In China the first week of October is called the "Golden Week" in the real estate trading market. It's usually the busiest time for property trading, with great promotions and deals. But this year it wasn't very booming... as sales took a sharp decline. NTD spoke with one economist to find out why.
According to the statistics from the Beijing Property Trading Management Network, from the 29th of September to the 4th of October, only about 70 households were traded daily... a drop of more than 70 percent from last year's sales. And this is happening all throughout China.
Economist Dr. Jian Tianlun believes that there is not enough competition in the property trading market because the Chinese Communist Party changes land prices sporadically. That means buyers are waiting it out for the best price. Recent global stock market downturns are also having an effect.
Dr. Jian used a property named "The city of charm" in Hangzhou as an example. The property value raised to a peak of $12,000 per square meter from $9,200 per square meter. Six months later the price dropped back to $9,000.
Economist Dr. Jian is concerned by the rapid price changes.
[Dr. Jian Tianlun, Economist]:
"This could be a huge turning point. The Chinese property trading market could fail, especially after the fall of the stock market, because of the unstable financial market, the broken chain of funds from the developers and banks, or because buyers are unable to afford the price. All of these factors could cause the failure of Chinese property trading market."
The Shanghai Composite Index fell about 17 point on Thursday, closing at 2074.
The Ukrainian president has abandoned the search for a coalition to take over from the current government. The parliament is now dissolved and an early election has been called.
President Viktor Yushchenko delivered his message via recorded television.
[Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrainian President]:
"I hereby declare the activities of Ukrainian Parliament to be suspended and call an early parliamentary election.”
Yushchenko has long been at odds with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. She was his ally from the 2004 "Orange Revolution" that swept him to power. His Our Ukraine party quit its alliance with Tymoshenko's party in early
The differences between the two leaders focus on a long-standing debate over how to divide up powers in Ukraine.
[Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrainian President]:
"I am convinced, deeply convinced, that the democratic coalition was ruined by one thing alone - human ambition. The ambition of one person. Thirst for power, different values, personal interests taking precedence over national interests."
He had earlier met party leaders in Kyiv and to find a way to restore or replace the "orange" team. But there were no proposals from the parties to form a viable coalition.
Under Ukraine's constitution an election must now take place within the next 60 days.
Now let's look at the latest developments on Wall Street. Central banks are cutting interest rates to try and get some stability and positivity back into the market. But by lunchtime, investor sentiment had turned decidedly negative. Let's take a look.
U.S. markets went on a wild ride early Wednesday as investors digested a coordinated emergency rate cut from central banks around the world. Led by the Federal Reserve's half-point rate cut, which brings the Fed Funds rate to 1-1/2 percent, central banks including the ECB, slashed rates after a period in which many stock markets around the world have suffered their biggest drops - ever.
But the rate cuts did not totally convince U.S. investors that better days are ahead. Within the first hour of the trading day the Dow swung in a near 400-point range from top to bottom as sellers refused to let go.
David Reilly is director of portfolio strategy at Rydex Investments.
[David Reilly, Rydex Investments]:
"The market's reaction may be an instantaneous rally but they can't be held because the market's overall concern is that the magnitude of the crisis is theoretically, or possibly is, larger than what the central banks and the regulators have been throwing at the crisis."
Not even some much-needed promising signs from the housing market could put fears to rest. Pending home sales showed a surprise jump in August - rising to their best level in over a year.
And buyers appear to be coming out of hiding. Mortgage applications bounced off a one-month low last week as lower interest rates sparked some deal making.
Those signals, however, not strong enough to shake off Wall Street fears - the worst for the economy may be yet to come.
It is three years since the earthquake shook Pakistan and Kashmir. Survivors still grieve over their reduced circumstances and mourn the loss of loved ones.
Three years after a 7.6 magnitude earthquake shook Kashmir and Northern Pakistan's mountainous region, life has yet to return to normal for Sahib Jan. She is one of the around 3.5 million survivors who were rendered homeless by the killer quake.
Wife of a retired police constable, the wiry fifty-year-old lives with her two sons and their families in a shabby cluster of tents on the outskirts of Chinari town.
[Sahib Jan, Survivor]:
"The earthquake destroyed our house, our lands. My young daughter was also taken away by Allah during the earthquake."
Now life is tough, and getting tougher by the day.
[Abdullah, Jan's Elder Son]:
"For the past three years we have been living on somebody else's land. Today they have told us to pick up our tent and go elsewhere."
He has a part time job at a local bakery.
[Abdullah, Jan's Elder Son]:
"We are poor people. There is hardly any work available; we do odd bits of labour the whole day so that we can feed our families at night."
International donors gave $6.5 billion after the catastrophe to cover the cost of emergency relief and reconstruction. And the government has promised about $1,200 to every family that lost property in the earthquake.
Reconstruction has been slow however.
Officials say rebuilding more than half a million houses in mountainous areas continues to be a huge task, because of the harsh and rugged Himalayan environment and a lack of skilled workers.
International observers say the recovery could take up to eight years.
Over a hundred people in two villages of China's Guangxi province have fallen ill after drinking water containing dangerous levels of arsenic, according to China's state-run Xinhua News Agency.
Xinhua says 136 people are showing signs of arsenic poisoning, including vomiting, facial swelling and blurred eyesight, and urine tests are displaying unusually high amounts of arsenic. The drinking water contamination seems to have come from a nearby metallurgy company that disposed of waste improperly.
So far no deaths have been officially reported, but China's state-run media has been known to under-report disasters and cover up death tolls. The information has so far not been verified by independent sources.