Archive for May 11th, 2010

May 11, 2010

Origin Energy to test Laos wildcat

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May 11, 2010

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, May 11 — Origin Energy Ltd., Sydney, and its partner Salamander Energy PLC plans to test secondary objective sands in the Bang Nouan-1 wildcat in Laos after log data indicated up to 25 m of potential net gas pay.

Bang Nouan-1 was drilled to 3,400 m. The gas shows were encountered in the secondary target Triassic age Kunchinarai Sandstones at 2,020 m.

The primary objective Pha Nok Khao formation was encountered below 3,300 m but found to be water-bearing.

The wildcat is a high-risk prospect with the nearest well some 100 km away.

Origin has a 30% interest in the Savannakhet production-sharing contract that contains the discovery. It farmed into the area as part of an agreement to take interests in five exploration blocks operated by Salamander in Laos, northeast Thailand, and Vietnam by funding the next $50 million of joint venture exploration and appraisal across the permits.

May 11, 2010

Human Rights Watch Laos calls to UN to help Lao people abroad to claim the legacy for their rights


/ Human Rights watch Laos calls to:

H.E. Mr Ban Ki-moon Secretary -General of the United Nations; and
H.E Dr Ali Abdussalam Treki General Assembly President of the 64th session of the United Nations.

to help Lao people abroad to claim the legacy for their rights to preserve Laos as a sovereign country.

Vietnam had always wanted to invade Laos similar way in 1959. The Lao Royal Government had submitted the request to the United Nations in that time.

This time Vietnam used the treaty in 1977 to control and invade Laos and all the are such as:
– Control Lao PDR government as advisors from the local authorities to the top jobs of government;
– Occupied Lao land as investors; and
– 70,000 soldiers were distributed from small villages to the precinct of the cities.

The movement of Lao people Abroad is starting to claim the rights for Lao people in the country.

Please support the peace plan of the International Lao Council for Reconciliation to preserve Laos in the world map.

Cry for Freedom in Laos, Rally in the Capital
Epoch Times Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Demonstrators gathered in front of the Embassy of Laos in Washington May 1 to protest the country’s communist regime, despite the 82 degree heat.

Near the anniversary of the communist overthrow of the Laotian monarchy in May 1975, demonstrators delivered speeches in English and Laotian over a loud speaker.

They condemned the illegal policies and practices, human rights abuses, and corruption that exist in Laos. Inside the embassy a camera was placed in the window to record the demonstration, a sign that their presence was known.

The demonstration was sponsored by the United League for Democracy in Laos, the Center for Public Policy Analysis, The Lao Veterans of America, and the Lao Human Rights Council of Wisconsin.

“The Vietnamese Military continues to dominate Laos,” said Phillip Smith, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C. “The Lao government is a puppet regime. It serves a pleasure of the politburo in Hanoi, and has no true autonomy. It continues to persecute and kill its own people including independent Christians, independent Buddhist, dissident Buddhist groups, and other religious and ethnic minorities, including of course Falun Gong members.”

An estimated 3,000 Lao Hmong seeking asylum in Thailand were repatriated against their will back to Laos on Dec. 28, 2009. In February this year, the Laotian government allowed U.S. and Thai officials, along with some news reporters, to visit the Hmong refugees in Ponkham Village, in Bolikhamxay Province.

They were not the first of the refugees forced to return to Laos, as the Lao Hmong Human Rights council calculates that a total of 8,000 Lao Hmong refugees and asylum seekers were forced back to Laos by Thai and Laos military officials from 2007-2009.

“Many of the Hmong men were beaten, subjected to food and sleep deprivation, in order to get them to sign the fake confessions that the communist officials seek in order to intimidate and silence the Hmong refugees in Laos, and spread fear and terror among their families,” said Vaugh Vang, director of the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council.

“The Laos officials, for propaganda reasons, want the Hmong to remain silent, or say only good things about the Laos government and their treatment.”

“Let me say that Vietnam continues to exploit Laos, both militarily and economically and that includes illegal deforestation, illegal logging in Laos, which is widespread. [They] have exploited the natural resources, and do not return the monies to the Lao people; instead they are in pockets of Communist Party bureaucrats, and military generals in Hanoi and in Swiss bank accounts,” said Smith.

