News Currents

UNITED STATESThe Justice Department accused General Electric Company in a suit filed in New York Wednesday of defrauding the Pentagon of more than $30 million on the sale of jet engines and support services to the Israeli Air Force.... Saying his confirmation would undermine civil rights for Hispanics, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund announced its opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas.... The federal fund that finances presidential campaigns should have enough money to pa y for the 1992 race after all, but by 1996 the coffer could be depleted, a new report by the Federal Election Commission said.... Wish you were here? Orlando doesn't exactly have the most identifiable skyline, but there's definitely something wrong with new postcards being sold there. The cards bear a skyline shot of another city - but no one is sure which city. LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN The commutation of the death sentences of 14 prisoners whose 1983 assassination of a former Marxist leader resulted in the US invasion of Grenada ends "a chapter of history," Grenada's Prime Minister Nicholas Brathwaite said Wednesday. He commuted the sentences to life imprisonment.... Uruguay and the US signed an agreement Wednesday to cooperate in the fight against drugs.... Finance Minister Rudolf Hommes said Wednesday that Colombia would levy new taxes next year to finance protection for the oil indu stry and other key economic sectors against ongoing attacks by Marxist guerrillas.

ENVIRONMENT AND SCIENCE A tiny switch made of just a single atom may lay the foundation for an amazing new generation of miniature electronic devices. Researchers from IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., found they could start and stop the flow of an electric current by moving an atom of the gaseous element, xenon, between two tiny electrodes.... The Canadian Coast Guard began pumping oil Wednesday with an undersea robot from a leaking Japanese factory fish trawler that sank off the Washington coast last month... . Raw sewage and other contaminants threaten ocean waters on both US coasts and the health of millions of swimmers, according to a new study by the National Resources Defense Council. Some 2,400 beaches in California and nine East Coast states were closed during 1989 and 1990 because of contamination from untreated or partly treated sewage or other bacteria.... Dust from an erupting volcano in southern Chile is falling on the Falkland Islands, spreading a gray film over vehicles, buildings, and even farm an imals.

LOOKING AHEAD Saturday: UN military team goes to Cambodia to assess forming cease-fire monitoring team. Sunday: National Governors' Association meeting opens in Seattle (till Aug. 20).

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