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Emerging Markets Find They Feel Wall Street’s Pain

Emerging markets took one of their biggest collective tumbles in a decade Monday as stock markets from Mexico to Indonesia to Russia were gripped by fears of a meltdown in Europe’s banking system and concern that a global recession could drag down the price of commodities, forcing a steep slowdown in emerging-market growth.

Many of the world’s fastest-growing economies thought they had insulated themselves from problems in the developed world. But economists said that simultaneous turmoil in Europe and the United States was too much to bear. “The potential of a global recession is awakening emerging markets that they will be hit stronger than we thought before,” said Alfredo Coutino, a senior economist at Moody’s, the credit-rating agency.

At the beginning of the global trading day, Asian markets were hit by fears that weakening economies in the United States and Europe would increase the chances of a downturn in Asian exports. The Standard and Poor’s/Australian Stock Exchange 200 Index in Sydney declined 3.3 percent, the Nikkei 225 Index dropped 4 percent in Tokyo, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 5 percent.

Bush Offers An Implicit Campaign Message: ‘Judges Matter’

When he ran for office in 2000, President Bush vowed to appoint “more judges like Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia.” On Monday, the opening day of the Supreme Court’s new term, Bush came to the critical swing state of Ohio to remind Americans that he has lived up to that promise — and to make the case, if only obliquely, that so would Sen. John McCain.

“The lesson is clear: Judges matter to every American,” Bush told members of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, after ticking off a list of narrowly decided Supreme Court decisions, including two he regards favorably — one upholding a ban on the medical procedure critics call partial-birth abortion, and another overturning a ban on gun ownership in the District of Columbia.

“Our belief in judicial restraint is shared by the vast majority of the American people,” Bush said, adding that he had kept his pledge to “seek judges who would faithfully interpret the Constitution — not use the courts to invent laws or dictate social policy.”

Iraqi Christians Protest Election Law

About 75 Christians and others gathered at a church here on Monday to demand that the Iraqi parliament reinstate a section of an earlier version of the provincial elections law that ensured political representation for Iraq’s minorities.

The provision, which provided council seats for Christians and two other minority groups, was dropped before the parliament approved the elections law on Sept. 24.

“We have a question mark at this point about why our government is rejecting us,” said Thair al-Sheekh, a priest at Sacred Heart Church in Baghdad, who attended the late afternoon gathering. “They told us we don’t have a place in our government, and we don’t know why.”

Marwan Arkan, 20, said that the situation for Christians in Iraq was still perilous. Last week, he said, he was kidnapped by gunmen as he walked to Sacred Heart Church, where he works. The kidnappers held him for three days, he said, beat him and finally let him go, for reasons that were unclear to him.