News Currents

MIDDLE EAST

Syria said yesterday it would attend a new round of Middle East peace talks in Washington next month. In Jerusalem, Communications Minister Moshe Shahal said Israel planned to go. US Secretary of State James Baker III said Saturday the United States would like to see the talks resume Aug. UNITED STATES

In Washington, independent counsel Lawrence Walsh will decide within 10 days whether to start moves that could lead to an indictment of former President Reagan and several close advisers in connection with the Iran-contra scandal, the Washington Post reported Sunday.... The White House is predicting a substantial drop in the US jobless rate by the November election, but economists say it's just wishful thinking. Many economists say that the US job market will remain sluggish through most of the 1990s. AFRICA AND ASIA

Red Cross workers yesterday delivered emergency food supplies to a shipload of Somali refugees who have been stranded off Kenya since Wednesday. Kenyan authorities have refused to allow the vessel to dock, saying that a refugee camp at Utange was already overcrowded.... Congo's local government officers voted yesterday to elect a national senate to advise the central African country's new parliament.... A heavy turnout was predicted as voters crowded polling stations yesterday in Seychelles. The Indian O cean Island republic was holding its first elections since independence 16 years ago.... China has lowered the red flag over its Niger Embassy and Taiwan has raised its own colors over the poor Saharan state. For Niger, the stakes are a hard $50 million in Taiwanese aid versus more-vague Chinese offers of an interest-free loan.

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