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a plea for auto aid: The governors of six states - Michigan, Delaware, Kentucky, New York, Ohio and South Dakota - asked the treasury secretary and Federal Reserve chairman to take "immediate action" to help the domestic automakers. General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC are in talks to combine in order to survive, but financing is one of the biggest obstacles. GM is lobbying the Bush administration and some members of Congress for $10-billion to $15-billion in aid to help keep the company going and possibly to make the Chrysler deal work.

banks line up: Banks borrowed in record amounts from the Federal Reserve's emergency lending program over the past week, while investment banks drew loans at a slower pace. The Fed said commercial banks averaged a record $111.9-billion in daily borrowing over the past week. That surpassed the old record - a daily average of $105.8-billion - from the previous week.

bretton woods again: Diplomats and economists urged world powers Thursday to update financial rules created at Bretton Woods that helped nations cope with economic problems after World War II. "We are now at another Bretton Woods moment," Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University told the U.N. General Assembly.

A TRANSIT BREAK: A federal judge granted temporary relief to the Washington area's Metro transit agency after a Belgian bank threatened to immediately collect $43-million on a loan. KBC Group's demand came after the collapse of insurance giant AIG, which had guaranteed a financing deal with the agency.

japan's bailout: Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso moved to shelter Japanese taxpayers from global financial turmoil - and to put off a national election that polls suggest could toss him and his party out of power. Aso, in office for less than two months, unveiled a sweeping stimulus package that would spread $20-billion among all the households. A family of four can expect a $600 check. The package, worth about $275-billion, would give large tax breaks to holders of home mortgages, extend tax cuts for capital gains and lower highway tolls and give business loans. Even with the plan, Aso said, "it will take three years for the Japanese economy to fully cure itself."

WORLD stocks RALLY: World stock markets were stronger Thursday, led by sharp rallies in Asia and Latin America after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would supply new lines of credit to Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Singapore.