Bush Reveals New Steps to Steady Banking Industry: President Bush declared today that the government would spend $250 billion to directly buy shares in the nation's nine leading banks. The president said the move would "preserve" the free market. The announcement boosted Wall Street, with stocks jumping 936 points yesterday in anticipation of the plan and showing gains in early trading this morning. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve announced that its plan to buy up large amounts of short-term debt would begin in two weeks. Analysts hope that plan will soothe the stock market further.
North Korea to Resume Nuclear Dismantlement: Days after the Bush administration removed it from the U.S. terrorism list to sweeten disarmament, North Korea announced plans to resume disabling the Yongbyon nuclear reactor and to admit international inspectors. North Korea had ceased dismantlement two months ago and threatened to restart the plutonium processing plant.
Syria Establishes Diplomatic Ties With Lebanon: After 60 years of nonrecognition between the neighboring nations—and nearly 30 years of Syria's domination over Lebanese affairs until its 2005 withdrawal—the two countries established diplomatic relations today. The move comes in the wake of two changes in Lebanese government seen as favorable to Syria. Hezbollah, Syria's key ally in Lebanon, has gained veto power in the Lebanese government, and Lebanon installed a president sympathetic to Syria. Yet the diplomatic recognition also seems to be a Syrian bid for western favor as it pursues indirect peace negotiations with Israel.