By Samuel Shen and Brenda Goh SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese stocks plunged on Wednesday after the country's securities regulator warned investors were in the grip of "panic sentiment" and the market showed signs of freezing up as firms scrambled to escape the rout by having their shares suspended. Beijing, which has struggled for more than a week to bend the market to its will, unveiled yet another battery of measures to arrest the sell-off, and the People's Bank of China said it would step up support to brokerages enlisted to prop up shares. With another round of margin calls forcing leveraged investors to dump whatever shares could find a buyer, blue chips that had been supported by stabilization funds earlier in the week bore the brunt.
Serena Williams fired a warning to Maria Sharapova ahead of their Wimbledon semi-final clash as the world number one admitted she saves her best performances for clashes with her fiercest rival. Williams and Sharapova meet on Thursday in the latest instalment of a bitter rivalry that took root on Centre Court in 2004 and still festers more than a decade later. Sharapova caused one of the great Wimbledon shocks 11 years ago when, aged just 17, she defeated Serena in the final to claim her first Grand Slam title.
By Kay Johnson ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The first officially acknowledged peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul ended with an agreement to meet again after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Pakistan said on Wednesday. Pakistan hosted the meeting in a tentative step towards ending more than 13 years of war in neighboring Afghanistan, in which the Taliban have been fighting the government in hopes of re-establishing their hard-line Islamist regime that was toppled by U.S.-sponsored military intervention in 2001. The talks were hailed as a "breakthrough" by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.