He communicated the group’s plea for the immediate release of the 8,000 Lao Hmong refugees that were forced back to Laos in December and are being detained at various secret camps and other refugee camps in Laos, where international access has been denied. He called for the removal of Vietnamese troops and the removal of the security secret police from Laos. And he called for the Vietnamese government to respect the sovereignty and neutrality of Laos.

Smith specifically urged the immediate release of three ethnic Hmong-Americans who have been imprisoned in Laos and lost in the Laos gulag system.

The three, Hakit Yang, Congshineng Yang, and Trillion Yunhaison, were arrested and imprisoned by Laos military and security forces in August 2007 after traveling from St. Paul to seek potential business investment opportunities in Laos.

Dr. Sien Nie, vice president of the Alliance of Democracy in Asia, said his organization wanted to stand in solidarity with the demonstrators to “fight for human rights and human freedoms for Laos China, and other Asian troubled countries and regions.”

Human Rights Watch Laos calls upon Lao and Vietnamese authority to build the relationship that will mutually benefit the peoples of both countries.

Human Rights Watch Laos continues to call the Lao authority to set up a round table meeting between the Lao PDR and Lao Delegate Leaders Abroad ( “LDLA”) to seek national reconciliation, cease the ongoing conflict to restore peace. This is to be monitored by the international community.

Canberra, 11 May 2010
Bounkhong Arounsavat
President of Human Rights Watch Laos, Inc.

May 11, 2010

Rally Urges Release of Dissidents, Hmong Refugees


Tuesday, 11 May 2010, 3:33 pm
Press Release: Center for Public Policy Analysis

Laos Conference, Rally Urges Release of Dissidents, Hmong Refugees

Washington, D.C. and Bangkok, Thailand, May 11, 2010 Center for Public Policy Analysis

A demonstration at the Lao Embassy as well as a week-long series of policy events in Washington, D.C. were concluded today by Laotian-Americans. The events were held in cooperation with American policymakers, Members of Congress and non- governmental organizations (NGOs), and ended with a call for the release of hundreds of political and religious dissidents and thousands of Lao-Hmong refugees currently held in detention in Laos.

The withdrawal of Vietnamese troops, special security forces and Communist party advisors from the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (LPDR) was also discussed and stressed on Capitol Hill. The events were held concurrently with actions undertaken by the United Nations (UN) in reviewing concerns about human rights violations by the LPDR in Laos.

“We are here in front of the Lao Embassy in Washington, D.C., to protest the continued imprisonment of the Lao Students Movement for Democracy leaders of October 1999 as well as the peaceful protesters and dissidents from October and November of last year who continued to be imprisoned by Lao and Vietnamese military and security forces in Sam Khe prison and elsewhere in Laos,” said Bounthanh Rathigna, President of the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. (ULDL) at a human rights and pro-democracy demonstration held on May 1 in front of the LPDR Embassy in Washington, D.C

“Many Laotians and Hmong have been persecuted, tortured–or and have disappeared, or been killed–by Lao and Vietnamese security forces in Laos for merely expressing their political or religious views, peacefully protesting or practicing their faith,” Rathigna continued.

The demonstration in front of the Lao PDR Embassy as well as a national policy conference and meetings held in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Congress stressed the need for political change and reform as well as an open-society in Laos. Laotian and Hmong delegations from Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, Rhode Island, California, Pennsylvania and other states participated. The continued detention of Lao and Hmong political refugees as well as religious and minority dissidents was detailed and stressed.

The demonstration and policy events were hosted by the ULDL and cosponsored by the Laotian Community of Minnesota, the Lao Hmong Human Rights Council, the Lao Institute for Democracy, Hmong Advance, Inc., Hmong Advancement, Inc., the Center for Public Policy Analysis and others.

Mr. Rathigna continued: “Hanoi continues to engage in illegal logging and to economically and politically exploit the people of Laos with its open and clandestine military presence in Laos, as well as the brutal acts of oppression by its secret police, We want the corrupt generals from Hanoi and communist Vietnam, as well as Vietnam military owned companies, to withdrawal their terrible military forces from Laos and allow the Lao and Hmong people to live in peace and freedom… stop stealing the Laotian peoples´ natural resources and raping and destroying our forests and sacred lands.”

