News Currents

AROUND THE MIDDLE EAST Iraq is wooing world opinion with moves to release more than 1,000 foreigners, some of whom rioted in captivity to protest beatings and bad food. Iraq released 14 Americans and 38 Britons Oct. 23.... Bettino Craxi, the UN secretary-general's special representative on debt, recommended Oct. 23 a debt moratorium for countries most affected by the Persian Gulf crisis. Craxi said the increase in interest rates and the tightening of world liquidity would hit all developing countries.... Saudi Arabian King Fahd insisted that the kingdom's stand against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait remains unchanged. The Saudi Press Agency said the monarch was commenting Oct. 23 on media reports suggesting the kingdom might be shifting its position.... The Israeli Army barred the 1.75 million Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip from entering Israel Oct. 24 in an attempt to halt a wave of violence between Arabs and Jews. Two Arabs were killed Oct. 23 and four Jews were wounded by Palestinian assailants during a third day of spreading ethnic violence.


The Senate killed Oct. 23 a proposal that would have cut $100 million from the construction of logging roads in national forests and used half the savings to reduce the federal budget deficit. Western Republicans argued that the Fowler amendment would cost more money than it was designed to save by forcing the Forest Service to curtail timber sales.... The Senate also defeated a proposal Oct. 23 that would have changed the Endangered Species Act and jump-started the process to lift logging restrictions in the Pacific Northwest aimed at protecting the northern spotted owl. Sen. Bob Packwood (R) of Oregon said he offered the proposal on behalf of thousands of loggers and mill workers in the region who stand to lose their jobs because of cutbacks in timber harvests imposed to preserve the habitat of the spotted owl.... An earthquake rocked northeastern California late Oct. 23. The tremor, measuring from 5.0 to 5.7 on the Richter scale, was centered in a sparsely populated area at Mono Lake.


A group of Hindu fundamentalists called a national strike Oct. 24 over the arrest of their leader and to test the strength of Prime Minister V. P. Singh's minority government. The Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew support for Singh's government after its president, Lal Krishan Advani, was arrested Tuesday during a journey to a religious site claimed by both Hindus and Muslims.... The Vietnamese government has agreed to receive an official Vatican delegation next month in a step toward conciliation between the communist state and the country's best-organized religious minority.... Communist guerrillas clashed with police and transport drivers in Manila Oct. 24, but a general strike called by leftist unions demanding pay raises failed to paralyze the Philippine capital.... A typhoon damaged 110,000 houses and killed seven people in coastal provinces of Vietnam.

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