News Currents

CHAD Rebel forces led by Gen. Idriss Deby have taken control of the Chad capital N'djamena and are cooperating with French troops to maintain order, a French official evacuated from the central African country said yesterday. Chad's President Hissene Habre fled to neighboring Cameroon. Deby's men imposed a dusk to dawn curfew to stop large-scale looting, and are helping French troops to lead foreign evacuees safely to assembly points.

MIDDLE EAST DEVELOPMENTS

At Camp David, President Bush Saturday conferred with top military advisers on Iraq's conditional acceptance of his offer for direct talks on the Persian Gulf crisis. Bush Friday offered to meet in Washington with the Iraqi foreign minister and to dispatch Secretary of State James Baker to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Baghdad accepted Bush's proposal on the condition that the Arab-Israeli conflict be included.... In Jerusalem, half a million public workers shut down Israel's main airport, radio and TV stations, schools, and government offices yesterday, demonstrating over wage cuts and new taxes. The Israeli Treasury, trying to absorb a flood of Soviet newcomers, wants to reduce the minimum wage and is seeking a 20 percent levy on pension benefits.... Iran's opposition Mujahideen Khalq yesterday said it had asked the UN to investigate the secret executions of 40 of its members by Tehran since 1988.

EUROPE

The Soviet troops guarding former East German Communist leader Erich Honecker refused to allow German police to arrest him on manslaughter charges yesterday. Berlin's Justice Department Saturday issued a warrant for the arrest of the former Communist Party chief, citing evidence that he gave the shoot-to-kill order that led to 190 deaths at the Berlin Wall and East-West German border.... Germans voted yesterday in their first free nationwide elections since 1932. Conservative Chancellor Helmut Kohl looked set to win a convincing victory.... Leningrad and two other major Soviet cities started rationing food Saturday but many shops remained empty because of distribution problems, panic buying, and black-market dealing.... French and British workers with jackhammers Saturday broke through a thin membrane of chalk marl 130 feet beneath the surface of the English Channel to open an artery linking their two countries.

UNITED STATES AND CANADA

The space shuttle Columbia roared off its Cape Canaveral launch pad for a 10-day star-gazing mission early yesterday.... Sen. James Sasser, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Saturday called on President Bush to impose a special income tax to finance war in the Persian Gulf if fighting breaks out.... In Montreal, three people pulled off one of Canada's biggest robberies early Saturday, robbing a private plane escaping with nearly C$16 million in gold ingots, securities, and cash.

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