World News Brief, Wednesday December 3

Thai airport protesters to end occupation as government ruled corrupt; US recession causes Asia-Pacific markets to slide; Chinese property market in heavy fall; Cholera kills 500 in Zimbabwe; and more

Top of the Agenda: Markets Tumble

Markets in East Asia fell sharply this morning following yesterday's heavy losses on Wall Street. Japan's Nikkei index fell 6.4 percent (WSJ), shares in Hong Kong fell 5 percent, and Australian and South Korean indices both also saw a sell-off. The decline followed a late-day collapse on Wall Street yesterday, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell roughly 680 points, or 7.7 percent.

The main impetus for the sell-off was new data from the National Bureau of Economic Research showing that the U.S. economy has been in a recession since the end of 2007. The Financial Times reports the data has resurfaced fears that a deep global economic downturn may be on the way. Bloomberg reports China could find itself at the heart of this slowdown, noting new signs of weakness in the country's property market.

The U.S. Federal Reserve responded to the news by signaling that it may take more steps to stimulate the U.S. economy, including potentially dropping interest rates later this month-though the Journal notes concern that further drops in rates, which are already at 1 percent, could leave the Fed without many recession-fighting options should the economic situation continue to deteriorate.


- For in-depth coverage of the global economic crisis, see CFR's Center for Geoeconomic Studies.

- This interactive timeline traces the current crisis to its roots.


Pacific Rim: Thai Airport Protests

Demonstrators in Thailand agreed to end their occupation (BBC) of Bangkok's airports, opening the way for thousands of stranded tourists to leave the country.

Meanwhile, Thailand's constitutional court moved to dissolve (Bangkok Post) the country's ruling People Power Party and to block Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat from political involvement for five years.

South Korea: The Korea Times reports real incomes in South Korea saw their biggest decline in ten years during the third quarter of 2008.



India asks Pakistan to hand over fugitives; says attack isn't imminent.
Cholera outbreak spreads in Zimbabwe.

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