THE NEWS IN BRIEF
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Russian Prime Minister Chernomyrdin said Moscow would go ahead with the sale of nuclear reactors to Iran. The announcement came while US Defense Secretary Perry was in Moscow to try to convince the government to abandon the $1 billion deal, which the US says will advance Iran's nuclear-arms program. Russian Defense Minister Grachev accused the US of not wanting his country to earn money. The US had given Moscow secret intelligence on Iran's weapons plans, the New York Times reported.
One of the victims of the bomb blast in Gaza City that destroyed a Hamas explosives factory was Ismail Hafez Kahil, a Hamas terrorist who was near the top of Israel's most-wanted list. PLO Chairman Arafat ordered an arrest sweep of the militant Hamas group after the blast.
Experts are investigating whether an explosion occurred on the Romanian airlines Airbus before it crashed near Bucharest late last week, killing 60 people. The director of the Bucharest morgue said he suspected an explosion, and the French Embassy in Romania received a call claiming responsibility for the crash. After a bomb threat yesterday, a Romanian airlines flight to Paris made an unscheduled landing.
US Ambassador to Bosnia Victor Jackovich and several of his staff will leave their posts April 19. While Jackovich said it would be part of a regular rotation, observers said the departure signals less support for the Muslim-led Bosnian government on the part of the Clinton administration. Widespread fighting continued in Bosnia as Serbs there admitted they were losing ground.
Czech President Havel said former Communist nations in Central Europe are gaining in their drive for NATO membership. He said membership in the EU would take longer, however, because of more requirements. Russian Defense Minister Grachev complained that NATO was moving too quickly on membership.
While visiting Bonn, Turkish Foreign Minister Inonu said Ankara will withdraw its troops quickly from the assault on rebel Kurds in northern Iraq. Western nations have criticized the assault, and Inonu is on tour to counter the growing criticism. He said the mission is short-term, to take out rebel-arms depots to prevent attacks on Turkey. (Story, Page 1.)
The Japanese sect suspected in the Tokyo subway gassing ordered molecular-design software from two US companies just before the attack, the Wall Street Journal reported. The software can be used to make chemicals more dangerous. Japanese police said they found uranium-enrichment documents in the car of one sect member.
A rebel group in Uganda threatened full-scale civil war if its demand for restoration of the Buganda tribal kingdom continues to be rejected. The threat came after unidentified gunmen abducted the nation's health minister. Uganda's Constituent Assembly, now drawing up a new constitution, last week rejected the Buganda proposal.
British Prime Minister Major and US Secretary of State Christopher played down differences over Northern Ireland as ''ancient history.'' The two were meeting in Washington. Meanwhile, Egyptian President Mubarak's five-day visit to Washington aims to heal rifts between the US and its most-important Arab ally. These include Egypt's position on the spread of nuclear weapons and its friendship with Libya.
World trade in goods grew at the fastest pace since 1976 and will continue this year, the World Trade Organization said.
Two of Pakistan's most notorious drug lords were extradited to the US to face prosecution on more than 100 counts of heroin and hashish smuggling.
The Clinton administration, concerned about the continued weakness of the dollar, announced it had intervened in currency markets in an attempt to bolster the US currency. It did not provide details about the dollar-buying, which marked the first time the US has intervened since early March. The dollar fell to another post-World War II low yesterday.
House Speaker Gingrich predicted that the House would pass tax-cut legislation by the end of the week, despite some Republican dissension. GOP lawmakers would then turn back to the task of balancing the budget, he said. Gingrich and Senator Dole asked Jack Kemp to lead a GOP study of the political and economic feasibility of a flat tax and other major tax-reform proposals. Plans for a commission on economic growth and tax reform were expected to be announced as early as yesterday. (Story, Page 1.)