ລິ້ງ ສຳຫລັບເຂົ້າຫາ

Asian, European Markets Post Gains Ahead of World Economic Summit


WORLD ECONOMY: Asian and European markets are on the rise today, as leaders of the world's 20 biggest and emerging economies gather in Washington for talks on the global financial crisis. Tokyo's key Nikkei index gained nearly two-and-three-quarters percent by the closing bell, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong ended the day's trading nearly two-and-one-half percent higher. Markets in Shanghai, Sydney and Wellington also closed higher. Europe's key indexes in London, Paris and Frankfurt are higher in early morning trading. Investors were expected to welcome news from France that its economy grew slightly in the third quarter.

PAKISTAN - VIOLENCE: Pakistani officials say a missile attack by a suspected U.S. drone today killed 12 people in the country's volatile northwest region. Government officials say the attack targeted a village in North Waziristan, a hub for al-Qaida and Taliban militants near the border with Afghanistan. Authorities say the drone, an unmanned aircraft, fired at least two missiles. The U.S. military has been targeting Pakistan's tribal areas, where militants launch attacks on both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Islamabad has protested U.S. missile attacks on Pakistani territory.

AFGHANISTAN: U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan say troops have killed four militants linked to Al-Qaida in the country's eastern region. The U.S. military says the suspected militants were killed during a raid Thursday in the Zurmat district of Paktia Province, near the border with Pakistan. The statement says the operation was targeting a network of militants who, with the help of local Taliban leaders, were bringing Arab and other foreign fighters into Afghanistan. On Thursday, Taliban militants claimed responsibility for a car bombing in eastern Afghanistan that killed at least 11 people, including a U.S. soldier.

US - OBAMA - TRANSITION: U.S. news agencies say Senator Hillary Clinton is among the candidates President-elect Barack Obama is considering for secretary of state. Rumors first surfaced last week that the former first lady was on Mr. Obama's list of candidates for the post. Speculation grew Thursday after reporters quoted anonymous sources close to the president-elect's transition team. A spokesman for the New York senator told reporters Thursday that any speculation about Mr. Obama's cabinet appointments should be addressed by the transition team.

US - OBAMA - SENATE: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama says he is resigning from the U.S. Senate, effective Sunday. The incoming president issued a statement Thursday, saying it has been one of the highest honors and privileges of his life to have served the people of Illinois in the Senate. President-elect Obama also said he is beginning the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as the next U.S. president. The announcement comes more than one week after the Democratic lawmaker defeated Republican rival and Senate colleague John McCain in the U.S. presidential election.

INDIA - ELECTIONS: India today started a seven-week round of regional elections, allowing voters to judge major parties on issues like inflation, a slowing economy and terrorism. Elections are being held in six regions, including the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir. Indian voters also will elect local governments in the capital region, Delhi. Four of the six elections will see a straight battle between India's ruling Congress Party and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

US - CIA - BIN LADIN: The director of the U.S. intelligence agency says al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden appears to be isolated from the terrorist group's day-to-day operations and has been forced to devote much of his energy to his own security. Michael Hayden said in a speech Thursday in Washington that hunting down bin Laden remains at the top of the CIA's priority list. Hayden suggested that the al-Qaida leader is hiding somewhere in the remote border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

US - CHINA - FOOD SAFETY: U.S. officials say two top health officials will travel to China next week to discuss food safety issues and oversee the opening of three offices for U.S. inspectors. U.S. Health and Human Services said Thursday that the agency's secretary, Mike Leavitt, and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach will make the trip together. The FDA offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai are the agency's first overseas. When the openings were announced last month, Leavitt said they will help protect American consumers as well as China.

NEW PLANET: American astronomers have discovered what they say is a scientist's dream come true -- the first pictures of planets outside our own solar system. The scientists say the pictures show three planets circling a sun-like star 130 light years from Earth and a fourth planet orbiting a star 25 light years away -- trillions of kilometers from Earth. The Hubble Space Telescope and Earth-based telescopes took the pictures. They say they hope the pictures and more research could lead them to find Earth-like planets that could support life.

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