News Currents

MIDDLE EAST

Algeria will push for lower oil output by OPEC members this week in an effort to hike oil prices. OPEC officials meet today with Independent Petroleum Exporting Countries officials and hold their own meeting Friday. OPEC's basket of seven crudes fell to about $5 below its $21-a-barrel reference price after the group agreed in February to cut production.... The Islamic Salvation Front issued its first call in Algeria for armed struggle against the military-backed rulers who seized power in January, French

radio said yesterday.... For the second time in a week, thousands of angry workers, students, and housewives marched in Beirut yesterday in protest against deteriorating economic conditions. In a rare display of unity, Christians and Moslems joined hands in the strikes. UNITED STATES

The FBI and more than 300 black FBI special agents have reached an agreement that includes promotions and back pay to settle racial-discrimination claims against the agency.... US Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky said a Senate bill creating a formal legal basis for US policy toward Hong Kong is meant to dispel uncertainty over China's resumption of sovereignty. The bill has drawn fire from China.... US Rep. Mary Rose Oakar (D) of Ohio, facing a tough reelection battle as well as the taint of being na med one of the worst offenders in the House bank scandal, has resigned as co-chairman of the Democratic National Convention's platform committee. EUROPE

Paramilitary forces fought machine-gun and mortar battles in Sarajevo and other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina Tuesday and yesterday, casting doubts on a European Community peace mission. The US and the EC are considering breaking diplomatic ties with Yugoslavia over what they call Serbian aggression in Bosnia.... The Group of Seven leading industrial nations, meeting in Washington next Sunday alongside a semi-annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank, is expected to endorse IMF membership for 14 out of 15 of the former Soviet republics, including the Baltic states. Azerbaijan is expected to follow the others once procedural matters are resolved. Membership includes acceptance of free-market reforms. ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Efforts by UN envoy Benon Sevan to secure a flight for former Afghan President Najibullah out of Kabul were thwarted again yesterday by Uzbek militia leader Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostam.... A Buddhist religious delegation flew to northern Sri Lanka yesterday to hold peace talks with Hindu Tamil rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.... On his first day in office yesterday, Thailand's newly appointed Prime Minister, Gen. Suchinda Kraprayoon said that he would not alter Thailand's previous economic po licies of promoting foreign investment, a free market, and export-oriented industries.

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