News Currents

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Taiwan's trade surplus plunged 69 percent from last year, as a sharp rise in its currency's value slowed the export boom, the government said.... Indian security forces are strengthening a campaign to wipe out leaders of Sikh militant groups fighting to make Punjab state an independent nation, a top police official said yesterday. Indian police killed 226 militants in June.... Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao's one-year old minority Congress Party government will face a no-confidence vote in Parliamen t next week, opposition parties said Saturday. A spokesman said the vote is prompted by a financial scandal and Rao's alleged mishandling of separatist violence.... India will for the first time allow private foreign companies to drill and refine oil in India, officials said Saturday. The program is one of many reforms intended to stimulate foreign investment. LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

The Mexican government, prompted by a United States Supreme Court ruling that authorized foreign kidnapping of criminal suspects, has issued new rules restricting foreign drug agents' activities in Mexico. The rules published Friday in the federal register specifically forbid the agents from carrying out or soliciting kidnapping and their involvement in armed encounters or pursuit of suspects. The regulations stipulate that foreign agents are subject to Mexican laws and projects can be automatically canc eled for activities adjudged illegal. MIDDLE EAST

The bulk of Iraq's chemical-weapons-manufacturing equipment has been destroyed, the head of a UN inspection team announced Saturday.

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