Stocks Fall Over Fear of Greek Default, 3 Awarded Nobel Prize for Study of Immune System

BY News Desk  October 3, 2011 at 8:26 AM EST

Fears over Greece’s debt crises drove stocks in Europe and Asia down Monday after Greece acknowledged over the weekend that it would not be able to meet its goals for deficit reduction, cuts which are part of the bailout package from other European nations and the International Monetary Fund. The Euro Stoxx 50 index was down 1.9 percent Monday afternoon and Nikkei 225 closed down 1.8 percent.

A decision on whether or not to release further bailout funds to debt-ridden Greece will be made on Oct. 13. Efforts by the Greek government to cut costs — especially in public sector payroll — have sparked protests and strikes in recent months, but leaders insist the austerity measures are necessary to stave off a default.

According to the New York Times,

Finance ministers from the 17-nation euro group were to meet Monday night in Luxembourg, but it was unlikely that a decision would be made on whether to release the next tranche of Greece’s bailout package. “Whatever the outcome will be, the confusion and uncertainty will certainly not help calm the market’s volatility,” analysts at Milan-based Mediobanca Securities wrote in another note.

Nobel Prize Awarded to Scientists for Study of Immune System

This year’s Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded to a trio of scientists — Bruce Beutler of the United States, Ralph Steinman of Canada and Jules Hoffmann of Luxembourg — for their study of the immune system. The committee praised the scientists for having “revolutionized understanding of the immune system by discovering key principles for its activation” and for finding “new avenues for prevention and therapy.”

Steinman is credited with discovering the infection-fighting dendritic cell. Hoffmann and Beutler are credited with discoveries related to the so-called Toll gene that helps activate the immune system.

Rockefeller University, where Steinman worked, released a statement on Monday saying he had died Friday. The university said he “was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four years ago, and his life was extended using a dendritic-cell based immunotherapy of his own design.”

Nobel Prizes are typically not given out posthumously, the Associated Press reported: “Nobel committee member Goran Hansson said the Nobel committee didn’t know Steinman was dead when it chose him as a winner and was looking through its regulations.”

Hostage Standoff in Iraqi Police Station

Four militants disguised in police uniforms stormed a police station in Iraq’s Anbar Province, prompting a three-hour standoff that killed at least three people. Iraqi security forces raided the building, freeing dozens of people still held inside. All of the gunmen were killed; two blew themselves up during the raid.

According to the Associated Press,

Four insurgents wearing police uniforms with explosive vests underneath, armed with grenades and pistols with silencers, walked into the police station in al-Baghdadi around 9 a.m., said Brig. Mohammed al-Fahdawi of the Iraqi Army’s 7th Division in Anbar province. Because the gunmen were wearing police uniforms, they were not searched, he said.

Anbar Province has struggled with Sunni militants targeting the government, which is considering requesting an extension of U.S. forces in Iraq beyond the scheduled withdrawal at the end of this year.

Arsonists Burn Mosque in Northern Israel

Arsonists torched a mosque in the largely Arab village of Tuba-Zangria in northern Israel, sparking protests by an estimated 200 local residents. Jewish radicals, involved in other recent mosque arson incidents, are believed to be responsible.

According to his office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attack “ran counter to the values of the state of Israel.” Security was increased in the northern part of the country to prevent further attacks.

Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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