News Currents

MIDDLE EAST DEVELOPMENTS Oil prices rose and stock markets plummeted with Secretary of State James Baker III's announcement that his talks with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz failed to bring the Gulf closer to peace. UN Secretary General Javier P'erez de Cu'ellar will travel to Baghdad Saturday in an attempt to avert war. Meanwhile, the US Congress was prepared yesterday to debate resolutions authorizing the use of military force to oust Iraq from Baghdad (See stories, Pages 1 and 3).... Israel, hit by a growing trade gap and the staggering cost of settling Soviet Jewish immigrants, is considering borrowing $250 million from the International Monetary Fund for the first time since the 1970s.... The National Association of Arab Americans contended Wednesday that an FBI investigation targeting Arab Americans as potential terrorists who might support Iraq in a war was racist.

UNITED STATES

In New York, Justice Thomas Galligan sentenced Kharey Wise to five to 15 years in prison and Kevin Richardson to five to 10 years in juvenile hall for their actions in the April 1989 Central Park jogger rape attack.... In Los Angeles, a federal judge ruled unconstitutional a National Endowment for the Arts requirement that grant recipients pledge that NEA money will not be used for obscene works.... New data from the US and Great Britain obtained Wednesday show that 1990 was the warmest year on record, providing new evidence of a gradual warming trend.

EUROPE AND SOVIET UNION

The Soviet Army yesterday sent 1,000 paratroopers to Lithuania to capture deserters and enforce the military draft in the rebellious republic. Meanwhile, dozens of pro-independence supporters maintained watch on the parliamentary building to counter possible attacks by troops or pro-Moscow activists.... Poland yesterday turned back a Soviet train carrying armed troops and tanks from Germany to the Ukraine. Warsaw and Moscow are currently negotiating on transit arrangements for the 370,000 troops which the Soviet Union must withdraw former East Germany by 1994.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

In Nicaragua, the leftist Sandinista opposition joined with moderates from Violeta Chamorro's political alliance Wednesday to elect former Contra leader Alfredo Cesar president of the National Assembly.... In Panama City, hundreds protested Wednesday against the US military presence and the December 1989 US invasion that toppled strongman Gen. Manuel Noriega.

LOOKING AHEAD

Tuesday: UN Security Council deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait or risk military conflict with the multinational forces in Saudi Arabia.... Wednesday: Ten artists will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in New York.

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