PAKISTAN - EARTHQUAKE: Pakistani officials say an earthquake in the southwestern part of the
country has killed at least 160 people, and that figure is expected to
rise as emergency workers dig through rubble for survivors and victims.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the six-point-four-magnitude quake
struck a region (less than 100 kilometers) northeast of Quetta, the
capital of Baluchistan province, before dawn today.
The quake destroyed mud homes in at least eight villages in the remote
region near Afghanistan, forcing panic-stricken people to gather in the
chilly night to wait for assistance.
WORLD ECONOMY: European markets opened mixed today, following gains in Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Markets in London and Paris are up five and six percent, while Frankfurt is down nearly two percent.
Tokyo's Nikkei index rallied late in the day to close up nearly
seven-and-three-quarters percent, following speculation that Japan's
central bank might cut interest rates. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong
finished about one percent higher.
An announcement by the U.S. central bank on interest rates is expected
later today. Rate cuts reduce the cost of borrowing and can boost
US POLITICS: Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Democratic rival
Barack Obama are keeping the focus on U.S. economic concerns, with the
election less than a week away.
McCain tore into his opponent's tax plans during a rally Tuesday in Pennsylvania
- a state considered crucial to victory and where Obama is ahead in the
polls. The Arizona Republican lawmaker told supporters Senator Obama
plans to redistribute wealth by raising taxes.
At his own campaign stop in Pennsylvania, Obama said he will give a tax
break to 95 percent of working class Americans.
CHINA - DALAI LAMA: China says it will hold a new round of talks "in the near future" with
representatives of the Dalai Lama, days after the exiled Tibetan
spiritual leader said he was losing faith in the dialogue process.
A statement released by the government today through the
official Xinhua news agency urged the Dalai Lama to "treasure this
Chinese officials said Tuesday the two sides are discussing details of
the upcoming talks. They have held several meetings since a series of
deadly anti-Chinese protests in Tibet in March. Last week, the Nobel
Peace laureate said his efforts to bring positive
change in his homeland have failed, and it was up to the Tibetan people
to decide on an alternative.
CHINA - CLIMATE CHANGE: China says its dependence on coal will make it difficult for the nation
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In a major policy report issued today in
Beijing, the government acknowledges the impact that climate change has
made on the nation. It cites increased high temperatures, heavy
precipitation and severe droughts.
But the report says China's coal-dominated energy sector cannot be
"substantially changed in the near future."
CHINA - FOOD SAFETY: Authorities in Hong Kong say they have discovered more eggs from
mainland China contaminated with an industrial chemical that has
sparked Beijing's latest product safety scandal.
Authorities say the eggs were processed by a plant based
in the central Chinese province of Hubei. Tests found nearly three
parts per million of melamine in the batch, just above Hong Kong's
legal limit of two-point-five parts per million.
This is the second batch of tainted eggs discovered in Hong Kong in
SOUTH KOREA - IRAQ: South Korea says it will withdraw the last of its military forces from Iraq by mid-December.
A spokesman for the Defense Ministry says troops will hand over the
mission in the northern city of Irbil to U.S. forces in early December,
and return to South Korea by December 20th.
South Korea initially sent 36-hundred troops to Iraq to support the
U.S.-led invasion in 2004, making it the third-largest contingent of
foreign troops in Iraq. The troops were deployed under a one-year
mandate, which has been extended for the past four years.
PAKISTAN - US: Pakistan's foreign ministry says it has summoned the U.S. ambassador
and lodged a strong protest against U.S. missile strikes inside
In a statement issued today, the ministry says Pakistan
called for an immediate end to unmanned aircraft (drone) missile
attacks, saying they are killing people and destroying property. It
added that such attacks are a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty, and
that they undermine public support for the government's
counter-terrorism efforts. The ministry said officials emphasized these
points when speaking to U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson.
MALDIVES ELECTION: The Maldives' incumbent president has conceded defeat after officials
announced preliminary results from Tuesday's run-off election in the
Indian Ocean nation.
Speaking on national radio today, President Maumoon Abdul
Gayoom congratulated opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed on his victory.
Thousands of cheering Nasheed supporters took to the streets to
celebrate his win in the nation's first democratic presidential
election. Preliminary results released today indicate
Nasheed, a former political prisoner, won 54 percent of the vote.
Listen to our World News for details.