News Currents

EUROPE US and Soviet negotiators tomorrow begin talks on a new agreement for the sale of US grain to the USSR. The current agreement expires in 1990. Thousands of Czechoslovakians crossed into Austria yesterday as Prague opened its borders to the West. The Bulgarian Communist Party Sunday condemned the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops, joining Poland, Hungary, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia itself. In Ireland, Dublin city officials pleaded yesterday for a cut in the price of smokeless fuels as choking smog enveloped the capital. Basque separatists ended a 10-year boycott of the Spanish Cortes (parliament) yesterday, but were immediately expelled for refusing to take an oath to support the Constitution.


The price of gasoline has dropped about a half-cent in the last two weeks, according to industry analyst Trilby Lundberg. Motorists paid an average $1.07 per gallon as of Dec. 1, he said. Four out of five unions have ratified a tentative contract with the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, which began publishing last week under a joint operating agreement. The fifth union, the Teamsters, are negotiating with another union in a jurisdictional dispute. In California, police are investigating a claim that an unknown group is spreading the Mediterranean fruit fly in protest against aerial spraying to combat the pest, which threatens citrus crops. The Los Angeles Times Sunday charged the state's former top savings and loan regulator, Lawrence Taggart, with contributing to the $2 billion collapse of Lincoln Savings and Loan, which is currently under congressional investigation.


Forces loyal to Philippines President Corazon Aquino yesterday battled rebels holed up in Manila's financial district. A Philippines government spokesman denied a report that Mrs. Aquino had originally asked the US to bomb rebel strongholds, but was turned down. India is denying a report that new Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh has ordered the withdrawal of Indian troops from Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government claimed that hundreds of members of the People's Liberation Front surrendered during the last three days under an amnesty.


The Salvadoran army says nearly 5,000 government troops and rebels have been killed or wounded since the rebel offensive began Nov. 11. Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark said Sunday that the climate of war and difficulties in getting a lawyer will make it ``extremely difficult'' to get a fair trial for American church worker Jennifer Jean Casolo. She has been charged with storing ammunition for Salvadoran rebels in her home. Former Sandinista hero Eden Pastora Gomez, known as ``Commander Zero,'' has returned to Nicaragua to campaign in elections for a ``social christian'' government free of US or Soviet influence. In Canada, Audrey McLaughlin last weekend became the first women elected to lead the socialist New Democratic Party.

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