News Currents

EUROPE In the Soviet Union, the Estonian Communist Party chief, Vaino Valjas, told an interviewer Sunday that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had offered to resign at the weekend meeting of the party Central Committee after hearing calls to slow down his reform program. But most of those present supported Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Valjas said. In Sofia, Bulgaria, 60,000 citizens marched Sunday in the capital's main square to demand political reforms. Secretary of State James Baker III arrived in London yesterday at the beginning of a tour to discuss the changes with East Europe with West European leaders.

UNITED STATES

The Washington Post said yesterday that the Defense Department told President Bush in May that Moscow was reducing its military budget, but that he and his advisers continued until last month to assert the Kremlin was increasing defense spending. Leaders of 10 Protestant religious bodies issued a statement Sunday deploring the tone of the abortion debate and saying the nation must find a way to preserve ``choice'' while promoting the value of human life. In New York, 4,500 homosexual and women's rights activists demonstrated outside St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral Sunday during mass to protest church policies on AIDS, homosexuals, and abortion. About 100 were arrested for attempting to disrupt services.

ASIA

In Tokyo, US national security adviser Brent Scowcroft briefed Japanese leaders on his visit to China and received their backing for US policy (see Page 5). In India, the Jammu and Kashmir state Cabinet held an emergency session on whether to free five Muslim radicals in exchange for the life of the kidnapped daughter of India's home minister. There were conflicting reports on the progress of talks with the kidnappers. Left-wing Sinhalese rebels killed about 40 people Sunday in an outbreak of violence across Sri Lanka. South Korea announced yesterday it will freeze the pay of high government officials next year as part of efforts to curb labor strife that is hurting economic growth.

LATIN AMERICA

In Argentina, the government Monday devalued the currency by 53.8 percent and raised the price of gasoline 59 percent as part of a new austerity plan. The presidential campaign in Chile ended with an opposition rally which drew 1 million people. Elections will be held Thursday. Salvadoran rebels offered a new peace plan at the five-nation Central American summit yesterday, but President Alfredo Cristiani quickly rejected it. Jesse Jackson announced Sunday he will travel to El Salvador to call for an end to the civil war and seek release of American church worker Jennifer Casolo, who is being held on charges of aiding the rebels. In Nicaragua, one person was killed during violence which erupted between opposition supporters and Sandinistas Sunday at an opposition rally in a rural area.

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