News Currents

EUROPE In Bulgaria, Communist Party General Secretary Peter Mladenov Monday called for free elections and an end to the constitutional guarantee of the party's monopoly on power. A Sofia court, meanwhile, legalized an environmentalist opposition group, Ecoglasnost. French Defense Minister Jean-Pierre Chev`enement said Monday France does not wish to intervene militarily against mercenaries running the Comoros Islands, but is prepared for the worst. The mercenaries are asking for safe passage to France.

ASIA AND MIDEAST

Great Britain yesterday began transporting Vietnamese boat people against their will back to Vietnam from Hong Kong. Egypt and Syria Monday agreed to resume air traffic between capitals for the first time since Egypt signed the Camp David accords in 1978. Vice President Dan Quayle Monday paid part of the US dues to the United Nations after the General Assembly canceled a vote to recognize the PLO as a state. In India, Jammu and Kashmir state authorities were still trying at press time to arrange a swap of five Kashmiri Muslim radicals for Rubiya Sayeed, the adult daughter of India's new home minister.

JUSTICE

The US Supreme Court Monday let stand the reversal of former Reagan aide Lyn Nofziger's influence-peddling conviction. The court also ruled that federal judges may help plaintiffs in class-action age-bias suits locate other possible victims; refused to hear a challenge to Iowa's mandatory seat-belt law; and said a defense contractor could not use the Freedom of Information Act to get documents used by the FBI in a probe of the company. In Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court banned the use of electronic lie detector tests in state criminal trials.

SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT

The National Geographic Society said Monday a year-long scientific analysis proves that Robert Peary did reach the North Pole in 1909 as he claimed. On the same day, a six-man international expedition became the second to reach the South Pole by dog sled. A federal judge Monday upheld the Northwest timber compromise approved by Congress, clearing the way for logging to resume on federal lands in Oregon and Washington. An Air Force Delta 2 rocket lifted off Monday, launching a military navigation satellite on orbit. National Park Service and US Forest Service officials Monday called Yellowstone National Park a ``natural treasure'' that needs better protection.

DRUG WAR

Former Bolivian Interior Minister Luis Arce Gomez was in federal custody in Miami yesterday after his extradition on drug charges Monday. A New York jury Monday convicted drug boss Howard Mason of racketeering for the 1988 death of a New York rookie policeman who was guarding a witness in a drug case. Federal agents in Phoenix Monday announced the seizure of more than 2 tons of cocaine with a wholesale value of $40 million.

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