Morning Brief, Thursday, November 8

Asia SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images An unofficial remark about the weakening dollar by a vice director at China’s central bank Wednesday set off a selling frenzy on Wall St., pushing the U.S. stock market down by some 3 percent. Thursday has been tough so far, too, and especially in Asia. U.S. President George W. Bush had ...

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An investor looks at the monitors showing the stocks index figures at a local securities in Taichung, central Taiwan, 08 November 2007. Taiwan share prices closed 3.90 percent lower following heavy falls on Wall Street overnight amid concerns about the prospects for the US economy, dealers said. AFP PHOTO/Sam YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)

Asia

SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images

An unofficial remark about the weakening dollar by a vice director at China's central bank Wednesday set off a selling frenzy on Wall St., pushing the U.S. stock market down by some 3 percent. Thursday has been tough so far, too, and especially in Asia.

Asia

SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images

An unofficial remark about the weakening dollar by a vice director at China’s central bank Wednesday set off a selling frenzy on Wall St., pushing the U.S. stock market down by some 3 percent. Thursday has been tough so far, too, and especially in Asia.

U.S. President George W. Bush had what he called a “very frank discussion” on the phone with Pervez Musharraf, in which Bush told the Pakistani president to take off his uniform. And lo, Musharraf is now promising to hold elections before February 15. No word yet on whether this will appease former PM Benazir Bhutto, who is urging her followers to take to the streets Friday near Army headquarters. Some 500 Bhutto supporters were arrested today.

Millions of Chinese-made toys have been recalled in the United States and Australia after being found to contain a chemical linked to GHB, a.k.a. the date-rape drug.

Europe

Finland is holding a national day of mourning in the wake of this week’s gruesome mass school shootings by a deranged 18-year-old who styled himself as a “social Darwinist” and posted video of the murders on YouTube.

Nicolas Sarkozy received a standing ovation for his remarks to the U.S. Congress Wednesday. The French president called for a stronger dollar and promised France’s continued support in Afghanistan.

Russia’s lower house of parliament voted to pull out of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, a 1990 agreement that limits certain types of military hardware in Europe.

Middle East

The International Energy Agency rang the alarm bells Wednesday about the effects of a rising China and India on oil supplies and prices. Its annual report also notes that supply disruptions are historically most likely to occur in the Middle East, which is pumping an ever-greater percentage of the world’s oil.

A top U.S. commander declared that al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has been routed in Baghdad.

Fighting between tribal gunmen and security forces for a Ukrainian oil company has left 12 people dead in Yemen.

Elsewhere

Georgia’s pro-Western government declared a state of emergency in the face of growing protests. Georgia accuses Russia of subversion, but most experts say the problem is homegrown.

Students in Venezuela had to dodge bullets on their way back from a protest against Hugo Chávez.

A shocking new report on homelessness finds that “between 23 and 40 percent of homeless adults are veterans” in the United States.

Rudy and Hillary are polling neck and neck in a hypothetical 2008 matchup.

Today’s Agenda

  • U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress on the outlook for the U.S. economy.
  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is in Japan, where he will try to get the Japanese to restart their naval assistance mission for Afghanistan.
  • Stockholm hosts an annual conference on clean vehicles and fuels.
  • Las Vegas hosts the Latin Grammy awards.

Yesterday on Passport

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