News Currents

ECONOMY The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the US economy grew by 3 percent in the third quarter, stronger than previously estimated. Market analysts say the Federal Reserve Bank is continuing to ease credit, bringing down interest rates. US industry sources say OPEC members are ignoring the cartel's recent production agreement, and are producing several million barrels a day above quotas. American Airlines, Trans World Airlines, and USAir Group cut fares Wednesday to match a fare cut announced Tuesday by Southwest Airlines. The US Conference of Mayors said Wednesday that hunger and homelessness rose steeply in the nation's cities during 1989.

EUROPE

During his visit to East Berlin, French President Mitterrand Wednesday voiced sympathy for German hopes for unity, but warned against changing stable postwar borders in Europe. The two Germanys announced a swap of 25 convicted spies Wednesday. The Vatican said Wednesday the Roman Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia will recover its autonomy after years of repression by hard-line Communist governments. Meanwhile, the Czechoslovak Communist Party elected former Prime Minister Ladislav Adamec as party leader, replacing Karel Urbanek, who had served for only a few weeks. The Hungarian parliament yesterday approved an austerity budget, opening the way for International Monetary Fund credits.

SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT

A National Academy of Sciences panel Wednesday urged the federal government to accelerate cleanup of highly toxic plutonium residues in exhaust ducts and criticized lax fire safety procedures at nuclear weapons plants. An article in the British journal Nature says an important biology discovery, the identification of the genetic trigger than makes a human embryo male, has been disproved by two new studies. A Soviet Progress rocket carrying the first US payload ever launched by the Soviets blasted off Wednesday. At Cape Canaveral, Fla., engineers abandoned attempts to launch a commercially developed Titan 3 rocket before Christmas and set a new launch date of Dec. 27.

ASIA

The Times of India said yesterday that a Pakistani delegation will arrive in India soon to arrange a meeting between Indian Prime Minister V.P. Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. China Wednesday announced the purchase of 410,000 metric tons of subsidized US wheat worth $62.5 million. Chinese authorities have arrested Hong Kong businessman Luo Haixing on charges of helping pro-democracy activists escape, his wife said yesterday. Philippine communist rebels declared a Christmas cease fire yesterday and suggested they were ready to resume peace talks with President Aquino's government. In southern Sri Lanka, more than 170 young men were killed in a 24-hour period yesterday as pro-government vigilantes pursued left-wing rebels. It was not clear who was responsible.

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