News Currents

SUMMITRY Before his weekend meetings with President Bush in the storm-tossed waters of Malta, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev met Friday with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in Rome. The two agreed to establish diplomatic ties, but the pope rejected an offer to visit the Soviet Union until there is more religious freedom there. Meanwhile, the Soviets announced Friday the Ukrainian Uniate (Catholic) Church would be legalized.


In East Germany, Prime Minister Hans Modrow told a West Berlin newspaper he thought the Communist Party would be a ``junior partner'' in government after elections next year. He spoke after the East German parliament Friday abolished the party's constitutional monopoly on power. Soviet liberal Andrei Sakharov and four other lawmakers Saturday called for a national two-hour strike to force the Soviet parliament to end the Communist Party's supremacy there. More than 10 million East Germans have visited West Germany since Nov. 9, Bonn's Interior Ministry said Saturday. Half a million visited this weekend; in all, several thousand have chosen to remain. The national unity government of new Greek Prime Minister Xenophon Zolotas got a vote of confidence Saturday. Conservatives, socialists, and communists agreed to back his government until mid-April.


In New York, Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci spent her first day Saturday as an American resident after receiving political asylum from US officials in Vienna. Mendocino (Calif.) County grape grower Thomas Neece has filed two proposed ballot initiatives with California Attorney General John Van de Kamp that would legalize marijuana and other illegal drugs. Mr. Neece said he wants to reduce crime by taking the profit out of drug trafficking. Choreographer Alvin Ailey passed on Friday in New York. He was a legend in choreography, where he fused black dance techniques with better-known classical works. A mild earthquake shook the area around Riverside County, Calif. Saturday. No injuries or damage were reported.


US Congressman G. V. Montgomery (D) of Mississippi Saturday accused Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega of trying to avoid free elections after Nicaragua refused to grant Mr. Montgomery and three other congressmen visas to observe the campaign. Newsweek magazine, citing US officials, said Saturday that Salvadoran right-wing leader Roberto D'Aubuisson told advisers the night before six Jesuits were killed Nov. 16 that something had to be done about one of the priests. The US's largest Spanish-language radio network, CRC, says its correspondent, Sal Valdez, is missing in El Salvador. San Salvador was relatively calm over the weekend. Panamanian President Francisco Rodriguez has denounced the Bush administration for banning Panamanian-flagged ships from US ports as of Feb. 1. About 14 percent of the world's merchant ships are registered in Panama.

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