Wikinews Shorts: December 2, 2008

A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, December 2, 2008.

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Brazil announces plan to curb deforestation

Amazon Rainforest

Brazil announced a plan to slow deforestation rates in the Amazon Rainforest by seventy percent over the next ten years.

This comes after a call for international funding to stop further deforestation of the rainforest. The plan will aim to reduce the clearing of the Amazon, which is the world's largest rainforest, to 5,850 square kilometres by 2018, half of the current rate.

This year, the deforestation rate went up after falling for the last four years.


Pound sterling plunges against US dollar

The British pound sterling was down 5.2 cents to US$1.486, its biggest single-day percentage point fall since the United Kingdom left the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) in 1992.

The pound was also three and a half cents lower against the euro, at 0.851 pounds. The FTSE 100 index fell 5.2% on Monday, further exacerbating problems.


Unpaid Zimbabwean soldiers run amok in Harare

Flag of Zimbabwe

Soldiers in Zimbabwe got fed up after waiting in line at a bank in the capital of Harare. Due to rampant hyperinflation (the latest count has reached 231,000,000% annually), banks often have a shortage of cash and what they have is rationed out. Often the amount that is permitted to be withdrawn cannot even pay for a loaf of bread at the street markets.

After waiting all day in line at the bank, the soldiers and other customers attacked money changers and stole cash. Initially, city police stood by, but eventually broke up the rampage with tear gas.


Dow drops 680 points

DOW   679.95
NASDAQ   137.50
S&P   80.03

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 679.95 points (7.70%) Monday, its fourth worst drop in history, to close at 8,149.09. The drop marked the end of a five-day rally that began last week.

According to Chuck Widger of Brinker Capital, "this is just another episode in a long story and the story is all about recession and the question is how long and how deep. We're going to have continuing volatility until investors have better visibility."

On the same day, the NASDAQ Composite lost 8.95%, while the S&P 500 lost 8.93%.


Election in Romania expected to lead to intense negotiations

Flag of Romania

The legislative election in Romania has left the Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD) separated by less than one percent after all votes were counted.

The Central Electoral Office says SPD won about 33.6 percent of the vote and PD-L got just under 33 percent. The National Liberal Party (PNL) was third with 18.6 percent. All votes have been counted but the official results are not expected until the end of next week.

Analysts expect both SPD and PD-L to seek the support of PNL to form a coalition government. Current Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu is a member of PNL.

Meanwhile, President Traian Băsescu, who has no official party association, is known to support PD-L. The President is not required to nominate a Prime Minister from the winning party.