“The LPDR regime continues to hunt and brutally persecute Laotian and Hmong Christians, Animist leaders and many independent Buddhist groups as well as to deny the United Nations access to over 8,000 Lao Hmong refugees forced from Thailand to Laos from 2007-2009,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C. “The Lao Peoples Army, backed by corrupt generals in Hanoi, continues to engage in illegal logging in Laos and to hunt and kill Laotian and Hmong civilians as well as religious and political dissident groups hiding in the mountains of jungles of Laos, including many innocent people still trapped in various provinces in Laos.”

“We are also calling on the Lao government to grant international access to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to thousands of Lao Hmong refugees in Laos that were forced from Huay Nam Khao and Nong Khai, Thailand to Laos last year,” said Thongchanh Boulum, Secretary of the ULDL at the demonstration in front of the Lao Embassy. “The Lao government under the LPDR regime continues to engage in egregious crimes against humanity and violate its international commitments to the United Nations; the communist regime in Vientiane continues to persecute and to violate the human rights and religious freedom of the Lao and Hmong people with the help of corrupt military generals in Vietnam.”

“We need the LPDR regime in Laos to abide by its international agreements and stand up to the corrupt and bloody military bullies in Hanoi that are violating Laos´ national sovereignty and deploying their soldiers in Laos,” said Boun Boualaphanh, of the Lao Community of Minnesota.

Mr. Boualaphanh concluded: “The corrupt, one-party Stalinist regime in Laos has failed the Laotian and Hmong people who are suffering ongoing political and religious persecution. Laos continues to be dominated by corrupt military generals from the Lao Peoples Army and Hanoi who have impoverished the nation and destroyed much of its potential and many of its people. The LPDR regime should allow independent human rights monitors into Laos and to allow free and fair multiparty elections as called for in H.Res. 402, and H. Res. 1273, by the U.S. Congress and independent human rights and humanitarian organizations.”

“We want positive change and political reform in Laos, and an end to one-party military rule in Laos and the Lao Hmong refugee crisis that sadly continues to plague Laos as a result of the communist regimes´ oppressive authoritarian rule,” said Hompheng Southivong to Laotian delegates and policymakers at the Laos National Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.

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May 11, 2010

Vietnam Military Power Today

Stealth & wealth in Moscow: MAKS 2011 up above the world


Vietnam Legacy Shapes Today’s Military Leaders

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2011 – Tomorrow marks the 36th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War –- a conflict that claimed the lives of more than 58,000 Americans and continues to affect the United States, including its military leaders and current wartime operations.

The fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, marked the dramatic and painful culmination of the Vietnam War. The last of the dominos were laid when then-President Richard M. Nixon announced the end of offensive operations against North Vietnam after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords on Jan. 27, 1973. The accords called for a ceasefire in South Vietnam, but allowed North Vietnamese forces to retain the territory they had captured.

With nearly all U.S. forces gone, and Congress’ passage of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1974 that cut off military aid to South Vietnam, North Vietnam became emboldened. Its forces began a steady march southward toward Saigon, the South Vietnamese capital.

As the North Vietnamese closed in on Saigon, Operation Frequent Wind, the largest helicopter evacuation operation in history, commenced, moving tens of thousands of American military and civilian personnel from the city, along with thousands of South Vietnamese civilians.

On April 29, 1975, the North Vietnamese launched a heavy artillery bombardment that would become their final attack on Saigon. The city fell the following afternoon when a North Vietnamese tank crashed the gates of the presidential palace, accepting South Vietnam’s unconditional surrender.

Ho Chi Minh’s dream of a unified, communist Vietnam was fulfilled, and the city once known as Saigon today bears his name. Vietnam now celebrates April 30 as Reunification Day.

The Vietnam War cost millions of lives, including 58,267 Americans, with more than 300,000 U.S. servicemembers wounded in action and 1,711 missing in action.

The Vietnam War had a profound impact on today’s American military leaders, including Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. And in many ways, the lessons learned during the Vietnam conflict have shaped the way U.S. forces operate today, particularly in conducting counterinsurgency operations like those under way in Afghanistan.

Mullen, the highest-ranking U.S. military officer, is among the few people still on active duty who experienced Vietnam firsthand. Fresh from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968, he reported aboard the destroyer USS Collett for duty as an anti-submarine officer and participated in combat operations off the Vietnam coast.

Mullen speaks frequently about how the Vietnam War affected the nation and shaped him both personally and professionally.

