News Currents

ENVIRONMENT The Environmental Protection Agency has given 16 states one year to tighten air quality requirements and bring 36 urban areas into compliance with federal clean air standards. The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to let states continue setting unlimited liability for oil spill cleanups. In Miamisburg, Ohio, an accident during an experiment at a nuclear weapons plant caused a leak of tritium gas, contaminating four workers.

CONGRESS

The Senate Wednesday sent to the President a bill providing $17.2 billion in reparations for Japanese-Americans interned during World War II. A debate over vouchers is holding up a last-ditch effort by House and Senate conferees to finish work on a child care bill. Conservatives support the vouchers, which parents could use to pay for day care at churches and parochial schools, while liberals oppose them. Witnesses told a House panel Wednesday that trucks are hauling garbage into the Midwest and then carrying food back east with little or no cleaning in between.

US-ASIA

Philippines President Corazon Aquino was scheduled to meet yesterday with President Bush, Secretary of State James Baker, and congressional leaders to discuss trade and investment. US negotiators said at the conclusion of US-Japanese trade talks Wednesday that they were disappointed with the lack of progress in gaining greater access to Japanese financial markets for US firms. In Honolulu, Mr. Baker said Wednesday the US had achieved its objectives in the inaugural meeting of a new Asian-Pacific economic forum in Australia this week. The new body, Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), agreed to meet again in Singapore next year.

LATIN AMERICA

In London, Amnesty International said yesterday that Nicaraguan troops have summarily executed dozens of unarmed peasants during operations against the contras, while rebel abuses against civilians have dropped. Peace talks were to begin yesterday between the Sandinista government and the contras at the United Nations in New York. Haitian businesses and schools were closed yesterday and Wednesday in a strike to protest the arrest and beating of the opposition leaders by police. Meanwhile, subway workers and bus drivers in Buenos Aires struck to press pay demands. President Carlos Sa'ul Memem denounced the strike as ``irresponsible.'' Salvadoran guerrilla commanders Wednesday accused the government of blocking peace talks and said they would intensify the civil war.

NATURE

Tornadoes and torrential rain swept through the South Wednesday evening, causing floods and at least two deaths. A cyclone struck India's southwestern coast Thursday, killing at least 11 people and leaving thousands homeless. The storm hit Thailand Wednesday as Typhoon Gay, causing 169 deaths.

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