World

Stocks took another beating Wednesday on Asian markets and appeared headed for losses in Europe as well, with analysts attributing the performance to shaky investor confidence in the US and Chinese economies. China's Shanghai Composite Index, however, regained almost half of the 8.8 percent it lost in value Tuesday. The Nikkei index in Japan fared less well, falling another 2.8 percent. The same was true in South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, India, and Australia. In the Philippines, stocks fell 7.9 percent, the worst one-day performance in a decade. The major European bourses all were off by 0.7 percent or more Wednesday afternoon.

Work stoppages were staged at Airbus assembly plants by protesting employees Wednesday after the aviation giant announced 10,000 layoffs and plans to sell or close facilities in France, Germany, and Britain. The job cuts were distributed so as to have minimum impact on any one country. France will absorb 4,300, Germany 3,700, Britain 1,600, and Spain 400, Airbus said.

Three more Palestinian radicals were shot to death by Israeli troops Wednesday as they extended their latest offensive in the West Bank. All three, whom an Army spokesman said had tried to escape arrest, were identified as militants belonging to Islamic Jihad. The spokesman said they'd helped to plan the bombing attack in Tel Aviv that was thwarted last week. The incident took place in Jenin.

Opposition members of Canada's Parliament voted down renewal of two antiterrorism laws that were adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the US. The measures, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper had sought to extend for three years, expire Thursday. They allowed suspects to be held without charge for up to 72 hours and compelled persons with knowledge of terrorist activity to testify in court. Neither was ever applied, and opposition leaders called them "a risk" to civil liberties.

Challengers to President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal vowed to contest what his aides said was a first-round victory in last Sunday's national election. A spokesman for one opponent displayed multiple voter cards bearing the same name, claiming them as proof that some people had been allowed to cast more than one ballot. With vote-counting almost complete, Wade had a 56 percent majority, his aides said. Final, official results must be announced by Friday.

A ship that claimed a false registration and ignored orders to stop was sunk off southern Sri Lanka by naval units Wednesday. A Navy spokesman said thousands of rounds of artillery shells were found in the resulting debris field. Tamil separatist rebels, for whom the ship was believed to be smuggling the ammunition, were unavailable for comment. The Navy also said it attacked a flotilla of Tamil Tiger boats off northeastern Sri Lanka Tuesday night, destroying two of them and killing 16 rebels.

Homosexual orientation is not, per se, a bar to "full participation" in the ministry of the Church of England, its governing assembly voted Wednesday. But the synod avoided the fractious debate raging in the overall Anglican Communion on the issue, striking down language that committed the church to "respect the patterns of holy living" to which homosexual Christians aspire. Still pending was a vote on taking a firm stand against civil partnerships by homosexuals.

Thieves broke into the apartment of legendary artist Pablo Picasso's granddaugher in Paris and stole at least two paintings valued at $66 million – and probably other works as well, experts said, calling the theft "quite significant." The most important missing pieces were identified as "Maya and the Doll" and "Portrait of Jacqueline."

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