“The Vietnam conflict was a life-defining experience for every American who lived during that era, and it continues to impact us all: the pain, the conflict, the healing,” he said during last year’s Memorial Day observance at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington. “The lessons we learned in Vietnam were bought at a very great price. Acting on them is the best tribute we can pay to honor those who died” — among them, some of Mullen’s own friends and Annapolis classmates.

While he was struck during that first assignment at the intensity of the conflict, Mullen said, he soon began to process just how divisive the war had become.

“What I take away from Vietnam is the detachment of the American people from the U.S. military — the disconnect and the unpopularity of the war,” he told U.S. News and World Report in April 2008.

Mullen frequently tells audiences he addresses that he had concerns during the early days of the war in Afghanistan that it would have the same polarizing effect. To his relief, he said at the Vietnam Memorial, Americans “are so incredibly supportive of our military men and women now.”

The chairman said he attributes the changed attitudes to the lessons learned from Vietnam about supporting troops unconditionally.

“During that time, as a country, we were unable to separate the politics from the people,” he said. “We must never allow America to become disconnected from her military. Never.”

Like most other current military leaders, Petraeus, commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, entered a military still healing from the Vietnam experience. Petraeus graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1974, a year before the fall of Saigon.

But Petraeus has studied the Vietnam experience thoroughly, even writing his doctoral dissertation at Princeton University on “The American Military and the Lessons of Vietnam.”

That dissertation, published in 1987, recognized the lasting impact the Vietnam experience would have.

“The legacy of Vietnam is unlikely to soon recede as an important influence on America’s senior military,” Petraeus wrote. “The frustrations of Vietnam are too deeply etched in the minds of those who now lead the services and the combatant commanders.

“Vietnam cost the military dearly,” he continued. “It left America’s military leaders confounded, dismayed and discouraged. Even worse, it devastated the armed forces, robbing them of dignity, money and qualified people for a decade.”

This experience, Petraeus wrote, left many military leaders overly cautious. Specifically, he said, many felt “they should advise against involvement in counterinsurgencies unless specific, perhaps unlikely circumstances” ensure domestic public support, the promise of a quick campaign and the freedom to use whatever force is needed to achieve rapid victory.

Later in his career, as he oversaw the revision of the military’s counterinsurgency field manual, Petraeus applied some of the lessons learned through the Vietnam experience.

That manual has become the guide for counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. It emphasizes that military power alone can’t succeed against an insurgency, and the importance of public diplomacy as part of a “comprehensive strategy employing all instruments of national power.”

Informed by the Vietnam experience, the strategy also recognizes that clearing and keeping the enemy from an area alone does not spell success. A critical third tenet, it notes, is the establishment of a legitimate government supported by the people and infrastructure development that empowers them.

After applying those principles — first while commanding U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and now as the top commander in Afghanistan — Petraeus said he is seeing this strategy bear fruit.

Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee last month the coalition in Afghanistan continues to face tough days against insurgents, but is making steady progress in improving security and helping the Afghan government improve governance, economic development and the provision of basic services.

“These are essential elements of the effort to shift delivery of basic services from provincial reconstruction teams and international organizations to Afghan government elements,” he told the panel.

As the transition approaches for Afghan forces to begin taking security responsibility for their country, Petraeus emphasized that actions being taken now in Afghanistan will have consequences for years to come –- just as those in Vietnam more than three decades ago.

“We’ll get one shot at transition, and we need to get it right,” he said.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus

Laos History from Vietnam:

Laotian Kingdoms In 1353, after Laos had first been ruled by Khmers from Angkor, then by Thais from Sukhothai, Prince Fa Ngoum founded the Kingdom of Laos or “Lane Xang”, as it was called at the time, as a sovereign state.

It extended over present-day Laos as well parts of what is now North Thailand. The first capital of Laos was Luang Prabang. King Fa Ngoum made Buddhism the national religion.
In the 15th century the Vietnamese temporarily occupied the Laotian Kingdom and Luang Prabang.
In the 16th century Vieng Chan (Vientiane) developed into a parallel capital of the Laotian Kingdom. Burma, the dominant power in Southeast Asia in the16th century, gaining strong influence over Vieng Chan. Nevertheless, in 1563 King Setthathirat made Vieng Chan the official capital of Laos.
In 1575, the Burmese occupied Vieng Chan and stayed for seven years.
After two parallel Laotian kingdoms had developed in Luang Prabang and Vieng Chan, they were reunited in 1591 under King Nokeo Koumane.
In 1700 Laos broke up into three kingdoms: Luang Prabang, Vieng Chan and Champassak to the South.
After the Siamese capital Ayutthaya had been conquered and sacked by Burmese armies, Laos, in 1767, again fell under full Burmese rule. But after only a few years the Siamese kingdom, with its new capital Bangkok, grew stronger and Laos again had to obey Siamese overlords.
In 1827 the Laotians under King Anou rebelled against the Siamese but were soon defeated. The Laotian state disintegrateed.

