News Currents

ASIA AND THE PACIFICThe Indian government yesterday appointed Surinder Nath, a former senior policeman, to govern Punjab, the northern state torn by a decade-old Sikh independence campaign. The Congress party government has postponed elections in Punjab in response to violence from militants seeking an independent homeland they call Khalistan.... Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu yesterday told parliament he will present a bill to tighten controls on the scandal-plagued Japanese securities industry. Mr. Kaifu said it wa s deplorable that Japanese brokerages had improperly compensated elite clients for investment losses.... Hundreds of Bangladeshi depositors of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, closed a month ago for financial irregularities, held a rally in Dhaka yesterday to demand their money back (See related story, Page 5).... In Seoul, South Korea, members of parliament from 27 countries gathered to inaugurate an organization of politicians who used to be Boy Scouts. The 67 parliamentarians will dedicate themselves to helping the international Scout movement. MIDDLE EAST The Iraqi government yesterday admitted for the first time it had conducted germ-warfare experiments but said it ceased shortly after the start of the Persian Gulf crisis last year. Under the terms of the cease-fire imposed on Iraq after its Gulf war defeat, Baghdad must declare and scrap all its weapons of mass destruction.... Iraq yesterday handed back the first of up to $700 million worth of gold looted from Kuwait during its invasion of the emirate. Kuwaiti Sheikh Salem al-Sabah said all the missing bullion - 3,216 gold bars - had been accounted for.... At an Islamic conference in Istanbul, Iraq said it would continue to press for the lifting of economic sanctions imposed after it invaded Kuwait a year ago. EUROPE Hours after European Community envoys ended a peace mission there, Yugoslavia lurched closer to civil war with new fighting between Serbs and Croats. Two days of intensive negotiations halted when Serbia and its allies boycotted a joint meeting of the EC ministers and the collective Yugoslav presidency. EC foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting this week over the crisis.... The German newspaper Bild reported that unemployment in eastern Germany rose to 12 percent in July from 9.5 percent in Jun e. The Federal Labor Office is due to release unemployment data today. UNITED STATES The Connecticut legislature passed a state budget less than an hour before a deadline Sunday night. The nearly $7 billion budget calls for a broad expansion of the items eligible to be taxed under the state's 8 percent sales tax.... A nearly flawless shuttle flight continues its fifth day today.

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