager, effective immediately.The statement insists O'Dell is not leaving the company because of the recent 85-billion dollar emergency loan to AIG by the U.S. Federal Reserve. AIG nearly collapsed after major losses in the current mortgage crisis.
NOKOR - NUCLEAR: North Korea says it has begun preparations to restore a disabled nuclear weapons facility and that it no longer wants to be removed from a U.S. terrorism blacklist .North Korean diplomat diplomat Hyun Hak Bong made the comment to reporters today in the border village of Panmunjom.Pyongyang had been dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear reactor as part of a six-nation nuclear disarmament deal. But in August, it suspended its work on the facility after the U.S. government decided not to remove it from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.
CHINA - MILK: China's quality watchdog says it has discovered that some milk sold to consumers
by major dairy companies is contaminated with an industrial chemical at the
center of a tainted infant formula scandal.The General Administration of
Quality Supervision said in a report
published (on its Web site) today that 10 percent of milk samples was
tainted with the chemical melamine. The samples came from three leading
companies: Mengniu Dairy, Yili Industrial Group and Bright Dairy.Two
major supermarket chains in Hong Kong pulled all liquid milk products from
Mengniu Dairy, and the authorities there have ordered a recall of dairy products
made by Yili.
JAPAN - RICE SCANDAL: Japan's agricultural minister is stepping down over a scandal involving contaminated rice that was distributed to schools and hospitals.Seiichi Ota told reporters today he has offered his resignation to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. He said the scandal was having an impact on Japanese society.The scandal broke earlier this month when rice traders admitted to importing rice tainted with mold or pesticide that was intended for industrial uses. The traders sold the rice to food makers who used it to make a variety of products, including snacks and alcohol.
IRAQ: South Korea's Defense Ministry says it will pull all its troops out of Iraq by the end of the year as planned.Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae dismissed reports today that South Korea's new government would extend the deployment to help its key ally, the United States.South Korea sent 36-hundred troops to Iraq in 2004, but has gradually scaled back to fewer than 600 personnel. The remaining troops are in the relatively safe Kurdish north.Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki says Washington has agreed to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011. But U.S. officials say plans for a withdrawal are not finalized.
AFGHANISTAN: The Australian military says its troops fired in self-defense in a gun battle in central Afghanistan that left a friend of President Hamid Karzai dead.The military said today that troops opened fire Thursday in Uruzgan province after unknown attackers shot at them. The Australian military acknowledged local police were in the area, and that a number of Afghans were killed or wounded. But it said it does not know whether Australian soldiers killed the president's friend, Rozi Khan Barekzai.Barekzai was the Chora district governor and a tribal leader. Two of his bodyguards also were killed.
INDIA - SECURITY: Indian police say they have killed two people in a gun battle in the capital,
New Delhi, in a raid for suspects linked to last week's deadly
bombings.Police say the men killed today were among five
suspected militants hiding in a house in the predominantly Muslim neighborhood
of Jamia Nagar.Senior police officer Karnail Singhsays security
forces captured one suspect, but two others escaped.Two policemen were
wounded in the shootout that lasted more than 30 minutes. Singh says
police were acting on information from a suspect arrested for last week's
coordinated bomb attacks.
HRW - VENEZUELA: Venezuela has expelled two Human Rights Watch representatives after the group released a report saying the country's human rights policies have suffered under President Hugo Chavez. Venezuela's Foreign Ministry accused Jose Miguel Vivanco, the organization's director of the Americas, and his deputy Daniel Wilkinson of attacking the country's democratic institutions and illegally interfering in Venezuela's internal affairs. Foreign Minister Nicholas Maduro said the expulsion "is a clear message to whoever intends to come here and plot from within."
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