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MIDDLE EAST DEVELOPMENTS Iraq and the United States vowed not to yield over Kuwait and said their armies were ready for battle.... After two days of talks, Saudi Arabia and Syria Sunday appeared split on whether to destroy Iraq's war machine should war erupt. Saudi Arabia reportedly favored destruction, but Syria adamantly rejected the idea.... Conflicting reports on the possible use of US nuclear weapons in a war against Iraq surfaced in separate publications yesterday. The Washington Post reported that military leaders had decided against using nuclear or chemical arms. But Newsweek magazine said the Pentagon had ordered a study on the feasibility of employing nuclear weapons to shorten a war.... UN General Assembly President Guido De Marco urged Israel yesterday to accept an international peace conference on the Middle East.


At the United Nations, New York City Mayor David Dinkins Sunday urged a dozen US and Soviet mayors to pressure their federal governments to ban nuclear-weapons testing and send the savings to problem-plagued cities around the world. More than 40 nations yesterday began a conference on an international prohibition of all nuclear testing.... Citing the government's failure to regulate research involving fetal tissue and reproduction, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Fertility Society said a national advisory panel comprised of medical, legal, ethical, and public policy experts will set up guidelines for such research.... More than 40,000 gallons of Alaskan crude spilled Sunday into a drainage ditch from an underground pipeline south of Seattle.


A Chinese official and Western sources yesterday said China is using the Gulf crisis as a cover to begin the trials of political dissidents and is announcing the most lenient sentences first to deflect criticism.... The Philippine armed forces said yesterday they want a ban on general strikes by labor unions and price controls on basic commodities if war erupts in the Gulf.... In Seoul, about 200 demonstrators, mostly relatives of Koreans killed in World War II, yesterday rallied to protest a visit by Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu later this week.


In Haiti, Roger Lafontant seized power in a coup early yesterday, one month before the planned inauguration of a populist priest who won a landslide victory the country's democratic elections last month. Lafontant, a supporter of ousted dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, said no force was used to bring down provisional president Ertha Pascal Trouillot (See story, Page 5).... With 75 percent of votes counted, the electoral tribunal yesterday declared Jorge Serrano, an evangelist businessman, the winner in the second round of Guatemala's presidential elections (See story, Page 8).

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