News Currents

CRISIS IN THE GULF Iraqi Information Minister Latif Nassif al-Jassem told a news conference Wednesday night that war could break out ``at any moment,'' and blamed the US for escalating tensions.... Kuwait's ambassador to the US said nations which have deployed forces in the Persian Gulf could hardly be blamed if war broke out. Sheikh Saud Nasir al-Sabah told a news conference that he thought there was no chance sanctions alone would force Iraq out of his country.... Vice President Dan Quayle said Wednesday that the US would seek to disarm Iraq even if President Saddam Hussein withdrew from Kuwait.... The Japanese government's plan to send troops to the Gulf looked dead in the water yesterday, having come under heavy fire in parliament.


Officials from Panama and the US began formal negotiations Wednesday on a mutual legal-assistance treaty. According to Panamanian bankers, the US seeks cooperation in fighting tax evasion and money laundering.... The State Department is developing sweeping new rules to block any US exports that could be used in clandestine nuclear, chemical, or biological warfare programs. The regulations would require companies to get licenses before shipping listed materials to countries that are suspected of running secret programs to make missiles. The new rules could affect as much as $250 billion worth of overseas sales.... The Republican Party's campaign committees have outspent their Democratic counterparts for next Tuesday's elections by 4 to 1, the Federal Election Commission reported.


The Russian Federation launched a radical economic reform plan yesterday. The Russian parliament Wednesday adopted a law declaring the republic had full control of all its natural resources.... South Africa yesterday imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in three black townships outside Cape Town and granted police tough security powers to quell violence that has killed eight people in the past week. The townships of Lingulethu, Khayelitsha, and Old Crossroads join 16 black communities around Johannesburg designated as unrest areas.... Communal violence claimed at least 24 more lives as Hindu and Muslim militants in India battled each other nationwide over a disputed religious shrine. More than 70 people have been killed since Tuesday in disputes over the mosque in northern India.... Two former contras and a pro-Sandinista cooperative farmer were killed in armed clashes for the control of farm land in northern Nicaragua. At least 14 people have been killed in land disputes between former rebels and Sandinistas in recent weeks.


Saturday: Meeting of the Warsaw Pact heads of government, on future of the alliance, in Budapest.... Tuesday: Election day in the United States.... Wednesday: Revolution Day in the Soviet Union.

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