Colonial Times
In 1868, after having annexed South Vietnam as a colony and having turned Cambodia into a French protectorate, the French sent an initial expedition to Laos to investigate the Mekong trade route to China.
In 1886 France received permission from Siam largely ruling Laos to install a vice consulate in Luang Prabang. In 1887, Siam, anticipating French expansion, vacateds large parts of Laos.
In 1893 France declared the Mekong the official border between Laos and Siam. Might is right; Siam accepts the unilateral decision of big-gun France. Laos officially became a French protectorate.
However, France had only limited interest in her new possession. Paris sent Vietnamese officials to Laos to set up an administration but did little to develop the Laotian economy.
In September 1940, after France was invaded by Germany, Japanese troops occupied Indochina without meeting any resistance.
Officially the word was that the French colonial power left all military installation for the Japanese troops to use; in exchange the French colonial administration remained in office. Therefore the years of World War II brought less destruction to Laos than, for instance, to the fiercely contested Southeast Asian states of Burma and the Philippines.
In East Asia, World War II ended August 14, 1945, with the capitulation of Japan. Subsequently, France tried to re-establish herself as a colonial power in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.
On September 1, 1945, Laos declared its independence. France refused to accept this, and retaliated by sending troops into Laos. A guerilla war against the French colonial power started.

On July 19, 1949, France formally granted Laos independence. For almost three decades, from 1949 to 1975, the political situation in Laos was highly confusing. Three factions struggled for power:

1. Conservatives, commanding, among other forces, a 30,000-men army of the Hmong (Meo) hill tribe; 2. Neutralists, organized by Prince Souvanna Phouma; 3. Communists, lead by a feudal prince, Souphanouvang (a contradiction Marx had not anticipated).
The civil war among the three rival factions was, however, not fought as fiercely as the civil wars in Vietnam or Cambodia. Several times in three decades coalition governments were formed, including all three factions. The neutralists usually led the coalitions.
From 1964 to 1973 the US fought a secret war in Laos against Laotian communists as well as North Vietnamese troops channeling war material to the Vietcong in South Vietnam via the Ho Chi Min Trail through Laos.
After the US forces began their retreat from Indochina in 1973, the right-wing government in Vientiane was replaced by a coalition government of neutralists and the communist Pathet Lao.
In 1975, after communist troops conquered the capitals of Vietnam and Cambodia, the communist Pathet Lao gained sole power in Laos. While in Laos, too, parts of the population were detained in re-education camps, there wasn’t the kind of revenge as in Cambodia. Former neutralist Premier Minister Souvanna is not even arrested, just demoted in rank to government advisor.
In the following decades Laos cultivateed a close relationship with Vietnam. The most powerful man in communist Laos, General Secretary of the Revolutionary Party of the People, Kaysone Phomvihan, is half Laotian and half Vietnamese.
In March 1991, at the fifth congress of the Revolutionary People’s Party, far-reaching changes of the economic structure of the country were decided. As in China and Vietnam, private business, free-market competition and foreign investment are permitted in order to accelerate the economic development of the country. However, as in China and Vietnam, political leaders are not inclined to share power in a multi-party system.

May 11, 2010

GLOBAL MARKETS: European Stocks Fall; Bailout Reassessed

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By Michele Maatouk & Ishaq Siddiqi

LONDON (Dow Jones)–European stock markets were sharply lower Tuesday, along with the euro, as investors began to reassess the viability of the EUR750 billion euro zone rescue package.

“Yesterday’s strong rally following the euro-zone bailout announcement has halted as questions marks over whether the EUR750 billion amount will be enough,” said Dolmen Securities, “and while it addresses the sovereign liquidity issues, it does not help resolve the current solvency pressures facing many of the EU states.”

