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US Government Aids Citigroup


WORLD ECONOMY: The U.S. government is moving to protect banking giant Citigroup, investing 20 billion dollars in a company whose shares have lost 60 percent of their value in the past week.
The action, announced late Sunday by the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, also includes protection against the possibility of unusually large losses on up to 306 billion dollars worth of risky loans and mortgage-backed securities.
The 20 billion-dollar investment comes from the 700 billion-dollar financial bailout package approved by Congress in October. The government has already injected 25 billion dollars into Citigroup from the rescue fund in return for an ownership stake in the company.

OBAMA-ECON: U.S. President-elect Barack Obama introduces his economic leadership team today (Monday), nearly two months before he takes office.
Mr. Obama will hold a news conference today (1700 UTC,) in (the Midwestern U.S. city of) Chicago to announce the key officials who will be responsible for overseeing an economic recovery plan intended to create millions of jobs.
U.S. financial markets reacted positively Friday when they learned that Timothy Geithner, the current president of the New York Federal Reserve, will likely be the next treasury secretary.

THAILAND PROTEST: Thailand's opposition has called for talks with the government, after a major rally outside Parliament today (Monday) forced lawmakers to postpone a joint session aimed at passing key legislation.

The opposition Democrat Party fears that Parliament will pass constitutional amendments that will halt investigations and prosecutions of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, his family and supporters.
A party spokesman (Buranej Samutharak) says the government must give assurances the amendments will not proceed at this time.

NOKOR NUCLEAR: North Korea announced today (Monday) that it will go ahead with plans to shut down all overland passage through the demilitarized zone on December first.
The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said the border shutdown will mean a total suspension of tourism to the North Korean city of Kaesong.
The report said the North Korean army will also selectively expel South Korean business managers now running factories in a joint industrial park in Kaesong and at the Diamond Mountain resort.
The news agency said the actions are being taken in response to South Korea's policy of confrontation.


IRAQ: Iraqi police say at least 19 people have been killed in three bombings in the capital, Baghdad.
In the first attack, police say 13 people were killed during rush hour today (Monday) when a roadside bomb exploded near a minibus carrying employees of the country's Trade Ministry.
Police and officials say at least five people were wounded in the blast.

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