News Currents

UNITED STATES The operator of the Seabrook nuclear plant has hailed a federal appeals court ruling Friday approving the facility's full-power license, saying it would help reduce New England's dependence on Middle East oil.... One of the nation's most restrictive abortion bills -- seen as an across-the-country challenge to abortions-on-demand -- was signed into law Friday by Utah's governor, prompting abortion-rights advocates to call for a boycott of the state.... Antiwar protests drew their biggest crowds yet in Washington and San Francisco over the weekend, a tangible counterpoint to polls showing Americans continue to overwhelmingly support the US-led Gulf war against Iraq.... The White House rushed a team of oil-spill experts to the Persian Gulf Saturday to help control the huge slick in the Persian Gulf triggered by Iraq.

EUROPE

Czechoslovakia's first auction of state-owned small businesses got off to a roaring start Saturday, with some concerns fetching up to 70 times the asking price. Eighteen small companies - mainly food stores, grocers, and textile shops - were offered to the highest bidder at Prague's City Hall.... Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has tightened central control over industry and public order, with directives for the military to patrol city streets and the KGB and the interior ministry to scrutinize business activity. Premises of any business can be entered to carry out audits on their stocks, accounts, or cash.... A bomb destroyed the ground floor of the Paris newspaper Liberation early Saturday in the first terrorist attack in France since the start of the Gulf war. The explosion caused only slight injuries to three private guards.... Croats massed in the center of Zagreb Saturday in a show of national pride after being told by their leaders that they had narrowly averted war with the Yugoslav Army.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

A Chinese court sentenced five prominent pro-democracy activists to prison Saturday, giving top student leader Wang Dan a four-year term to reward his ``confessing his own crimes and exposing others.'' Veteran human rights activist Ren Wanding was given seven years in prison because he was ``showed no repentance'' the state-run Xinhua news agency said.... North Korea's Foreign Ministry Saturday condemned South Korea's decision to proceed with joint military exercises with the US and said they could hinder peace talks. Such joint military exercises have been held annually since 1976.... President Corazon Aquino should not run for a second term, but hand over power to a young man with the vision to steer the Philippines toward economic progress, Cardinal Jaime Sin said over the weekend. Aquino, who has survived six coup attempts during her almost five years in power, has said repeatedly that she will not run again, but some politicians believe she might change her mind.

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