News Currents

WAR IN THE GULF Wednesday was watched as a day of decision on the war. The US command in Saudi Arabia had said the Iraqi forces in Kuwait were on the verge of collapse, while the coalition forces continued an unrelenting air attack. Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz returned to Moscow Wednesday after conferring with Saddam Hussein Tuesday on the Soviet peace plan, the details of which were still secret as of this writing. Reports from Washington indicated the US had sent proposed changes to Moscow on Tuesday, the day President Bush had said the plan fell ``well short'' of what would be required. China and other nations stated Tuesday Iraq must pull out of Kuwait without conditions. The US still believes Iraq should pay war reparations for the damage it has done to Kuwait, the State Department said Tuesday. Speaking of limited optimism, Soviet Gulf envoy Yevgeny Primakov said Tuesday evening - before President Bush commented the Soviet plan did not go far enough - that Iraq was closer than ever to withdrawing its troops from Kuwait without conditions.

UNITED STATES

The shuttle Discovery's planned March 9 liftoff could be delayed by two cracks found in the spacecraft's door hinges, NASA engineers said Tuesday.... President Bush unveiled a national energy strategy Wednesday that promotes increased domestic oil and gas production and new nuclear power plants. Bush pledged in advance that he would not endorse more radical measures such as high fuel taxes or electric cars.... Some 12 top computer firms, including IBM, Apple Computer, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Xerox have an ambitious plan to develop an electronics age lingua franca, a universal computer code, to represent letters and characters in all the world's languages, The New York Times said Wednesday. The code will be called Unicode and would pave the way for worldwide computer communications.... The Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to decide whether federal courts should continue supervising the partly successful racial desegregation of student populations in DeKalb County, Ga., public schools.

EUROPE AND THE SOVIET UNION

A group of 25 young Polish television journalists from a canceled news program said Tuesday the decision was political because the program often criticized the government and President Lech Walesa. Some of the Polish media and intellectuals described the case as the ``end to freedom of speech'' in Poland.... Germany gave $2.16 billion to the US Wednesday to help pay for the Gulf war, the German Embassy in Washington announced. In Bonn, Chancellor Helmut Kohl pledged substantial development aid to Nicaragua.... Boris Yeltsin, populist head of the powerful Russian Federation, called Tuesday in Moscow for the resignation of President Mikhail Gorbachev and the transfer of his power to the Federation Council, made up of the heads of the union republics. His blast appeared to dash the few remaining hopes that the two might be reconciled.

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