To shore up a tumbling stock market and a troubled currency, South Korea announced Sunday that it would guarantee $100-billion in foreign debt and supply $30-billion to banks and exporters in urgent need of dollars. Amid a global financial crisis, South Korea has emerged as among the most vulnerable major economies in Asia, despite large foreign reserves in its central bank and booming exports to China, India and the Middle East. The credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's placed five major South Korean banks on a watch list last week, citing their problems in finding dollars to repay foreign currency loans. President Lee Myung-bak has pleaded with citizens to stop hoarding dollars and "refrain from greedily pursuing private interests." South Korea's currency, the won, is down 30 percent against the dollar this year, making it the biggest loser among major world currencies. The stock market has fallen 38 percent.
Hand, foot and mouth kills 3
Hand, foot and mouth disease has killed three children and sickened about 110 others in eastern China, state media reported. All of the cases were reported in Jian'ou city of Fujian province this month. Citing a provincial health official, Xinhua said the children who died from the infectious disease were under a year old and came from different towns. Twenty-two of the infected children were still hospitalized for treatment, the report said. Hand, foot and mouth disease is common in young children and is not related to foot and mouth disease, which infects cattle, sheep and swine. In the spring, the spread of the virus sickened more than 24,000 people and killed dozens.
Pakistan: Fighter jets bombed a militant camp and munition storage facility near the Afghan border, killing at least 20 insurgents and causing extensive damage, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said. Ten militants were killed in other fighting, officials said.
China: The Communist Party issued rules on Sunday that would allow farmers to lease their contracted farmland or transfer land-use rights, an important part of a land reform effort intended to double rural incomes by 2020. Now, farmland is still collectively owned and parceled out in 30-year leasing contracts.
France: More than 30,000 demonstrators marched across Paris on Sunday to denounce the conservative government's budget restrictions, job cuts and other controversial reforms in France's public education system. Emboldened by the turnout, the largest union of French primary school teachers called for a national strike next month.