News Currents

MIDDLE EAST The US and Israel agreed yesterday day to proceed with further Israeli development of a new air defense missile, the Arrow, and that Washington would pay 72 percent of the cost, US Defense Secretary Richard Cheney announced. Cheney also said the US would quickly provide 10 additional F-15 fighter jets as part of $700 million in surplus military equipment promised earlier to Israel. The announcement came less than 24 hours after President Bush proposed a pl an to slow the buildup of conventional arms in the Middle East and rid the volatile region of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. (See story, p. 4) Israel's initial reaction to the Bush proposal indicated a readiness to discuss curbs on conventional weapons but avoided the question of nuclear weapons, an area in which Israel is believed to have a considerable edge over its Arab neighbors.... In Damascus, Ayatollah Mohammed Taqi al-Mudaressi, mentor of several Shiite Iraq i opposition groups, called on Kurdish rebel leaders yesterday to end their autonomy talks with Baghdad and rejoin the opposition.... Kuwait's burning oil fields would not affect global climate and, contrary to initial fears, actually could increase monsoon rains in parts of Asia, two groups of atmospheric scientists in separate studies concluded. The British and German studies were published in the British journal Nature.

UNITED STATES

President Bush's son, Neil, and other former officers of the failed Silverado Banking, Savings and Loan Association agreed to pay $49.5 million to settle the government's suit against them, a government spokesman said yesterday.... Top Soviet officials have given Secretary of State James Baker a draft plan that commits the Soviet Union to market reforms in a bid to revitalize its ailing economy. The delegation dispatched by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbach ev is seeking billions of dollars in Western economic assistance.... Sen. Jake Garn (R) of Utah, who soared in a space shuttle, has announced he will not seek reelection.

OTHER WORLD NEWS

Alexander Solzhenitsyn has recommended that Leningrad not be renamed St. Petersburg, a name with a German ending, but Petrograd or Svyato-Petrograd, which are authentic Russian names.... North Korea has offered to open talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency on inspection of its secret nuclear facility, South Korean news reports said yesterday.... The US is likely to open formally a temporary office in Hanoi in July to deal with cases of American soldiers missing in action and prisoners of war, American Ambassador to Thailand Daniel O'Donohue said. This would be Washington's first official presence in Hanoi since the US consulate there closed in 1955.

LOOKING AHEAD

Saturday: Launch of space shuttle Columbia; Papal trip to Poland, through June 8, begins.

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