US POLITICS: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama and Republican
rival John McCain are making their final push for votes today (Monday), with rallies in several highly contested states.
Senator McCain's whirlwind schedule takes him to seven states today (Monday),
starting in Florida and ending with a midnight rally in his home state
of Arizona. He is generally targeting states won by fellow-Republican,
President George Bush, four years ago, but will also stop in the key
state of Pennsylvania (won by John Kerry). Both presidential candidates have made several visits to Pennsylvania in recent weeks.
WORL ECONOMY: European markets opened higher today (Monday), joining Asian exchanges in extending last weeks rally. U.S. market futures are also higher.
Investors seem to be reacting positively to various announced and
anticipated government measures to stem the international financial
crisis, buying stocks in the hopes of securing bargains.
South Korea has announced 11 billion dollars in tax cuts and new
spending in the hopes of boosting economic growth next year. Last week,
the government cut interest rates by a record amount.
INDONESIA-BALI BOMBERS: Lawyers for three Muslim militants convicted of planning the 2002 Bali
bombings that killed more than 200 people say they have filed another
appeal against men's execution by firing squad.
However, Indonesian authorities have already said that all legal appeals have been exhausted.
On Saturday, authorities said they were delivering an execution order for the three men.
The announcement gave no specific time, but Indonesia
typically gives condemned prisoners three days' notice of their
executions. The Indonesian government will only say the execution is
set for sometime in early November
CHINA-TAIWAN: A delegation led by the highest-level Chinese official to visit Taiwan
in nearly six decades has arrived on the island for a five-day visit.
Chen Yunlin, the head of China's Association for Relations Across the
Taiwan Strait, landed amid high security at Taipei's international
airport just before noon (0400 UTC).
Chen was met on the tarmac by Taiwanese officials, including (Kao Koong-lian,) the secretary-general of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation
Chen has said he and his counterpart, Chiang Pin-kung, (the chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation,) will discuss only economic, and not political issues.
THAILAND-LAOS: Thailand's embattled Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat is visiting neighboring Laos today (Monday).
Before departing on his trip to Vientiane, Mr. Somchai said that he
would use the visit to introduce himself and assure leaders in Laos
that Thailand's policies will remain the same.
Mr. Somchai says he may discuss the issue of ethnic minority Lao migrants if it is raised during his discussions.
Thousands of Lao Hmong live in a detention camp in Thailand. They are
requesting political asylum in third countries, but Thailand has slowly
been shipping some back to Laos