US ECONOMY: The U.S. economic chief is expected to announce a new plan Monday to
help banks get rid of the toxic assets that are clogging the financial
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says he will propose a new investment fund to buy troubled home loans (mortgages) and other complex assets (securities) connected to them.
The "Public Private Investment Program" would combine taxpayer money with private funds to buy between $500 billion and $1 trillion worth of bad assets from failing banks.
The money would partially come from an economic rescue package Congress approved last year.
AFGHANISTAN: NATO says its troops have killed a senior insurgent and nine of his associates in southern Afghanistan.
The international force announced Monday that Maulawi Hassan was killed Saturday in a raid on his compound in Helmand province.
Also Monday, Afghan officials say Taliban fighters ambushed a police patrol in neighboring Kandahar province, killing eight officers.
Southern Afghanistan is the center of the Taliban insurgency. Two NATO troops were killed in a hostile incident in the same region Sunday. U.S.-led forces have been fighting the Taliban since late 2001.
SOMALIA-JAPAN-PIRACY: Pirates have fired on a Japanese cargo ship off the coast of Somalia. The vessel escaped without anyone being hurt.
Maritime officials say pirates in two small boats shot at the 13,000-ton Jasmine Ace on Sunday, breaking windows on the ship.
Officials say the Jasmine Ace zigzagged away, and the pirates broke off their assault.
The attack took place in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. The gulf was the scene of more than 100 pirate attacks and hijackings last year, including multi-million dollar ransom demands
VIETNAM-FOOD SAFETY: Vietnam will receive a $95 million loan from the Asian Development Bank
to improve the safety, quality and quantity of commercial food crops
and to provide clean energy to households through bio-gas development.
The ADB said Monday that Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia's largest producers of fruit, vegetables and tea, but current agricultural practices, such as the high use of fertilizers and the dumping of livestock waste, have impacted the environment and public health.
AUSTRALIA-US: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is on his way to United States for his first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.
Mr. Rudd left Canberra Monday for Washington, where he is scheduled to meet President Obama on Tuesday. Ahead of his departure, the Australian leader said he will push for China to have a greater role in the International Monetary Fund at next month's G20 summit in London. Mr. Rudd said he will discuss the proposal during this week's talks with the U.S. president. Mr. Rudd will attend the summit after his stop in the United States.