WORLD ECONOMY: European markets are on a downward trend today, thanks to grim economic news in Britain, and following on the heels of another massive selloff in Asia. London's key index has lost more than nine percent in early morning trading, in reaction to news that the British economy had shrunk one-half of one percent in the third quarter. The bigger-than-expected drop is the first contraction in Britain in 16 years, and puts the nation on the brink of a recession. The indexes in Paris and Frankfurt are down more than seven percent in early trading.
INDONESIA - BALIL BOMBERS: Three Islamic extremists convicted of carrying out the deadly terrorist attack on Indonesia's Bali island in 2002 will be executed by firing squad in early November. A spokesman for the Indonesian attorney general's office announced the decision today in Jakarta. The spokesman did not provide an exact date for the execution. The execution of Amrozi Nurhasyim, Ali Gufron and Imam Samudra was cleared when a top Indonesia court ruled Tuesday the nation's constitution does not prohibit death by firing squad.
THAI - CAMBODIA - BORDER: The prime ministers of Thailand and Cambodia have agreed not to engage
in any more violent clashes along their disputed border region.
Cambodia's Hun Sen and his Thai counterpart Somchai Wongsawat held
talks today in Beijing on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe
leadership summit. Thai and Cambodian troops have been engaged in a
tense standoff near
the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple since mid-July. The standoff
turned deadly last week, when a gunbattle broke out suddenly near the
temple. At least two Cambodian soldiers and one Thai soldier was
CHINA - ASEM SUMMIT: The global financial crisis will dominate the bi-annual Asia-Europe meeting that began today in Beijing. Leaders of more than 40 Asian and European nations were set to discuss such issues as climate change, development and economic cooperation during their two day meeting at the Great Hall of the People. But the leaders are holding meetings on the sidelines to develop concrete steps to deal with the financial meltdown. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced an agreement earlier today to establish an 80-billion dollar emergency fund for the region.
NOKOR - RIGHTS: A United Nations envoy to North Korea has expressed concern about a
wide range of alleged human rights abuses in a report to the General
U.N. Special Rapporteur for human rights in North Korea Vitit
Muntarbhorn said Thursday in New York that there are reports of public
executions and torture in the country. He described North Korea as
having an extremely repressive and non-democratic political system.
The envoy said North Koreans enjoy little in the way of freedoms of expression, religion, association or communication.
IRAQ: The U.S. military in Iraq says coalition forces have detained eight suspected insurgents during two days of operations in central Iraq. The military says coalition troops seized three suspects today during a raid on an al-Qaida in Iraq car bombing network outside of Fallujah. It says at least one of the men is a suspected car bomb facilitator with ties to other militants in the region. A military statement says coalition troops detained three other people in a separate operation in the same area. It says its forces seized two suspects in a similar operation Thursday in the capital, Baghdad.
RUSSIA - SPACE: Russian space officials say a Soyuz capsule carrying an American space
tourist and two Russian cosmonauts has landed safely in Kazakhstan.
The craft landed today near the the small Kazakh town of Arkalyk.
Richard Garriot, the American magnate on board, paid Russia 30 million
dollars for his 10-day stay on the space station. He is the first U.S.
space traveler to follow his father into orbit.
Astronaut Owen Garriot went on two missions for the U.S. space agency in 1973 and 1983.
US POLITICS: U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama has arrived in his native
state of Hawaii, where he will spend today visiting his ailing
Eighty-five-year old Madelyn Dunham's health has been failing recently
since reportedly breaking her hip. The Democratic nominee revealed in a
televised interview Thursday that he failed to see his mother before
her death in 1995, and wants to avoid the same mistake with his
Obama left for Hawaii Thursday after a campaign rally in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he criticized
Republican challenger John McCain's plan to cut corporate taxes.
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