News Currents

MIDDLE EAST DEVELOPMENTS Iraqi President Saddam Hussein yesterday told the National Assembly that all foreign hostages in Iraq and Kuwait were to be freed immediately. There are more than 2,000 Westerners and Japanese in Iraq and occupied Kuwait and about 3,300 Soviet citizens.... The 46-member Islamic Conference Organization yesterday the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for the protection of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Meanwhile, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, and the PLO agreed that the Palestinian cause should be on the bargaining table in Gulf talks with the United States.... The US Wednesday indicated it was willing to back Security Council proposals for an international peace conference concerning the Gulf.... Egyptians yesterday held runoff elections that are certain to return the ruling National Democratic Party to parliament.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

In Dhaka, Bangladeshi President Hussain Muhammad Ershad yesterday resigned and handed over power to an opposition-led caretaker government, saying he hoped to quell the violent demonstrations against his rule.... Philippine troops yesterday stepped up security around key installations because of threats of labor union violence following a 45 percent rise in oil prices. Two previous coup attempts against President Corazon Aquino were launched after oil price rises.... US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Teresita Schaffer arrived in Pakistan yesterday to open crucial talks over Washington's suspicions that Islamabad is developing nuclear weapons. The bruising nuclear dispute led to the US suspending all military and economic aid.... In India, police yesterday made hundreds of arrests as Hindu militants swarmed through the sacred city of Ayodhya in a campaign to reclaim a disputed shrine.

EUROPE

In Brussels, trade ministers from 107 nations yesterday sought to avert the collapse of world trade talks threatened by a bitter dispute between the US and the European Community over farm subsidies.... NATO defense ministers met yesterday in Brussels to map out a new strategy for the post-cold war era and devise ways of retaining effective conventional and nuclear defenses on a smaller budget..... Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey has come out against a move by the left-wing Workers Party to change the country's Constitution.... Uranus may have up to 25 more moons than have been previously seen, British astronomers predicted.

LOOKING AHEAD

Monday: Awards ceremony for Nobel Economics, Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, and Literature awards, in Stockholm.... Wednesday: Trial of suspects in the killing of Brazilian environmentalist Chico Mendes, in Brazil.... Thursday: Conferences on European monetary union and European political union, in Rome.

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