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Ministry: Coalition Air Strike Kills 9 Afghan Soldiers


AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan's Defense Ministry says international troops have mistakenly killed nine Afghan soldiers and wounded three others in an air strike in the east of the country. Ministry officials say the strike hit an army checkpoint in Khost early today. The ministry condemned the attack, warning it could weaken the moral of Afghan security forces. An American military statement says U.S.-led coalition forces were returning from an operation when they were involved in fighting that may have killed and injured Afghan soldiers.

IRAQ: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is warning of dramatic consequences if an accord governing the future U.S. troop presence in Iraq is not reached. Gates told reporters on Tuesday that time is running out for the approval of a Status of Forces Agreement. He said if there is no deal, U.S. troops would have to, in his words, "stop doing anything" when the United Nations authorization expires at the end of the year. U.S. troops still provide much of the security for the Iraqi people.

INDIA - MOON MISSION: India has successfully launched its first unmanned mission to the moon. Indian officials say the Chandrayaan-One spacecraft blasted off from a launch pad in Sriharikota near the southeastern city of Chennai early today. The head of the Indian Space Research Organization called the launch the start of a "remarkable journey." He told reporters the mission is so far going according to plan, as scientists applauded the televised liftoff. Indian officials say the Chandrayaan-One's two-year mission is to provide a detailed map not only of the moon's surface, but also what lies beneath.

WORLD ECONOMY: Asian stocks plunged today on investor fears that weak corporate earnings could still bring on a global recession. Tokyo's Nikkei index tumbled nearly seven percent while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong and the Kospi index in Seoul both closed down more than five percent. Sydney fell more than three percent and key European indexes also opened lower. Today's Asian losses came after Tuesday's sharp drop in U.S. markets. Meanwhile, the White House says President George Bush has no plans for a second economic stimulus package, despite suggestions one could stop the country from sliding into a prolonged slowdown.

JAPAN - TOYOTA: Japanese news reports say Toyota Motor Corporation is expected to suffer its first decline in annual global sales in a decade this year. The world's second biggest automaker is expected to sell about eight-point-three million vehicles this year, down from eight-point-four million units in 2007. Combined with affiliated companies Daihatsu Motor Company and Hino Motors, Toyota is expected to sell about nine-point-three million vehicles in 2008, short of its 2007 mark of nine-point-five million units. The new figures show the effect the global financial downturn is having on the auto industry as a whole.

CHINA - UN - PRODUCT SAFETY: The United Nations is calling on China to create a unified system of ensuring the safety of its food products, in the wake of a tainted-milk scandal that has taken on global implications. The U.N.'s World Health Organization released a report today urging Beijing to set up a single regulatory agency that controls the safety of food products from the farm to the table. The report says China's oversight of food products is split between numerous agencies and their tasks complicated by numerous laws and regulations.

NORTH - SOUTH KOREA: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak says North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is still running the isolated state, despite concerns raised in Seoul about the dictator's health. In an interview with French newspaper "Le Figaro," Mr. Lee says he does not believe there have been any changes in North Korea because of Mr. Kim's health. South Korean intelligence sources have speculated Mr. Kim suffered a stroke in August, after he failed to appear in public for more than one month. North Korea released still photographs of the communist leader last week, including one of him inspecting a military unit.

US POLITICS: New polls indicate that U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is widening his lead over Republican candidate John McCain, while voters say the failing economy is the top issue on their minds. A CNN poll averaging the results of six different surveys put Obama's lead at seven points Tuesday, while a Pew Research Center survey gauged support for Obama at 52 percent to McCain's 38 percent. Analysts said the results seem to be based on a loss of confidence in McCain and concerns about the nation's economic problems.

Listen to our World News for details.

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