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MIDDLE EAST DEVELOPMENTS Iraqi President Saddam Hussein yesterday asked his nation to prepare for battle against the US and its allies, promising that Iraq's victory was ordained by God (See stories, Page 1).... Israeli warplanes yesterday blasted a Palestinian guerrilla base in southern Lebanon near the port city of Sidon.... Citing inflated insurance costs, the Polish national carrier LOT and Cyprus Airways halted flights to Israel yesterday; Scandinavian Airline System (SAS) said it would suspend flights to Israel by Jan. 8. Pan American World Airways, South African Airways, and four major European carriers last week suspended or cut back flights to Israel.... A Cypriot freighter was sinking yesterday in the Gulf of Oman after hitting a mine, the Greek Merchant Marine Ministry said. And Lloyds Shipping Intelligence said yesterday that it received an unconfirmed report from Saudi Arabia that an unmanned oil rig in the Persian Gulf was extensively damaged by a floating mine.


In Moscow, President Mikhail Gorbachev Saturday ordered an inventory of inefficiently used land as a first step in a program to encourage more small individual farms. Gorbachev has called for a national referendum on the issue of private ownership of land.... Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will lead the Bruges group of Conservative parliamentarians opposed to closer political integration within the European Community.... Raging storms and hurricane-force winds ravaged Britain and Ireland Saturday, leaving three people dead.


In Somalia, US and Italian military aircraft landed in the war-ravaged capital of Mogadishu and evacuated about 400 foreigners in an operation that ended early yesterday. Fighting between guerrillas and government forces erupted last week.... A partial cease-fire went into effect Saturday in Mozambique's 14-year-old civil war after some 10,000 Zimbabwean troops agreed to remain in two narrow corridors that provide landlocked Zimbabwe access to the sea.


In Beijing, Chinese economists warned of increasing inflation as the government's budget deficit continues to grow. The economists expressed concern over government easing of its austerity program coupled with a failure to resolve structural problems in major industries.... A team from the International Monetary Fund was to arrive in Manila today to work out terms for a $700 million loan package to help the Philippines cope with the economic fallout from the Gulf crisis. Manila and Washington will also resume negotiations this week on the future of US military bases in the Philippines.... Soviet envoy Igor Rogachev yesterday said that Moscow was willing to act as peacemaker between bitter enemies North and South Korea.

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