News Currents

GULF AND MIDDLE EAST

Kurdish rebel groups said Wednesday they had seized control of Iraq's northern Kurdistan province from Saddam Hussein's forces and that Iraq was bombing Kurdish-held oil wells around the town of Kirkuk.... Iraq's Parliament Speaker, Saadi Mahdi Salehon, Wednesday accused its former foe, Iran, of sending "saboteurs" across the border to "destroy Iraq's remaining unharmed infrastructure." The New York Times cited diplomats in Kuwait who say Iran, seeking a friendly Shiite Muslim government in Iraq, has in fact been organizing and arming many rebels fighting against Saddam's forces.... Kuwait's government abruptly resigned Wednesday amid mounting complaints it is failing to meet the postwar needs of its people. The US ambassador to Kuwait said he has provided the Kuwaiti government with the names of several of its soldiers who may become the first persons prosecuted for vigilante abuse of Palestinian residents.... Pro-Syrian Beirut newspapers said Wednesday 12 Western hostages held in Lebanon could be freed soon despite kidnappers' demands that Israel should first release Arab prisoners.... Christian militia warlord Samir Geagea resigned from Lebanon's national unity government Wednesday. The Lebanese Cabinet is working to disband Lebanon's militias to end nearly 16 years of civil war.

UNITED STATES

Polish President Lech Walesa arrived in the US on his first state visit Tuesday as a senior Bush administration official said the US was willing to cancel over half of Poland's $2.9 billion official debt.... A surge in the basic rate of inflation last month may force Federal Reserve policymakers to put on hold further interest rate cuts, perhaps prolonging the recession.... The House Judiciary committee approved a Democratic measure to protect workers against job bias after rejecting the administration' s narrower version.... Rodney King's lawyer said he will file a $56 million claim against the city of Los Angeles for a beating received from the police.

OTHER WORLD NEWS

President Mikhail Gorbachev announced Tuesday that long-awaited food and clothing price increases of an average of 60 percent would be introduced April 2.... Canada, Mexico, and the US have agreed on the nine principal areas to be negotiated in the upcoming North American trade talks, a senior Canadian trade official said Tuesday.... Bolivia has decided to use its army for the first time to fight drug traffickers.... European Community foreign ministers agreed to consider trade policy concessions in a s how of support for Central America's fragile democracies to speed their recovery from a decade of civil wars.... Japan Wednesday endorsed plans to send a satellite into orbit around the moon and drop probes into the surface to study the genesis of "moon quakes." This would make Japan the third nation to land a probe on the moon.

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