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MIDDLE EAST AND GULF Iraqi troops and tanks attacked Kurdish refugees at the Iranian border, killing a number of them and closing off an escape route, Tehran Radio said April 15. It said the April 14 night attack, the first reported at the Iranian border since the US warned Iraq against attacking refugees last week, occurred opposite the border town of Sar-e-Pol-e-Zahab, 320 miles southwest of Tehran.... Reuters reported April 15 that the pressure of world public opinion was mounting for a new kind of foreign presence withi n Iraq to protect Kurds and other refugees from President Saddam Hussein. China said April 16 it opposed the concept because it would violate Iraqi sovereignty.... Sadako Ogata, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, returned to Tehran from a trip to border camps for Iraqi refugees and called for massive international aid to avert an even larger human tragedy. Ogata said the UN had underestimated the problem.


Secretary of State James Baker III was to leave April 16 for a new round of consultations on Middle East peace, his third such mission since the Gulf war ended. Baker plans to meet EC foreign ministers - who have voted to press for a war-crimes trial of Saddam Hussein - in Luxembourg April 17 and be in Israel Friday, April 19. The Israelis were reported to be setting up a new Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank the day of Baker's departure.... Former President Richard Nixon said in a scathing Ti me magazine essay published April 15 that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was leading his country toward the abyss and warned Washington it must also forge ties with his rivals.... The world's most powerful domestic communications satellite, launched into space April 4, could be on its way to becoming a $C300 million ($261 million) piece of space junk. Telesat Canada, a world leader in satellite communications said April 15 in Toronto it has been unable to deploy the antennas on its newest satellite, the An ik E2.... The White House, faced with deadlocks over arms control, is now uncertain whether President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev will meet a midyear target date for their next superpower summit.


The African National Congress April 15 appeared to soften an ultimatum which demanded the resignation of two security ministers unless the government acted to curb township violence.... Direct foreign investment in Mexico was up $1.73 billion the first quarter of 1991, a 108 percent increase over the same period in 1990, the Mexican Commerce Ministry said.... Japan may consider lifting economic sanctions against South Africa if the country releases its political prisoners, Minister of International Trad e and Industry Eiichi Nakao said. The EC voted in Paris April 15 to lift its remaining sanctions against South Africa.... North Korea has opened a joint venture travel company in Macao to handle tourist visa applications.

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