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News In Brief

December 17, 1987

Gaza City, Occupied Gaza Strip

Israel said it sent in troop reinforcements yesterday to restore order in the occupied Gaza Strip as world criticism mounted over security measures that have killed at least 13 Palestinians. Despite the Israeli Army's attempt to contain the unrest, Arab reports said at least three Palestinians were shot and wounded and an Israeli soldier stabbed in the ninth straight day of violence in the occupied territories.

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Also yesterday, Israel's parliament began debating five left-wing motions of no confidence against the coalition government's tough handling of the unrest.

Iran and Iraq report more shipping attacks

An Iranian gunboat yesterday attacked a Greek-flagged tanker with rocket-propelled grenades in the southern Gulf. No casualties or severe damage was reported. Meanwhile, Iraq said its warplanes attacked three ships off Iran's coast in 13 hours.

Nearly 3 million tons of shipping has been sunk or written off in the Gulf since July in an escalation of attacks by Iran and Iraq, shipping analysts report. That raises the total of tonnage lost in the Gulf war to 10.86 million tons since 1981, according to statistics compiled by the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners.

Shultz says Soviets ready to debate embargo on Iran

Secretary of State Shultz said yesterday the Soviet Union has shown a new readiness to discuss a UN Security Council arms embargo against Iran. But he rejected a Soviet proposal to deploy a UN naval force in the Gulf, saying the Security Council should work first on an arms embargo resolution.

Mr. Shultz confirmed a report that the Soviet Union was demanding that the US and other Western governments accept the formation of a UN-flagged naval force to back any Security Council arms embargo against Iran.

Sugar import quota drops to 113-year low for US

The annual US sugar import quota will be further reduced by 25 percent in 1988 to a 113-year low of slightly more than 750,000 tons, the administration said Tuesday. Critics of the current US program say domestic sugar prices are kept artificially high, thus triggering greater production by American growers. That means not as much of the less expensive foreign sugar is needed each year.

Kenya and Uganda halt two-day border battles

Two days of shooting between Kenyan police and Ugandan soldiers across the border came to an abrupt end Tuesday night and the frontier was quiet yesterday. The unexplained cease-fire followed official statements by both sides denying responsibility for starting the border clashes and calling for a return to normal relations.

Bangladeshi chief offers opposition watchdog role

President Hussain Muhammad Ershad yesterday offered the opposition a role in supervising legislative elections just hours after about 30,000 people rallied in the city center to call for his ouster. President Ershad said he was willing to include two people nominated by the opposition on the country's election commission.

Opposition members, who say last year's presidential election was rigged, have said they will not take part in voting until Mr. Ershad resigns, but the President has refused.

Unrest in Haiti moves France to reduce aid

France said Tuesday it would reduce aid to Haiti because it was deeply concerned by continuing unrest in the former French territory. The French Foreign Ministry said the government had decided to cut its aid after hearing the report of a fact-finding mission that visited Port-au-Prince.