News Currents

MIDDLE EASTThe PLO, stepping up consultations with Jordan on a proposed Middle East peace conference, sent a member of its executive committee to meet senior government officials in Amman yesterday. King Hussein said last week he expected PLO chairman Yasser Arafat to visit Jordan soon.... A Swiss envoy probably representing UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar was in Tehran to discuss the Middle East hostage crisis last Friday, the same day that representatives of Lebanon's Hizbullah were there, UN and Swi ss sources said. The Shiite Muslim Hizbullah group holds at least two Israeli servicemen. Israel is demanding documented information on missing soldiers before it will proceed with a hostage release. ECONOMY AND BUSINESS The two top officers of Salomon Brothers Inc., a large Wall Street bond-trading firm, resigned over the weekend in the wake of a scandal involving illegal bidding during Treasury-bill auctions. John Gutfreund, chairman, and Thomas Strauss, president, stepped down after it was learned that they knew of the illegal bids four months ago but failed to report them to the government.... A federal judge in St. Paul, Minn., Friday approved a settlement of a race-discrimination lawsuit brought against Northwest A irlines. Attorneys for the black airline employees who filed the suit in mid-1989 said the settlement was worth an estimated $20 million to $40 million.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC The Bible has gone on sale for the first time in Mongolia, where local Christians are emerging from underground churches as the 70-year era of communism wanes. Thousands of Bibles have been sold since they started appearing in stalls in the center of Mongolia's capital, Ulan Bator, last week.... The US and the Philippines expect to initial this week an agreement allowing American forces continued use of Subic Bay naval base for another 10 years. But a tough ratification fight is expected in the Philippin e Senate.

ENVIRONMENT AND SCIENCE Scores of food fish are dying off the island state of Bahrain, possibly from some kind of Gulf-war pollution. Fish brought in for examination were covered with red spots. Bahrain's fisheries director, Jassim Ahmed al-Qaseer, said he had never seen anything like it.... Malyasian police in Sarawak state on Borneo island say they have detained a British writer, Peter Smith, who was researching a book on anti-logging blockades there, to investigate whether he is using a forged passport. Sarawak banned blocka des against logging firms in 1987 after arresting more than 200 spear-wielding Penan tribesmen for disrupting operations.... Oil companies and environmentalists have worked out an agreement in the US to clean up gasoline sold in the nation's smoggiest cities by 1995 - a move expected to boost gas costs by 3 to 5 cents a gallon.

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