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European Markets Follow Downward Trend in Asia, US


WORLD ECONOMY: European and Asian markets are slumping today as the latest sell-off on Wall Street is adding to investors' fears of a severe global recession. Europe's key markets in London, Frankfurt and France were down more than five percent at the start of their trading sessions, hours after the worst loss in two decades for Japan's Nikkei index. The Nikkei plunged more than 11-percent, on another day of steep losses for Asian markets. Share prices in South Korea were nearly 10 percent lower , while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost nearly five percent at the close.

ASEAN - CRISIS FUND: The World Bank says it will help Asian nations deal with the global financial crisis, but has ruled out the immediate possibility of setting up an emergency fund to help the region. In a statement Wednesday, the World Bank's East Asia and Pacific regional vice president, Jim Adams, said the bank did not expect to create such a fund, and urged Asian economies to be prepared to handle any effects of the financial turmoil. He said the bank was working with members of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to develop a coordinated response to the crisis.

US POLITICS: Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama clashed over campaign tactics and the economic crisis in their third and final U.S. presidential debate. U.S. financial troubles dominated the start of the 90-minute debate Wednesday night (at Hofstra University) in New York. McCain took an aggressive approach as he tries to come back with Obama leading in opinion polls. The Republican senator from Arizona accused Obama of waging "class warfare" with his proposals to increase taxes on wealthier Americans. He also rejected Obama's attempts to link him to the unpopular incumbent president, saying "I am not President (George) Bush."

US - VOTER FRAUD: A U.S. federal appeals court has ordered Ohio's top elections official to establish a system to verify thousands of newly registered voters by Friday. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner must use government records to check for voter registration fraud. The court also ordered Brunner to make the information available to Ohio's 88 county (local) election boards. Ohio's Republican Party chairman (Bob Bennett) had accused Brunner, a Democrat, of concealing fraudulent voter registrations in the key battleground state.

THAILAND - CAMBODIA: Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to joint patrols along disputed stretches of their border after two Cambodian soldiers were killed Wednesday in a firefight. Following a meeting today between the two sides, Thailand's northeastern army commander Lieutenant General Wiboonsak Neeparn said the patrols were being introduced to avoid similar incidents in the future. On Wednesday, two Cambodian soldiers were killed and at least 10 soldiers from both sides were wounded during the brief clash. It was not immediately clear what would be done to help secure the release of 10 Thai troops who are reportedly being held in Cambodia.

INDIA - US NUCLEAR: U.S. officials have announced the largest-ever civil nuclear trade mission to India, a week after the United States lifted its 34-year ban on such trade with India. U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez says the mission is aimed at exploring business opportunities in India's clean energy market. Gutierrez made the comments Wednesday during a U.S.-India Business Council summit. The Council, representing 280 of the largest U.S. companies investing in India, will lead the delegation there in December.

TURKEY - KURDS: Turkey's military says five Turkish soldiers and five Kurdish rebels have been killed in clashes near the country's southeastern border with Iraq and Iran. The military says four soldiers were killed late Wednesday when rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, opened fire on them in the province of Hakkari. A statement today from the Turkish military says another soldier was killed and 15 others injured when a helicopter crashed near the fighting. It says five Kurdish rebels were killed in separate clashes near the Iraqi border.

Listen to our World News for details.

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