THE WORLD THIS WEEK 3 The floods that have ravaged PAKISTAN for the past month have

stranded 800,000 people beyond the reach of ground transport, according to the UN. Of the 17m across the country who are said to have been affected, almost 5m are now homeless. The southern plains of Sindh are in danger of further flooding. Pakistani officials are said to be asking the IMF for a loan of nearly $11 billion. The president warned that terrorists would try to take advantage of the catastrophe. AUSTRALIA'S general election resulted in a hung parliament, the country's first in 70 years, with neither Julia Gillard's incumbent Labor party nor the conservative coalition led by Tony Abbott winning the 76 seats it would take to form a new government. Three independents from rural areas were left holding the balance of power. Whichever way the next government goes, the election represents a failure for Ms Gillard, who had called it in hopes of cementing a brief Labor surge in the weeks after she became prime minister. Kim Jong Il, NORTH KOREA'S leader, travelled to CHINA, possibly accompanied by Kim Jong Un, his son and chosen successor. It was the second such trip in four months for the Dear Leader, who rarely ventures abroad. In Manila, the PHILIPPINES' capital, a sacked policeman with an assault rifle took hostage a busload of tourists from Hong Kong. In the subsequent televised standoff, he tried to bargain for his job back. Eight of 15 captives were killed when heavily armed police stormed the bus. The city's police chief took leave of absence. Ichiro Ozawa shocked the Democratic Party of Japan when he said that he would run against Naoto Kan, the current leader and prime minister, in an internal party election next month. Although Mr Ozawa is widely disliked by voters, he commands the support of many MPs. CHINA'S state media reported that the government would reduce the number of crimes punishable by death in the country from 68 to 55. Smuggling cultural relics and forging tax invoices will no longer be capital offences. As the last American combat troops left IRAQ, seven years after the invasion, a series of bomb attacks across the country left over 50 people dead. The toll underlines fears for the stability of the country. Gunmen from the Shabab Islamist militia stormed a hotel in Mogadishu, SOMALIA'S capital, killing 32 people, including six MPs. The attack came amid heavy fighting between the Shabab and the forces of the weak transitional federal government. The UN sent two envoys to investigate a gang rape by rebel soldiers of over 150 women and boys that took place just miles from a UN camp in CONGO. UN officials say they did not know the crime was being committed. A federal judge temporarily suspended an executive order that had allowed federal funding for STEMCELL RESEARCH. Barack Obama had issued the order soon after he took office, overturning a previous ban on such funding. The National Institutes of Health said the judge's decision would do "serious damage". An appeal is pending. Prosecutors in SWEDEN withdrew an arrest warrant on rape charges for Julian Assange, the founder of the Wikileaks website, a day after it was issued. Mr Assange, who still faces questioning over a separate allegation of molestation, said he had been warned to expect "dirty tricks" after Wikileaks released more than 75,000 classified Afghan war logs in July. A report by NORTHERN IRELAND'S police ombudsman found evidence that the police, the British government and the Catholic church had colluded to conceal the suspected involvement of a Catholic priest in 1972 IRA bombings that killed nine people.

and follow the expiry of a tax credit for homebuyers.7 billion.2% in July compared with June. for $7. Japan is worried that a strong currency could hurt exports and worsen deflation by pushing down the price of imports.Rescuers in CHILE made contact with 33 miners trapped since August 5th when a tunnel collapsed at San Jose.6 against the JAPANESE yen. an American fast-food chain. MEXICO'S navy discovered 72 dead bodies at a ranch in the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas. But speculation that Japan will intervene to weaken the yen caused it to retreat slightly. raising 200m yuan ($29m). to a record low since figures were first kept in 1963. a small private mine. but freeing them may take months. It is also a bet that security needs to be incorporated into hardware to combat future threats. nearing its 1995 record low. They are already receiving food. the world's largest microchip-maker. The deal is Intel's largest effort yet to diversify away from making computer chips. a maker of security software. The miners had survived by eking out two days' rations. but were subsequently identified as migrants trying to reach the United States. MCDONALD'S. said it would buy MCAFEE. down 27. America's Securities and Exchange Commission passed a new rule intended to make it easier for SHAREHOLDERS to remove directors at companies they feel are underperforming or paying their bosses too much. The figures added to fears that America might suffer a double-dip recession. became the first non-financial foreign company to issue yuan-denominated bonds in Hong Kong. Sales of existing homes in AMERICA plunged to their lowest level in more than a decade. Business lobby groups said they may fight the rule change in the courts. Sales of new homes also plummeted. INTEL. Similar concerns caused the dollar to fall to 83. Both declines were worse than had been expected. They were at first assumed to be drug traffickers. . China has recently eased some currency controls as it tries to increase yuan-denominated transactions.

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