Washington — The International Monetary Fund yesterday said it established a new $8.4 billion pool of money to help prop the shaky financial underpinnings of some of the world's poorest countries. The new money from several member nations will be added to the $3 billion that the IMF has to help struggling poor nations. The US did not participate citing its large budget deficit.
Approval of the new money, to be called the enhanced structural adjustment facility, followed hard-fought negotiations on how the money would be raised and what conditions would be set for the loans.
Fire at MX missile plant kills four, wounds another
A fire that broke out yesterday at a building in Brigham City, where work on a stage of the MX missile is done, killed four workers and critically burned a fifth, company officials said. A spokesman for the company said the cause of the blaze at the Morton Thiokol Inc. building was not known.
The fire was put out immediately, but the building was destroyed.
Ortega and Obando meet to break talks' stalemate
Nicaraguan President Ortega met Miguel Cardinal Obando y Bravo yesterday to try to break the deadlock in peace talks between the government and the contras. Two of the points that have stalemated the peace talks are where to have the next round and whether they should be ``face to face.''
Police say Syrian troops ready for Israeli attack
About 700 Syrian troops have taken up positions opposite Israel's ``security zone'' in southeast Lebanon in anticipation of Israeli retaliation for a Palestinian guerrilla raid, police said yesterday. They said the force is equipped with Soviet-made arms.
Also yesterday, police reported four unidentified men were killed in Muslim West Beirut. No additional details were available at press time.
Plane crashes in Iran; `technical faults' blamed
A plane crashed into a residential area yesterday while trying to land at Tehran's Mehradad airport, killing or wounding ``several people,'' Iran's official radio reported. The Tehran radio report did not disclose the number of casualties or say what type of plane crashed. It said only that the training plane ``developed technical faults,'' while returning to the airport after a test flight.
Strikers and police clash in Bangladeshi rioting
Witnesses said at least 30 people were injured in clashes with police yesterday during an eight-hour nationwide strike called by the opposition to press for the resignation of President Ershad. Police fired tear-gas shells and charged strikers near the main mosque and the downtown district and arrested many demonstrators, said the witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Separately, a ferry crowded with about 150 people caught fire and sank Monday in a small, shallow river in southern Bangladesh, injuring at least 11 people, officials said yesterday.
Angola military reports South Africa bombings
South African planes have bombed Army positions and towns in southern Angola, killing 15 civilians, despite Pretoria's claim it was withdrawing its forces, the Angolan news agency Angop said yesterday. Citing military sources, the official agency said South African forces violated Angolan air space 10 times and bombed villages at least 12 times from Dec. 20 to Dec. 27. No other details were reported.
California judge blocks abortion-consent law
A judge Monday blocked California from enforcing a new law requiring females under 18 to get parental consent before obtaining an abortion. Superior Court Judge Morton Colvin granted the injunction sought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of doctors and family planning groups, which contended the legislation violated the pregnant females' right to privacy.
The injunction blocks enforcement of the law until a trial on its constitutionality. California officials said the state would likely appeal.
S. Korean auto companies plan to increase exports
South Korea's three main automobile companies said yesterday they plan to increase exports by 23.4 percent next year. The export targets total 679,000 vehicles, up from 550,000 vehicles in 1987. Hyundai Motor Company, Daewoo Motor Company, and Kia Motors Corporation also announced 1988 domestic sales goals totaling 660,000 vehicles, up 57.9 percent from this year's combined sales.
Korea's annual auto production will exceed 1 million vehicles for the first time next year, if the export and domestic targets are attained.
New selling hits dollar as value continues decline
New selling hit the dollar yesterday and alarm over a decline to its lowest levels since World War II caused a further retreat on London and New York stock exchanges. In early afternoon in Europe, the dollar hit a new low of 1.5865 West German marks. It traded around 123 Japanese yen, just above a historic low Monday of 122.75.
Bennett proposes ideal high school
Secretary of Education William Bennett proposed his vision of the ideal high school yesterday in Washington. The curriculum is traditional and prescriptive. It would require four years of high school English, three years of social studies, math, and science, and two years study of a foreign language for all students. Every American teen-ager would take 36 required courses, from algebra and art history to science and Western civilization. The report is not intended as a statement of federal policy. Called ``James Madison High School,'' Secretary Bennett's plan is a sequel to his previous report on elementary education, ``First Lessons,'' and it builds on that vision of education for grades 9-12.
``The better schools in the country already offer the kind of curriculum that he's talking about,'' says Scott Thomson, executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, who questions the omission of business or vocational courses. ``It's important to keep kids in school who are not going on to college.''
For the record
Six Haitian officials from the Duvalier regime and two other people have registered so far to run in government-organized presidential elections in January, a judicial official said Monday. Kenya and Uganda have agreed to solve their border dispute peacefully and allow normal traffic to resume immediately between the two countries, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said Monday.
Kim Dae Jung, who split South Korea's opposition vote with Kim Young Sam in a recent presidential election, yesterday ruled out a reconciliation with his rival before 1988 parliamentary elections.
China's gross national product will exceed $270 billion this year, up 9 percent from 1986, China's official news agency said yesterday.
Arkansas authorities have found 16 people who were killed in one of the worst mass murders in the US this decade. The prime suspect in the killings, R. Gene Simmons, was ordered held without bond.