News Currents

ECONOMY The US Internal Revenue Service yesterday began mailing more than 107 million income-tax forms and instruction packages to taxpayers. East European and third-world debt is expected to rise next year, according to the World Bank, which estimates that the debt of 111 countries will rise to $1.189 trillion in 1990 from $1.165 trillion this year.


About 100 Israeli commandos backed by tanks and helicopter gunships destroyed a leftist guerrilla base at Nabi Safa in southern Lebanon before dawn yesterday. Police said two guerrillas were killed. Beirut newspapers, radio, and television stations on Monday released morale-boosting messages to eight American hostages in Lebanon, including two marking a fifth Christmas in captivity. Meanwhile, former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr said Monday he believes Iranian secret service agents are holding British hostage Terry Waite, either in Lebanon or Iran. Iran released 50 ailing or disabled Iraqi prisoners of war Monday to Red Cross representatives as a gesture of goodwill, Tehran radio reported.


The government of China Monday said it had arrested five Hong Kong and Macao residents on charges of trying to smuggle dissidents out of the country. The Sri Lankan government yesterday said its forces killed 11 Sinhalese rebels in clashes Monday. The army of exiled ruler Prince Norodom Sihanouk, the Khmer People's National Liberation Front, and the Khmer Rouge killed 35 Cambodian soldiers and wounded 50 others in several attacks in western Battambang Province last week, Sihanouk's group said.


In northern Ethiopia, rebels said Tuesday they killed, wounded or captured 1,066 government troops when they seized the towns of Rabel and Mehal Meda in Shoa Province last week. The government of Burkino Faso said Monday it foiled an attempted coup against the two-year-old regime of President Blaise Compaore. It was the second coup attempt against President Compaore since he assumed power after a 1987 coup.


The US Coast Guard said Monday it is preparing to test a new system for keeping track of oil tankers in Alaska's Prince William Sound. The system will use satellites and long-range navigation aids rather than radar. Preliminary results of a US Fish and Wildlife Service study of Hurricane Hugo's effect on wildlife in South Carolina and Puerto Rico show population losses for some of the country's most endangered birds, including the American bald eagle. An earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale struck the Ungava Peninsula of northern Quebec, Baffin Island, and the eastern part of the Northwest Territories on Christmas morning. No damage or injuries were reported.

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