WORLD ECONOMY: A new report says the U.S. economy declined between July and September -- the strongest indication yet the nation may
be sliding into a recession.
The U.S. Commerce Department released a report Thursday saying the
country's Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, fell by three-tenths of
Consumer spending also has fallen for the first time in about two
decades, and business investment has declined.
A report by the U.S. Labor Department says more than three-point-seven
million Americans are getting unemployment aid, close to a
US POLITICS: U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain will continue
their final push for votes today in a number of crucial states
that could tip the balance in next week's election.
Democratic candidate Obama will hold a rally in the midwestern state of
Iowa, followed by a stop in Indiana. Indiana has been a reliable state
for Republicans in previous elections, but various opinion polls
suggest Obama is in a statistical dead heat with Republican McCain.
For his part, McCain will spend another day in the midwestern state of
Ohio, where he will hold rallies with Republican California Governor
US - INT'L CHALLENGES: The top U.S. intelligence official says the next president will face a
host of foreign policy challenges, including new and stronger terrorist
groups and the growing economic rise of developing nations such as
Mike McConnell, the Director of National Intelligence, shared his views
during a speech Thursday at a conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
McConnell said conditions are favorable for terrorist groups to grow in
number and influence in the Middle East and other areas well into 2025.
CHINA MINE BLAST: Chinese rescue workers in the northern part of the country have removed
more than 20 bodies from a coal mine wrecked by a gas explosion earlier
in the week.
Immediately after the explosion Wednesday, the official Xinhua news
agency said one miner was killed and 28 others remained trapped in the coal mine in northern China's Shaanxi province. But the death
toll rose to 23 when searchers discovered the bodies today in
Seven miners escaped. Six men are still missing.
China has the world's deadliest coal mines, with thousands of people
dying every year in explosions, cave-ins and floods.
PAKISTAN - QUAKE: Thousands of survivors of a strong earthquake in southwestern Pakistan
are spending a second night in freezing temperatures, as the death toll
from the early Wednesday quake nears 300.
Multiple aftershocks continue to rock impoverished Baluchistan
province, adding to the misery of villagers who still have not received
any help, almost two days after the six-point-four magnitude quake.
An estimated 15-thousand Pakistanis lost their homes in the tremor that
caused landslides and blocked roads, hampering relief efforts.
INDIA - BLASTS: Indian officials say the death toll from a series of coordinated
explosions in the northeastern part of the country has risen to at
least 77 people.
At least 12 bombs exploded Thursday in four towns in the troubled
northeastern state of Assam, wounding more than 330 people.
Police said about half the casualties occurred in the state's main city
Local authorities imposed a curfew there after angry crowds attacked
police and rescue workers, overturned several government vehicles and
ambulances, and torched fire trucks.
AFGHANISTAN: The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on
Afghanistan's Information Ministry building in Kabul, which killed five
people and wounded at least 21 others.
Witnesses say at least three militants stormed the building Thursday.
They say one of the attackers blew himself up, while the others opened
fire on security guards.
Kabul's deputy police chief Ali Shah Ahmadzai said the explosion
occurred inside a conference room of the information ministry and
caused extensive damage to the building and office equipment.
PETRAEUS - NEW COMMAND: The U.S. general widely credited with reducing violence in Iraq takes
command today of all U.S. forces in the Middle East and
General David Petraeus will start his command with a thorough review of
the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. During Petraeus' year-and-a-half in
Iraq, violence dropped 80 percent
and U.S. troops began to hand responsibility to the new Iraqi forces in
much of the country. Petraeus says the Afghanistan war is a very
different fight, but he plans to use some of the same strategies he
used in Iraq.
AFRICAN - MALARIA STUDY: A new study suggests that the simple use of mosquito netting over
children's beds has had a significant impact on malaria infection rates
in the African nation of Gambia.
The study published today in The Lancet medical
journal outlined the efforts of Britain's Medical Research Council to
see how well anti-malaria efforts have succeeded since 1999.
The researchers examined thousands of records from five hospitals and
health clinics in western Gambia.
OIL PRICES - COMPANIES: Higher oil prices are turning into higher profits for the world's
leading oil companies, but there are indications the trend may not
U.S.-based Exxon Mobil says Thursday profits jumped 58 percent
to a record 15 billion dollars for the three months from July to
September. And Europe's top oil company, Royal
Dutch Shell, says its profits for the same period climbed 22 percent
(to more than eight billion dollars).
Earlier this week, BP and Conoco Phillips also announced a big jump in
The big profits came as crude oil prices hit a record high of more than
147 dollars a barrel in July.
Listen to our World News for details.