EVENTS

GERMANY AND JAPAN CUT INTEREST RATES

Perhaps to help the turbulent European currency grid, Germany's central bank yesterday cut two key interest rates slightly. The move lowered the Lombard rate (at which banks can borrow emergency funds from the central bank) from 9.5 percent to 9.0 percent and the discount rate (the cheapest form of bank refinancing) from 8.25 percent to 8 percent. Japan's central bank cut the interest rate it charges on loans to commercial banks by 0.75 percentage points. The new rate matches an all-time low of 2.5 perce nt. Both nations are fighting sluggish economies. US economic gains

The United States Labor Department said that the productivity of American workers shot up 2.7 percent in 1992, the largest gain in two decades, while orders to US factories, boosted by a 5.3 percent jump in December, rose 3.3 percent in 1992, the first increase in two years, the Commerce Department said. Experts are debating to what degree the productivity gain might also reflect the slowness of businesses to hire back workers following the recession. US dumping ruling

How's that? The US Commerce Department issued a preliminary ruling that an American company unfairly dumped electric typewriters in the US, injuring a Japanese company. The Japanese company, Brother USA, makes all the electric typewriters it sells in the US at a plant employing 600 Americans in Bartlett, Tenn. The American company is Smith Corona, which makes most of its products in Singapore (and is closing its factory in Cortland, N.Y., to move that operation to Mexico). Half of Smith Corona is owned b y a British conglomerate. Otherwise, no complications. Mideast talks off

The US has indefinitely delayed the next round of multilateral Middle East peace talks that were scheduled to begin this month, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday. The Americans, co-sponsors of the talks, say there is no point in sending out invitations now because it is likely the Arab nations will stay away in protest over Israel's deportation of some 400 Palestinians, Israeli radio said. Turkish assassinations

Turkish Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin said yesterday that Iranian-trained fundamentalists had carried out at least three political murders in Turkey. He said police had arrested 19 members of a radical Islamic group with Iranian links in connection with a series of murders and attempted murders in recent years and that they were being charged with the killing of Turkish journalist Cetin Emec and writer Turan Dursun. More tents in Florida

In Florida, Dade County officials agreed to open a new tent city for up to 5,000 people who still remain homeless three months after military authorities closed down camps for Hurricane Andrew's victims. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is donating the tents and the federal government has granted $1 million for the program, which is expected to last six months. The county said it will help those in the tent city find housing when the six months are up.

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