News Currents

WAR IN THE GULF In the Saudi port city of Jiddah, gunmen attacked US servicemen on a shuttle bus Sunday night in what US military officers said could be the first terrorist operation inside the kingdom since the Gulf war broke out. Two Americans and a Saudi security guard were slightly wounded by flying glass. In Amman, Jordan, security has been stepped up at embassies, banks, and airlines connected with the 28-nation coalition against Iraq. Coalition forces have flown more than 41,000 air sorties against Iraqi targets in Iraq and Kuwait. Meanwhile, the US battleship Missouri fired 1.25-ton shells on Iraqi targets in Kuwait Sunday night in the first such attack on the occupied emirate. The move signals confidence that Baghdad's small Navy had been neutralized.

POLITICS OF THE WAR

In Japan, the parliamentary budget committee began detailed examination Monday of a bill to send cash and planes to the Persian Gulf, with the future of Japan's government - and role in the world - at stake. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party sees the country emerging from a 45-year shell of US protection to take a global role equal to its economic power. The two main opposition parties, the Socialists and Communists, want to make Japan neutral, keep it free of commitments to the United States. In Morocco, a crowd estimated at between 70,000 and 300,000 marched through Rabat Sunday denouncing the war against Iraq and demanding that King Hassan withdraw his troops from the US-led alliance in the Gulf.

ASIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST

Thai Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan agreed Monday to organize a new round of talks among the four battling Cambodian factions in an effort to find a settlement to their 12-year-old conflict. China will put two more people on trial today for counter-revolutionary activities in the 1989 prodemocracy movement. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir named controversial ex-general Rehavam Zeevi to his cabinet Sunday. Zeevi advocates expelling Arabs from their occupied lands.

ECONOMY

In Argentina, new Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo late Sunday announced large increases in utility rates, a plan to clamp down on tax dodgers, and an emergency pay bonus to help offset recent price increases. The measures followed a run on the austral currency last week that forced the resignation of Cavallo's predecessor, Antonio Erman Gonzalez. Cavallo urged people to defend the free market system by moderating wage demands and price markups. In Brazil, polls show confidence in the government of President Fernando Collor de Mello has declined to 37 percent, following moves to freeze wages and prices. The stalled ``Uruguay Round'' trade talks are on the way to resuming, according to Arthur Dunkel, the director of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

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