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
Government officials say the attack targeted a village in North
Waziristan, a hub for al-Qaida and Taliban militants near the border
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.
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
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.
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,
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
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.
Listen to our World News for details.