News Currents

CONGRESS House of Representatives Democratic leaders have scheduled a vote Wednesday on a bill to raise the minimum wage from $3.35 to $3.80 by Jan. 1 and $4.25 by January 1991. The plan includes a sub-minimum wage for first-time job seekers. President Bush last summer vetoed a bill to raise the minimum wage to $4.55 by 1992. The House today is scheduled to consider bills appropriating $8.8 billion for the war on drugs and banning smoking on all airline flights. In the Senate, Democrats are trying to prevent Republicans from attaching a capital-gains tax cut to an aid package for Poland and Hungary or a debt-ceiling bill. The Senate today considers a resolution condemning Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega's threat to call off a cease-fire with the contras.


The District of Columbia has seen 369 homicides so far this year, equaling the total for all of last year. Police blame more than 60 percent of the slayings on drugs, particularly crack cocaine. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported Sunday that violent crimes and personal thefts increased for the second straight year in 1988, but are still below the high rates of the 1970s and early 1980s. Crime rates were highest in the West and lowest in the Northeast. In Bogota, Colombia, gunmen on a motorcycle wounded two television journalists hours after alleged drug kingpin Jos'e Abello Silva was extradited to the United States.


Chinese radio reported Monday that all martial law troops will be pulled out of Beijing's Tienanmen Square by Wednesday and replaced by armed police. Former President Richard Nixon told Chinese leaders Monday the US and China must work together despite differences over China's crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. Meanwhile, three Chinese dissidents who say they were involved with the pro-democracy movement have been smuggled into Taiwan, police there said Sunday. In Sri Lanka, at least 19 people were killed in violence blamed on Sinhalese radicals, the government said Sunday. Six radicals were also killed in gun battles with the army and vigilantes.


US Senate leaders said Sunday Congress should provide humanitarian aid to the Nicaraguan contras through next February's elections. Majority leader George Mitchell of Maine and his Republican counterpart, Bob Dole of Kansas, also condemned Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega for threatening to end a cease-fire. In Peru, army troops killed 27 guerrillas from the Maoist Shining Path movement near Pariajasa, 288 miles southeast of Lima. About 120 local officials and candidates have been killed by the guerrillas, who are trying to disrupt municipal elections. Rebel attacks were reported Saturday in Palca, 155 miles east of Lima, at the San Cristobal de Humanaga University in Ayacucho, 235 miles southeast of Lima, in Huacho, 80 miles northwest of Lima, and in Chilca, 140 miles east of Lima.

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