News Currents

ARMS CONTROL Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze told the Soviet parliament Monday the Soviet Union is willing to negotiate an end to NATO and the Warsaw Pact and to eliminate its overseas bases by the year 2000. Shevardnadze also criticized the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and admitted that the Krasnoyarsk radar installation violates the US-Soviet Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and will be dismantled. In San Francisco, US Secretary of State James Baker III called reduction of first-strike nuclear weapons his top goal in completing a new arms control treaty.

NUCLEAR SAFETY

The congressional General Accounting Office said Tuesday that the Energy Department underestimated or ignored health and safety problems at the Rocky Flats, Colo., nuclear weapons plant while giving the operator, Rockwell International Corporation millions of dollars in bonuses. A new contractor is taking over the plant Jan. 1. In Washington, government documents show that three electric utilities in North Carolina, New Jersey, and Nebraska admitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last spring that they made deals with nuclear plant workers that could be interpreted as rewarding them for not reporting possible safety problems. Texas officials say an underground cavity in a salt dome where nuclear weapons were tested in the 1960s may be leaking radioactive materials.

INDUSTRIAL SAFETY

A fire continued to burn out of control Tuesday at a Phillips Petroleum Company plastics plant in Pasadena, Texas, after a series of explosions Monday that hurled debris five miles. At least one worker was killed, more than 100 were injured, and 23 were missing. In Anchorage, Alaska, Exxon Corporation is suing the state of Alaska, charging that the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound was hindered by the state's opposition to the use of oil-dispersing chemicals.

POLITICS

California Gov. George Deukmejian (R) said Monday he will call a special session of the Legislature to evaluate earthquake damage and pass relief measures. These could include temporary sales or gasoline tax increases, the governor said. In New York City, new polls show that Republican mayoral candidate Rudolph Giuliani may now be only 4 points behind Democrat David Dinkins. Mr. Dinkins had held a 19-point lead a few weeks ago. Questions about Dinkins's personal finances may be a factor. The Massachusetts House of Representatives approved a Senate bill Monday banning discrimination against homosexuals in housing, employment, and credit. Gov. Michael Dukakis (D) has said he will sign the bill, which now goes back to the Senate for final approval. Only Wisconsin has similar legislation. A poll of District of Columbia voters shows more than half think embattled Washington Mayor Marion Barry (D) should resign. In Florida, former federal judge Alcee Hastings entered the 1990 governor's race Monday, just three days after the US Senate removed him from the bench.

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