ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Central Banks Cut Interest Rates; Stocks Rise


WORLD ECONOMY: Asian stock markets soared today, one day after the U.S. central bank cut its key interest rate by one-half of one percent. Japan's Nikkei index closed up 10 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up almost 13 percent. Elsewhere, the gains included 12 percent in Seoul, six percent in Taipei and four percent in Sydney. European stock markets also were higher in early trading, although the gains were more modest than in Asia. On Wednesday, U.S. Federal Reserve officials said they cut the main interest rate because the economy is slowing "markedly" (sharply).

INDIA - BLASTS: Police in India say a series of bomb blasts in the country's northeastern Assam state has killed at least 48 people and wounded 300 others. Officials say 12 bombs exploded today across the state, including in Assam's capital of Gauhati. They also say it is not immediately clear who was responsible. Earlier this month, police in the region fought to contain violence between mainly indigenous tribespeople and Muslim Bangladeshi settlers. Officials accused tribal rebels of conducting what they call "ethnic cleansing" against the immigrant Muslims.

US POLITICS: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has told an audience that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama "represents America's future." Mr. Clinton made the comment Wednesday at a late-night campaign rally with Obama in Florida. It was their first joint campaign event. The former president said Obama should be elected for his philosophies, policies and abilities -- especially his ability to change people's lives. Obama praised Mr. Clinton as a great president and a great statesman.

THAI PROTEST: Ten people were wounded in Thailand's capital, Bangkok, today when someone tossed a bomb at anti-government protesters blocking a key intersection near the prime minister's office. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the pre-dawn attack. All of those hurt were volunteer security guards for the anti-government protest group, the People's Alliance for Democracy. The group is demanding that Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat step down because of his links to deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

INDONESIA - PORNOGRAPHY: Indonesia's parliament has passed a controversial anti-pornography law, despite protests from artists and religious minorities. A majority of lawmakers in Indonesia's 550-seat parliament approved the law, which outlaws pornographic acts and the spread of overtly sexual images. Supporters of the bill argue that the legislation is necessary to help reverse what they say is the moral and social decay of mainly Muslim Indonesia. Opponents say the bill's definition of pornography is too broad, and they warn that it goes against the country's tradition of diversity.

CHINA - DALAI LAMA: Envoys of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, are traveling to Beijing for a new round of closed-door talks on the future of Tibet. China's official media said Wednesday that the Dalai Lama requested the talks. A few days ago, he said he was losing faith in the dialogue process. The Dalai Lama's emissaries and the Communist government in Beijing have held seven rounds of direct talks since 2002, but no substantial progress has been achieved. This is their eighth meeting and first since Beijing hosted the Olympics in August.

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