There were also concerns over potential fiscal tightening in China, after the country’s inflation data came in stronger than expected. “These figures will add fuel to the argument that China is struggling to control its inflation and will find it difficult to maintain price stability without undermining its growing economy,” Dolmen said.

By 1020 GMT, the Stoxx Europe 600 index had lost 1.5% to 250.28. London’s FTSE 100 index was down 1.7% at 5296.34, Frankfurt’s DAX index was 1% lower at 5960.28, and Paris’s CAC-40 index was down 1.8% at 3653.66.

And U.S. stock futures pointed to a sharply lower open on Wall Street. The DJIA front month futures contract was down 0.8% at 10,655, and S&P 500 futures contract was down 1% at 1145.3.

In Europe, banking and basic resources stocks bore the brunt of the selling, amid worries about what the austerity measures the individual countries would be forced to undertake in order to receive the cash would mean for growth going forward.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 basic resource index fell 3.3%, while the pan-European Stoxx 600 banks index was 3.1% lower.

Yet despite the decline in banking shares, the sector’s outlook was given some support following a research note by Morgan Stanley, in which the investment banking firm raised the European banking sector to in-line from cautious.

“We feel tail risks from counter-party concerns have been cut off by the EU/ECB’s major package to address sovereign liquidity and solvency. We see valuation support after continental banks have fallen approximately 13% year-to-date,” said Huw van Steenis, analyst at Morgan Stanley.

In the U.K., stronger-than-expected industrial output data for March were largely shrugged off by equity markets, as concerns over the euro-zone bailout package and post-election wrangling dented sentiment.

“Gordon Brown’s speech after the London market closed last night has added an extra dimension of confusion regarding the coalition government talks and raised concerns that these could drag on much longer than expected ??? it is maybe not too surprising that some investors have viewed the remnants of Monday’s bounce as an opportunity to sell and sit things out for now,” said David Jones at IG Index.

In line with the losses in the equity markets, the euro fell against the yen and dollar Tuesday amid the continued threat of more credit rating downgrades to fiscally troubled euro-zone members.

Moody’s Investors Service Inc. said overnight that it will likely make a “substantial” change to Greece’s A3 credit rating in the coming four weeks.

At 1040 GMT, the euro traded at $1.2689 and Y117.31, compared with $1.2775 and Y119.00 late Monday in New York. Meanwhile, sterling traded at $1.4761, weaker than $1.4864 late Monday in New York, helped by stronger-than-expected U.K. industrial production data but still off the $1.50 level seen before investors moved to price in the possibility of a minority coalition government led by the ruling Labour Party.

This followed Prime Minister Gordon Brown saying Monday he would quit in a bid to keep his party in power, opening the floor for formal discussions with the Liberal Democrats.

“If this is a sign of things to come over the next 4-5 years of a coalition government [for instance, lots of foot dragging] then it highlights at an early stage the reasons why a hung parliament in itself is not a trigger for a downgrade, but it does bring with it the conditions that could facilitate such action,” said Alan Clarke, economist with BNP Paribas.

Still to come on the economic calendar, U.S. wholesale inventories data are due at 1400 GMT.

In Asia, stocks markets ended lower as traders re-examined the EU’s bailout package. Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended down 1.1%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 1.4% and the Shanghai Composite dropped 1.9%.

Among other asset classes, the front-month June crude oil futures contract was down $1.14 cents at $75.66 per barrel on Globex, while spot gold was at $1213.00 per troy ounce, up around $11 from late New York Monday.

Elsewhere, the European sovereign debt markets were higher, rebounding after Monday’s sharp losses, with the June bund contract 0.70 higher at 126.19. However, the U.K. gilt market underperformed, as concerns over the makeup of the next government, and what this means as far as paying down the country’s debt, weighed.

At 1045 GMT, the June gilt contract was 0.15 lower at 116.03, rebounding off the lows after the first gilt auction since last week’s U.K. election met a surprisingly strong response Tuesday.

The U.K. Debt Management Office’s reopening of the 4.25% 2027 index-linked gilt resulted in a bid-to-cover ratio, a gauge of demand, of 2.47 times, data showed. That’s better than when the last time this type of gilt was sold last August when the bid-to-cover ratio was 1.88.

-By Michele Maatouk, Dow Jones Newswires; +44-20-7842-9447;

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