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News briefs for Sept. 21

Bush team, Congress negotiate bailout

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration asked Congress on Saturday for the power to buy $700 billion in toxic assets clogging the financial system and threatening the economy as negotiations began on the largest bailout since the Great Depression.

The rescue plan would give Washington broad authority to purchase bad mortgage-related assets from U.S. financial institutions for the next two years. It does not specify which institutions qualify or what, if anything, the government would get in return for the unprecedented infusion.

Suicide bomb guts Marriott Hotel in Pakistani capital

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A massive suicide truck bomb gutted the heavily guarded Marriott Hotel in Pakistan’s capital Saturday, killing at least 40 people and wounding at least 250. Dozens more were feared dead inside the building that was still burning hours after the attack.

The targeting of the American hotel chain appeared to be one of the largest terrorist attacks ever in Pakistan and came at a time of growing anger in Pakistan over a wave of cross-border strikes on militant bases by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Palin to meet Afghan president Karzai next week

WASHINGTON — Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is scheduled to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai next week in New York, campaign officials for GOP nominee John McCain confirmed Saturday.

Karzai and other world leaders will convene in New York for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly. Both McCain and Palin planned to be in New York during that time, in part so McCain can introduce the Alaska governor to the foreign dignitaries assembled there.

–The Associated Press