ALSO OF NOTE IN THE USSR

* The Soviet Union, while apparently keeping its options open, has begun hinting at a possible boycott of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The official news media here have been highlighting the possibility that African states may decide not to show in 1984 to protest a US tour by the South African Springboks rugby team. One commentary hinted that the Soviets might join such a protest.

The article added that the US seemed to be arguing that sports and politics shouldn't be mixed, but that it evidently felt differently when boycotting Moscow's games last year.

* When it comes to diplomatic license plates, Soviet-Israeli relations seem to be taking a further turn for the worse.

Moscow cut formal diplomatic ties with the Israelis after the 1967 Mideast war -- but left open the Israelis' diplomatic automobile license plate, No. 6, presumably in case the two countries made up. Now reissuing plates to all embassies, the Soviets have given No. 6 to Spain.

Mideast politics being what they are, the Soviets and Israelis may someday reestablish diplomatic relations. But if they do, one diplomat here quipped, "It looks like the Israelis will have to stand in line for new tags."

* In tandem with its recent announcement of price hikes for vodka, gasoline, and various luxury items, the Soviet government quietly raised the cost of some fruits. Storekeepers say prices have gone up on oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and bananas in state shops.

Why weren't the increases announced with the other price hikes?

Western diplomats speculate the government may have had trouble squaring such a move with repeated official claims that basic food prices are stable here, and that grocery store inflation is a peculiar scourge of the capitalist West.

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