News Currents

MIDDLE EAST DEVELOPMENTS In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir agreed that Jewish settlement of occupied lands had to be an issue in peace negotiations with Arabs.... Iran is moving toward opening up to Western nations, but still rules out renewed ties with the United States. The official IRNA news agency said President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has accepted invitations to visit both Bonn and Paris.... Soviet foreign minister Alexander Bessme rtnykh left on a tour of the Middle East that will include the first trip to Israel by a Soviet foreign minister. The trip could lead to a resumption of diplomatic links between the two countries.... President Hosni Mubarak said Egypt would withdraw all its troops deployed during the Persian Gulf war.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

In Bangladesh, at least 25 people were killed and 200 people were injured when a tornado ripped through the town of Dhaka. A cyclone last week killed about 125,000 in the same part of the country.... A South Korean dissident leaped to his death in flames in the fourth protest suicide during anti-government demonstrations. In almost daily protests over political corruption, inflation, pollution, and labor unrest, students have called for President Roh Tae Woo to resign.... China has condemned three men to death for profiteering linked to cooking oil, amid a nationwide campaign to prevent hoarding and speculation in response to steep price increases. The men earned $88,000 by illegally buying cooking oil at low, state-set prices, and selling it at higher, free-market prices.

AFRICA

In South Africa, President Frederik de Klerk was to meet yesterday with African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela to hammer out a last-ditch accord to end township warfare. The ANC told the government it would break off reform talks today unless the government took urgent action to stop the violence.... Sudan's military government said it has recognized the urgent need to send relief supplies to the southern region MDNM of the country, but it has yet to endorse a UN-led plan to save many people from starvation. Relief workers say hundreds of thousands of southern Sudanese, their region caught between drought and eight years of civil strife, could die of hunger unless food is rushed to them.

LATIN AMERICAN ECONOMY

In Buenos Aires, Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo said the government is encouraging cheap food and drug imports. Food, drink, education, and health insurance prices all rose at rates above the 5.5 percent jump in consumer prices in April. Argentina's current annual inflation rate is about 267 percent.... Presidency Minister Antonio Lacayo said Nicaraguan inflation, which surpassed 260 percent in March, dropped to under 5 percent in April. The decrease, he says, was caused by the government's action to unify two currencies and devalue the remaining currency 80 percent against the US dollar.

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