News Currents

UNITED STATES

First Union Corporation of North Carolina said yesterday it will acquire Dominion Bankshares Corporation of Virginia. Combined, they will form the country's ninth-largest bank holding company, the banks said.... In New Orleans, two black men have accepted invitations to join one of the four previously all-white Mardi Gras organizations. The City Council voted in December to require clubs to open membership to everyone. The other three clubs canceled their parades in protest. ASIA AND LATIN AMERICA

Rockets were fired in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday as a government-brokered cease-fire failed to take effect.... South Korea's main opposition party, heartened by President Roh Tae-Woo's pledge to run a clean poll to elect his successor, said yesterday it was ready to end a months-long parliamentary boycott.... Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa yesterday endorsed Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating's call for an Asia-Pacific region summit.... Tropical Storm Ted battered the Philippines yesterda y with high winds and heavy rains, unleashing volcanic ash avalanches from Mount Pinatubo and killing three people.... The Vatican and Mexico yesterday re-established diplomatic relations broken by Mexico more than 130 years ago. EUROPE

Three German steel executives were given suspended sentences and fined yesterday for illegally exporting rocket-engine parts to Iraq before the 1991 Gulf war.... Estonians gave Parliament Chairman Arnold Ruutel a wide lead in the Estonia's first national elections, but not enough to avoid a presidential runoff.

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