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December 3, 2008

Heavy losses on Asian stock exchanges were being offset by trading in Europe as markets neared their close Tuesday. Following the sharp downturn on Wall Street Monday, the Nikkei index in Japan fell 6.4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 5 percent, the ASX 200 in Australia closed 4.2 percent lower, and similar declines were reported in India, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. But, leading European indexes, the DAX in Germany was up 2.7 percent in late trading.

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For "committing willful killings and crimes against humanity," Iraq's High Tribunal sentenced "Chemical Ali," Saddam Hussein's cousin, to hang. But the verdict can be appealed, and no date for Ali Hassan al-Majeed's execution was set. He also was ordered to be hanged last year, but legal wrangling has prevented the sentence from being carried out. Majeed became notorious for a ruthless crackdown against thousands of Shiites after their 1991 uprising against Hussein.

Canada's newly reelected minority government blasted the unprecedented agreement by opposition parties to take power following a vote of no-confidence in Parliament next Monday. Heritage Minister James Moore said the Liberal and New Democratic parties had "lied" in promising not to form a coalition against the Conservatives if they lost the Oct. 14 election. Instead, they signed a deal Monday with the separatist Bloc Quebecois to ensure that the no-confidence vote passes and to install Liberal leader Stephane Dion as prime minister.