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Global Investor Panic Hits European, Asian Markets


WORLD ECONOMY: Fears of a global recession have sent markets in Europe and Asia plummeting today, extending the massive sell-off that began Thursday on Wall Street. The main indexes in London, Paris and Frankfurt were all down 10 percent at the start of today's trading sessions. The fall off in Europe comes after Asian stock markets dropped across the board, with Japan's Nikkei index closing with a loss of nearly 10 percent, its biggest one day loss since 1987. Shares on Philippine and Australian markets both closed more than eight percent lower.

US POLITICS: U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain again turned their attention to the economy Thursday as they campaigned in crucial states with less than a month to go before the election. Addressing supporters at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, Senator Obama blamed the economic crisis on "greed and irresponsibility" on Wall Street and predicted that recovery will be a long process. In a statement posted on his web site, the Democratic Party nominee also called on the U.S. Treasury Department to move quickly to implement the 700-billion-dollar rescue plan for financial markets.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: The prestigious Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari for his work negotiating peaceful solutions to conflicts from Namibia to Kosovo. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said Mr. Ahtisaari's efforts over more than 30 years have contributed to a more peaceful world. The committee says the 71-year old played a "significant part in the establishment of Namibia's independence" in 1990. Mr. Ahtisaari told a Norwegian broadcaster today that he considered his efforts in the southern African nation his most important work.

THAILAND - PROTESTS: Leaders of Thailand's anti-government protesters have surrendered to police on charges related to their long campaign to force the government out of office. The seven leaders turned themselves in today at a Bangkok police station, one day after Thailand's Appeals Court dismissed treason charges against them and two other leaders who had previously been detained. The court also dismissed charges of conspiracy to incite treason and disobeying police orders to disperse. The treason charges carried a maximum life prison sentence.

NOKOR - NUCLEAR: South Korea says the United States and North Korea may be close to a compromise aimed at saving the faltering deal over ending Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. News reports in the U.S. and Japan late Thursday said the Bush administration may be ready to provisionally remove the North from a terrorism list, in exchange for the isolated regime agreeing to submit to a process to verify its nuclear activities. South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan told reporters in Seoul today the compromise could be announced in the near future.

NATO - AFGHANISTAN: NATO has agreed to grant a U.S. request to allow direct attacks against Afghanistan's drug trade. A spokesman for the alliance, announced the deal today. He said it will allow international troops to work with Afghan forces to act against drug facilities that help fund the Taliban insurgency. He said any action will need the approval of all involved nations. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had called on a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Budapest to increase funding to target drug traffickers and laboratories to interrupt the flow of money to the Taliban.

TURKEY - KURDS: Turkey's military says it launched air strikes in northern Iraq against Kurdish rebels who were trying to cross the border. A military spokesman said today that the rebels were detected while trying to sneak into Turkey, and that most of them were killed. Turkish officials had been considering new actions against Kurdish rebels following two recent attacks on security forces. Earlier this week, Turkish lawmakers approved extending a mandate for the military to continue operations in northern Iraq for another year.

ZIMBABWE: Officials in Zimbabwe report the nation's annual inflation rate rose to a record 231 million percent in July. The state-run "Herald" newspaper reported Thursday that Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office said higher food prices are the primary cause of the growth in inflation. The high food prices are coupled with a food shortage. The U.N. World Food Program reported Thursday that nearly half the population of Zimbabwe will need food aid by early next year. The high rate of inflation is also putting seeds, fertilizer and farming equipment out of reach of many Zimbabweans.

DALAI LAMA - HEALTH: The Dalai Lama underwent a successful surgery in India today to remove gallstones. A spokesman for the Tibetan spiritual leader said he expects him to be released from the hospital in a day or two. The 73-year-old Dalai Lama was admitted to a hospital in New Delhi Thursday for what aides described as routine tests. The Nobel laureate received a routine follow-up medical examination earlier this week. Doctors found nothing wrong and cleared him to resume foreign travel. He was supposed to return home Thursday.

Listen to World News for details.

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