News Currents

SOUTH AFRICA In Cape Town, South African President F. W. de Klerk announced yesterday that the Separate Amenities Act, which is used by white local governments to bar blacks from beaches, parks, libraries, swimming pools, buses, and other facilities, will be repealed when Parliament reconvenes Feb. 2.

LATIN AMERICA

In Brazil, conservative Fernando Collor de Mello at press time was leading left-wing populist Leonel Brizola with 25 percent of the vote to 18 percent in the first free presidential election since 1960. The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the CIA has launched a $3 million covert operation, with congressional approval, to overthrow Panamanian Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega. MIDEAST

In Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said tensions over Israel's conditional acceptance of a US peace plan had been eliminated in his meetings Wednesday with President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker III. Elsewhere, a previously unknown Lebanese group, the ``Organization of Just Revenge,'' said Wednesday it had kidnapped American Deborah Fahrend and two West German citizens.

NATURE AND ENVIRONMENT

A series of tornadoes swept through the South Wednesday, killing 19 people and injuring 300 in Huntsville, Ala. The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that toxic waste sites at 27 facilities belonging to the Defense and Energy Departments are being added to the priority list for the Superfund program.

FOREIGN POLICY

A foreign aid bill containing assistance to Poland and Hungary got sidetracked Wednesday by a dispute over abortion and the United Nations Population Fund. The Senate supports funding the UN agency, while the House is opposed. Polish union leader Lech Walesa appealed for US funds during his speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday. Meanwhile, Sen. David Boren (D) of Oklahoma says President Bush will probably accept the creation of an independent inspector general for the CIA.

CONGRESS

The Senate Wednesday voted to cut $1.1 billion from the president's $4.9 billion SDI proposal. The military spending bill also trimmed funding for the MX and Midgetman missiles and the B-2 Stealth bomber. Meanwhile, Congress rushed a temporary spending bill to the White House to keep government agencies from shutting down at close of business Wednesday. The stopgap measure was necessary because Congress has not yet approved all of the spending bills for fiscal year 1990. Rep. Bill Hughes (D) of New Jersey says the Labor Department may have a ``major problem looming'' in its handling of pension-fraud allegations. Mr. Hughes's subcommittee is investigating the department's procedures in such cases. The department disputes the warning.

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