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News Currents

By David Mutch / January 15, 1992



MIDDLE EAST AND GULF

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Israel's precarious government coalition faced collapse Jan. 14 when leaders of two extreme right-wing religious parties threatened to pull out if the Israeli delegation at the Middle East peace negotiations offered the Palestinians any form of self-rule in the occupied territories.... Public outrage against a proposed government bill in Lebanon to ban news broadcasts on private television stations has mounted recently, threatening the Syrian-backed Cabinet of President Elias Hrawi.... The Syrian and Dut ch foreign ministers, Farouk al-Sharaa and Hans van den Broek, opened talks in Damascus Jan. 14 on a European Community role in the Middle East peace process. And Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti called Jan. 14 for closer links between the EC and the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.... The United States is giving $36 million to a UN program to help provide food, shelter, medicines, and other essentials to displaced Kurds and Shiite Muslims in Iraq. JUSTICE

The United States Supreme Court Jan. 13 let stand a decision that a Texas worker fired because of complications due to AIDS cannot sue under the state law that prohibits job discrimination. Lower courts had said that AIDS is not a "handicap" as defined under Texas law.... The court also let stand a ruling that a suspect who made self-incriminating statements to police at the advice of his attorney could later claim ineffective assistance of counsel and have the confession voided.... The court let stand a

ruling that Christian Science parents whose 11-year-old son died when they used prayer rather than medicine to treat his illness cannot be charged with manslaughter. Minnesota's Supreme Court had ruled that state law, which specifically said parents could use "spiritual means or prayer" to treat a child's illness, precluded prosecution of the parents.... And the court upheld an order that the Christic Institute pay $1 million in lawyers' fees for pursuing a frivolous lawsuit against those it claimed were r esponsible for a 1984 assassination attempt of a Nicaraguan rebel leader. ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Chinese Premier Li Peng will attend the summit of member states of the United Nations Security Council in New York at the end of January, the first time that he will have been to the US since Beijing crushed the pro-democracy movement in 1989.... Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left for France Jan. 14 armed with a shopping list of weapons he wants to help offset a US ban on arms deliveries. He wants two squadrons of 44 Mirage 2000 warplanes and three US Navy minehunters.... Singapore and Vietnam ar e to open air links in February after their national airlines signed an agreement.... Two people from Hong Kong were sentenced to death by hanging Jan. 14 for importing more than nine pounds of heroin to Singapore.... Indonesia, which only recently recognized AIDS as a serious problem, will deport infected foreigners, an official said Jan. 14.