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News Currents

By David Mutch / February 1, 1991



WAR IN THE GULF British and other allied forces sank four Iraqi patrol boats, left four burning, and badly damaged 12 others in a drive Tuesday and Wednesday to eliminate any threat in the northern Persian Gulf to allied shipping. The boats carry the potent Styx and Exocet missiles.... The US is blanketing Iraqi troops from the air with 5 million leaflets in Arabic and English telling them how to surrender.... The US military has handed over 36 Iraqi prisoners of war to the Saudi Arabian military in the first such transfer of prisoners in the two-week-old Gulf war, the Pentagon said Thursday.

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UNITED STATES AND CANADA

The US was busy diplomatically late this week trying to convince everyone the war is on a firm course and is not linked to the longstanding Arab-Israeli dilemma. Israel has criticized release of a joint US-Soviet statement from Tuesday, without consultation with Tel Aviv, that pledged superpower cooperation in settling all Mideast problems if Iraq would pull out of Kuwait.... Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan said a prolonged war in the Gulf could abort a rapid recovery of the slumping US economy and cause a long and deep recession, the New York Times reported Thursday.... Democrat Dan Blue has been elected speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, making him the first black named as presiding officer of the Southern state's legislative assembly in more than a century.... A Quebec proposal to radically alter Canada will likely be rejected by English Canadians, say some political analysts who fear the country is marching toward breakup. Quebec's ruling Liberal Party released a report Tuesday demanding a major shift of constitutional powers to the French-speaking province as a condition to staying within the century-old union.

SOVIET UNION AND EUROPE

The Soviet Communist Party's Central Committee held a stormy meeting Thursday, while the Tass news agency reported that 2.3 million people turned in their red cards last year, dropping party membership to 16.9 million. Soviet soldiers begin patrolling city streets today as an anticrime measure, adding more strains to a tense nation.... Germany said Wednesday it will give new war aid worth half a billion dollars to Britain, in addition to the $5.5 billion already pledged to the US.... Britain's former deputy prime minister, Sir Geoffrey Howe, whose resignation precipitated the fall of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said Wednesday he would quit politics at the next general election.

LOOKING AHEAD

Monday: Winnie Mandela goes on trial in Johannesburg, accused of assaulting teenage black activists. Wednesday: Margaret Thatcher, and others, help Ronald Reagan celebrate his 80th birthday in Los Angeles. Thursday: Organization of African Unity heads of state meet in Harare, Zimbabwe.