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MIDDLE EAST DEVELOPMENTS Defense Ministers of the six Persian Gulf Arab states were to meet in Riyadh today for talks on the Gulf crisis. It will be the second gathering of defense ministers from Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates since Iraqi troops occupied Kuwait.... US Secretary of State James Baker said Sunday if Iraq withdrew from Kuwait, it would get the ``reward'' of avoiding attack by US forces. But Iraqi President Saddam Hussein insisted that a global solution must be found to the region's problems, especially the Palestinian issue.... Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez was joined by former Costa Rican President and Nobel Peace Laureate Oscar Arias Sanchez Sunday for the annual ``March for Peace,'' in which an estimated 100,000 people called for a peaceful solution in the Gulf.... The last soldiers of Lebanon's main Christian militia left Beirut yesterday, paving the way for the Syrian-backed government to reunite the capital after 15 years of civil war.


In Brussels, the most ambitious free-trade talks ever attempted resumed yesterday with the United States and European Community at loggerheads over farm subsidies. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade talks started in Uruguay four years ago, but negotiations have consistently stumbled over farming. Washington is demanding deeper, faster cuts in subsidies than the European Community is willing to contemplate.... Chancellor Helmut Kohl won a landslide victory Sunday in the first all-German elections since 1932 (See story, Page 1).... In Moscow, President Mikhail Gorbachev appointed senior Communist Party official Boris Pugo to replace Interior Minister Vadim Bakatin, who was criticized by hard-liners for not doing enough to stop growing crime and ethnic unrest.


In Argentina, President Carlos Menem declared a state of siege yesterday after rebel officers seized the army headquarters in Buenos Aires in a dawn attack. An army statement said around 50 armed men took the headquarters and were in partial control of several other units in the city.... President Bush began a five-nation South American tour yesterday to promote free trade and to drum up support for the US position in the Persian Gulf.


A 40 percent rise in the temperature of the Arctic oceans, recorded during successive summers by Alaskan scientists, has raised sea levels and caused pack ice to recede, according to Benjamin Negeak, director of the Barrow office of Alaska's Department of Wildlife Management.... Botanists from around the globe have launched a project to classify the world's 250,000 plants in a single catalog for the first time. When the project is completed, it will provide a base for research into plants used for crops, desert stabilization, and pharmaceuticals.

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