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Timeline: 2165



NEW YORK CITY, North American Alliance - Stocks plummeted to a two-hundred year low today, drastically continuing the four year-long slide that the market has been in since the collapse of the Pacific Rim Alliance's government in March 2162. The World Stock Market bottomed out at 3284.33 points, down 1798.37 from yesterday's closing, when the market closed at five o'clock.

Signs are becoming more and more plentiful that the global economy may not only be heading into a depression, but that it has been there for some time, kept with an appearance of health by overly optimistic trading. As a precautionary measure, food is being rationed to supermarkets and customers are being limited in their purchases.

The only stocks still moderately active in trading were technology interests, with SEA's stock down only three points, perhaps bolstered by the successful colonization of three more planets in the past seven months. New shipments of raw materials and food are expected in from the colonies in under a year, and hopes are that they will refresh the economy.

There has been a rash of suicides reminiscent of the Black Tuesday crash of 1929, in the past few months, and though no significant increase has been reported yet today, NAAEMA (North American Alliance Emergency Management Agency) and its sister agencies in other Alliances have been placed on alert.

The war in Japan and China is no doubt contributing to the market's downfall, as tech companies scramble to try to protect their assets from invading armies. Sony's Armed Defense Force has been involved in a standoff with the Royal Chinese Army for the past three weeks on Hokkaido, just outside of Sapporo at the company's headquarters.

Mitsubishi and Daimler-Toyota are facing similar crises near Tokyo, and though they are receiving support from the Japanese Army/Navy, the combined forces are incurring heavy losses as the sheer manpower of the CRA washes across the territory.

King Pao has ordered the CRA to stop its march once the Japanese territory is secure, in order to recoup losses and assimilate captured materials into the war effort. This is the first rest his troops will have had since they began their assault in 2161.

Malaysia and the Philippines have fallen in line with Pao, apparently out of fear of similar treatment, though as yet they have not been forced to war with the Japanese.

On the western front, the European Alliance forces have been unsuccessful in breaking through the Afghan or Mongol lines. The Russian Independence has continued to hold to its position of neutrality, though it is still allowing the EAAF to cross through its territory.

Several colonies, including New Earth and Centauri, have voiced their wishes to be left out of the war on Earth, and analysts are indicating that this withdrawal may be indicative of a larger movement. The growing independence of the colonies has the Alliances worried about the future security of their investments.

(Excerpted from: Intersector News Corp, Vol XIV, No. 71)

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