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What was happening in the world the last time the market was this low

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a bone-wrenching 6763.29 points yesterday amid news of failing Eastern Europe, faltering U.S. GDP, flinching Citigroup, flailing AIG, and lots more fun that you're no doubt aware of. So what was happening in the world the last time the stock market hit this point? It was April 25, 1997.

Some of the highlights from the 6763 days:

  • Then-U.S. President Bill Clinton warned Japan that its economic reform and deregulation was happening far too slow -- and the resulting trade surplus with the U.S. was growing much too large. (These days, I have a feeling Japan would gladly return to a trade surplus without hesitation!) Contrary to the looks of the image above, this did not result in a cane-fought brawl between the two leaders... Clinton just enjoyed using his crutches...
  • For the first time since the 1960s, Chrysler announced it would open assembly plants outside the United States (in Argentina and Brazil) -- with the ambitious goal to sell 20 percent of its market share internationally. (Not a bad move -- these days, overseas markets are the kindest to the carmaker.)
  • Researcher Jonathan B. Tucker, who just weeks earlier was dismissed from a White House panel, said that he believed chemical weapons had been used against U.S. forces in Iraq during the Gulf War. (The passage of time says: correct!)
  • In defiance of U.S. policy, the French signed an accord solidifying their economic ties with Cuba. (Sorry, Clinton! C'est le travail!)
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

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Morning Brief: An olive branch to Russia

Top Story

Barack Obama wrote a secret letter to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in February, indicating a willingness to compromise on the proposed missile defense shield in Eastern Europe in exchange for cooperation on Iran, the New York Times reports. Senior U.S. officials have confirmed that "The letter touched on a range of subjects, including missile defense and how it relates to the Iranian threat."

The letter, which was hand delivered to Medvedev by Obama administration officials, reportedly states that the missile defense system will not be needed if the Iranian nuclear threat can be neutralized with Russian help. The letter also suggests areas for cooperation on Afghanistan, the Middle East and arms control. Russia has not yet responded to the offer, but the two leaders are scheduled to meet in person for the first time in early April.

Middle East

While visiting Israel, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton reaffirmed the United States' commitment to a two-state solution. Nathan Brown thinks it's time for Plan B.

Clinton told an Arab foreign minister that it's "doubtful" that Iran will respond to U.S. offers of negotiations.

International donors have pledged $4.48 billion to rebuild Gaza.

Asia

Sri Lanka's cricket team was attacked by gunmen in Lahore, Pakistan.

The United States' new North Korea envoy Stephen Bosworth arrived in Beijing to being work reviving the stalled six-party talks.

An aide to Japanese opposition leader Ichiro Ozawa has been convicted of bribery.

Americas

Congressional Democrats are cracking down on tax havens.

U.S. stocks hit a 12-year low on Monday.

Raul Castro has ousted two top officials who were loyal to his brother Fidel.

Africa

The head of Guinea-Bissau's parliament will become interim president after Monday's presidential assassination. 

Tanzania has launched a campaign to prevent the widespread murder of albinos.

A prominent Rwandan minister has been convicted of genocide.

Europe 

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is in Washington to meet with Barack Obama.

Vladimir Putin's United Russia party dominated local elections in Russia.

Poland has renewed its commitment to early entry into the Eurozone.
 
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images