European Markets Jittery Despite Debt Talks, Vice President Biden Visits China

BY News Desk  August 17, 2011 at 8:25 AM EST

Despite Tuesday’s meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European markets fell Wednesday amid concerns over sovereign debt crises and the euro. The market dropped sharply, but London’s FTSE 100 index closed down 0.5 percent at the end of trading.

(Read more about what the Merkel-Sarkozy summit means for the U.S. economy.)

The summit focused on economic cooperation, but no specific proposals, including a possible transaction tax, were formally approved.

Photo illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Vice President Biden Focuses on Economy in China Visit

Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Beijing Wednesday, kicking off an itinerary that also includes stops in Japan and Mongolia. Biden is in China to hold meetings with Vice President Xi Jinping, who will assume leadership of the Communist Party next year.

The subject of economic uncertainty was prominent in the first day of the vice president’s visit. One commentator, an adviser to China’s central bank, wrote that the “United States has entered a long period of decline,” and other outlets have written on U.S. credit woes and the government deficit.

Border Attack Kills 7 Turkish Soldiers

Seven Turkish soldiers are dead after an attack near the border with Iraq. The attack, reportedly carried out by Kurdish rebels known as the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers’ Party), was described as an ambush on a convoy using roadside bombs. Eleven others were wounded.

The attack brings the number of Turkish soldiers killed since July to 30. The conflict in southeast Turkey, where the PKK claims autonomy, has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the last 26 years. The Turkish government has launched a fresh crackdown on the PKK, which maintains bases in Iraq, in an attempt to quell the attacks.

U.N. Publishes Hariri Assassination Indictment

A tribunal investigating the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri published its findings, implicating Hezbollah in the 2005 killing despite the group’s longstanding denials. Hezbollah had also decried the tribunal itself, characterizing it as being manipulated by the United States and Israel.

The assassination and subsequent investigation have been a point of tension in Lebanon between the government and the Shiite group, which has ties within Iran and Syria. Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, was killed in a bomb attack on his motorcade.

Libyan Rebels Locked in Battle with Gadhafi Forces in Zawiya

Libyan rebels, who claimed gains near Tripoli over the weekend, reported heavy fighting in the strategic city of Zaiywa on Wednesday as they clash with Moammar Gadhafi’s troops. Zawiya is located 30 miles from the capital of Tripoli, and opposition forces hope they can cut the government’s supply lines into Tripoli. NATO controls sea access.

A NATO commander described this week’s events as “the most significant anti-Gadhafi territorial gain we have seen in months.”

Libyan rebel fighters on August 15. Photo by Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images.