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US Senate to Vote on Financial Rescue Plan


WORLD ECONOMY: The U.S. Senate will vote tonight on a revised version of a 700-billion-dollar government rescue plan for the U.S. financial system the House of Representatives rejected Monday. The plan is expected to include a provision to raise the limit on government insurance for bank deposits from the current figure of 100-thousand dollars to 250-thousand dollars. The plan also includes a number of tax breaks for individuals and businesses, including tax credits for the production and use of alternative energy sources, including solar and wind.

WORLD MARKETS: Asian and European markets have made gains in today's trading sessions, as investors grow more hopeful that U.S. lawmakers will approve a massive rescue plan for the U.S. financial sector.Japan's benchmark Nikkei index gained 108 points to finish the day's trading at 11-thousand-368. Share prices also finished higher in Sydney, Taipei and Wellington. Many other Asian markets are closed for national holidays. The key indexes in London, Paris and Frankfurt are higher in early morning trading. Oil prices are also surging in today's sessions.

NOKOR - NUCLEAR: U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill is in North Korea in a bid to rescue a stalled international nuclear disarmament deal.Before leaving South Korea today, Hill told reporters the main focus of his trip would be to convince Pyongyang to accept a plan to verify a declaration of its nuclear program. In Pyongyang, Hill will meet with his North Korean counterpart Kim Kye Kwan. Hill says he understands North Korea is reluctant to follow through with verification, but adds that the process cannot move forward without a verification agreement.

CHINA - TIBET - TORTURE: As the United Nations prepares to hold hearings on China, the Tibetan government-in-exile has submitted a report detailing alleged cases of Chinese torture against Tibetans.The report says China has violated an international torture convention through the widespread use of physical and mental torture against Tibetans as an instrument of political control.The Indian-based government-in-exile submitted the report this week to the U.N. Committee Against Torture in Geneva for consideration ahead of the hearings in early November.

CHINA - TAINTED MILK: China says inspectors have found the industrial chemical melamine in another 31 brands of domestic milk powder products.The Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine says it found the contaminated products after testing 265 products produced before September 14th. A scandal that has taken on international proportions broke last month, when Chinese-based Sanlu Group acknowledged that its baby formula products were contaminated with melamine.

PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Pakistani officials say a suspected U.S. drone (pilot-less aircraft) fired missiles at a house in northwest Pakistan, killing at least six people. Officials say foreign militants are among the dead.The incident occurred in North Waziristan, a tribal region bordering Afghanistan and a known stronghold for Taliban and al-Qaida militants.Suspected U.S. strikes into Pakistan have become a point of contention in recent weeks. Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, has called the alleged raids a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty.

EU - GEORGIA - RUSSIA: Russian troops have allowed EU monitors to enter a buffer zonearound a breakaway Georgian region despite earlier saying they would be prevented from visiting the area.More than 200 European Union peace monitors began their mission today as called for in a French-brokered cease-fire between Russia and Georgia.Tuesday, Russia said it would bar the monitors from entering the Russian-declared buffer zones around Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But reports from the area today say monitors were allowed into the area around South Ossetia after being stopped briefly at a Russian checkpoint.

RUSSIA - GORBACHEV: Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev says he is forming a new pro-democracy political party with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.Lebedev said Tuesday the new party is tentatively called the Independent Democratic Party.He said the party will press for less Kremlin control over the economy along with an independent media, judicial reform, and a stronger parliament.Lebedev said Mr. Gorbachev gave Russians their freedom, but he said they have not learned to use it.Mr. Gorbachev has not yet commented.He was the last leader of the Soviet Union before it broke up in 1991.

SPAIN - CHILD PORN: Spanish officials say they have arrested 121 people and seized equipment containing millions of images in the nation's largest-ever operation against child pornography. In a statement today Spanish law enforcement officials say more than 800 police officers conducted raids on 210 households to take down the porn network. The officials say they enlisted the help of officials in Brazil to help squash the ring, which distributed child porn to some 75 different countries.The officials say two of those arrested produced their own porn and their victims included members of their own families.

EID AL-FITR: Many Muslims around the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.Muslims begin Eid al-Fitr with a special dawn prayer and a small meal to symbolically break their month-long fast. In mainly Muslim countries, the streets outside neighborhood mosques are typically filled with people praying together as the sun rises.This year, the three-day holiday coincides with Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.The start of the Eid depends on the sighting of the crescent moon.

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