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US Senate Passes Financial Rescue Bill


WORLD ECONOMY: U.S. President George Bush is urging lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives to follow the Senate and pass a revised version of a massive government rescue plan for the U.S. financial system. The Senate passed the 700-billion-dollar plan late Wednesday by a vote of 74 to 25. Both presidential candidates -- Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain -- returned to Washington from the campaign trail to vote for the measure. The bill grants the money to the U.S. Treasury to buy up bad mortgages held by banks and other financial institutions.

ASIA MARKETS: Major Asian stock markets closed mixed today. Tokyo's Nikkei index dropped 214 points, nearly two percent, to finish at 11-thousand-155. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 195 points, just over one percent, to end the day's trading at 18-thousand-211. Share prices were higher in Bangkok, Manila, Singapore, and Wellington, but lower in Seoul, Sydney and Taipei. Markets were closed in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai and Shanghai for various national holidays. In currency trading, the dollar was selling at 105-point-52 yen, down point-20 yen from Wednesday.

IRAQ: Iraqi police say bomb attacks targeting two Shi'ite mosques in Baghdad have killed at least 16 people and wounded 30 others. The attacks took place today as worshipers celebrated the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Officials say a car bomber attacked a mosque in the Zafaraniyah district, while a suicide bomber in another part of Baghdad blew himself up at a separate mosque. In Diyala province, security officials say at least four people were killed when gunmen opened fire on a minibus.

NOKOR NUCLEAR: Officials in South Korea say U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill will extend his visit to North Korea for at least a third day as he tries to revive a stalled deal for dismantling North Korea's nuclear program. Hill conducted a second day of talks with his North Korean counterpart Kim Kye Kwan today in Pyongyang. North Korea accuses Washington of reneging on a commitment to remove Pyongyang from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism after North Korea made a declaration of its nuclear holdings in June.

US - INDIA NUCLEAR: The U.S. Senate has approved a landmark agreement to end a 34-year ban on U.S. civilian nuclear trade with India. Senators approved the agreement late Wednesday with a vote of 86-13. The House of Representatives passed the measure Saturday. President George Bush welcomed the Senate's approval of the deal, saying he looks forward to signing it into law. Mr. Bush said the legislation will strengthen U.S. global nuclear non-proliferation efforts, protect the environment, create jobs and assist India in meeting its growing energy needs.

CHINA - TAINTED MILK: Chinese milk products tainted with an industrial chemical have now been discovered in Taiwan and the United States. Taiwanese Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan says low doses of melamine have been found in milk products produced in the northeastern Chinese province of Heilongjiang. The items were sold by a Chinese subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestle Corporation. Meanwhile, authorities in the northeastern U.S. state of Connecticut say a popular Chinese candy contaminated with melamine was found in stores in three cities. The candy has also been discovered in California.

US POLITICS: Democratic Senator Joe Biden and Republican Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska face off tonight in theonly debate between the two vice presidential candidates. The economic situation is expected to figure prominently in the debate in St. Louis, Missouri, and much attention also will be focused on Palin -- a relative newcomer to the national political stage. Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain's pick of Palin as his running mate has energized social conservatives within their party, but critics question whether she is experienced enough to be vice president.

GERMANY - RUSSIA: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are meeting in St. Petersburg for talks on the recent crisis in Georgia and other issues. Today's talks come one day after the European Union began deploying civilian monitors in Georgia in accordance with a French-brokered peace deal. The conflict in Georgia could add tension to what has been a strong relationship between Germany and Russia. Chancellor Merkel had been critical of Russia's incursion into Georgia in August, but she also pressed to keep the lines of communication open with Moscow.

ISRAEL - PALESTINIANS: An Israeli military commander in charge of the West Bank has told an Israeli newspaper that Jewish settlers in the territory have increased attacks against Palestinians and Israeli forces. In an interview with Ha'aretz newspaper published today,Major General Gadi Shamni called the rise in settler violence a "very grave phenomenon." Shamni said the majority of the 300-thousand settlers in the West Bank act "normally." He attributed the violence to a few hundred activists. The presence of Jewish settlers in Palestinian territories has been a major obstacle to the two sides reaching a peace agreement.

Listen to our World News for details.

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