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News Currents

By David Mutch / November 13, 1991



UNITED STATESCalifornia Gov. Pete Wilson (R) declared an emergency Nov. 11 in Imperial and Riverside Counties, where a whitefly infestation has ruined $90 million worth of crops. He said crop damage alone in the two counties could hit $200 million by spring, and the infestation threatens to move north into the San Joaquin Valley. Insect-control efforts have had limited success, and growers won't be able to replant next season unless eradication methods are discovered, Wilson said.... The US Coast Guard reports pickin g up an increasing number of Haitians fleeing political turmoil at home. Currently these people are being housed on three cutters. The US government is reluctant to return the Haitians because of violence in Haiti after the Sept. 30 coup, but officials also don't want to encourage more Haitians to flood the US.... Microsoft Corporation and Digital Equipment are planning to make the popular Windows program available over Digital's computer networks. EUROPE Scientists in London said they are seeking $5 billion to build a new reactor in which nuclear fusion would be used to produce electricity. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, which would be supported by Japan, the European Community, the Soviets, and the US, was proposed following the first significant production of electricity with nuclear fusion Nov. 9 by the EC's experimental fusion reactor in Culham, near Oxford, England, using deuterium and tritium in a magnetic confinement experim ent.... In Moscow, the former Communist Party newspaper Pravda on Nov. 11 carried a bank advertisement on the front page.

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ASIA AND THE PACIFIC Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Nov. 12 his government would protect its former monarch, Price Norodom Sihanouk, when he arrives Nov. 14 in Phnom Penh for his first visit in nearly 13 years. Charles Twining, who heads the new US mission to Cambodia, arrived in Phnom Penh Nov. 11, while the French general commanding the advance UN peacekeeping force in war-ravaged Cambodia arrived Nov. 12.... US Secretary of State James Baker III arrived in Seoul Nov. 12 to join Chinese officials at a regional confe rence. Baker is due to make a high-stakes visit to Beijing Nov. 15. China has issued a secret study document criticizing President Bush by name and harshly attacking attempts to pressure Beijing on human rights.

MIDDLE EAST Kurdish guerrillas have pulled back their defense lines south of Irbil, creating a three-mile buffer strip between themselves and the Iraqi Army. Kurdish envoys who returned from Baghdad Nov. 11 said they believed that Iraqi forces did not intend to move into the northeastern city of 800,000. They said Baghdad had offered to lift an economic blockade of Kurdistan if armed guerrillas withdrew from the cities of northern Iraq.