News Currents

MIDDLE EAST AND GULF Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said in an interview with Le Monde that he himself will never give up the occupied territories, but his successor might trade land for peace after about a five-year period of successful Palestinian autonomy.... The Saudi Press Agency reported April 22 it continued to support the setting up of an independent Palestinian state on Israeli-occupied territory, including East Jerusalem, despite its anger over the PLO's pro-Iraq sympathies.... Kuwait has indicated a willingness to abandon part of the Arab boycott of Israel and do business with US companies that also work with the Jewish state, according to American Jewish leaders in New York, who said they learned this from Thomas Pickering, the US ambassador to the United Nations.... Uniformed Iraqis carrying Kalashnikov rifles are still roaming Zakho, Iraq, where US, French, and British forces are attempting to set up a haven for Kurds who have fled.... US Secretary of State James Baker III changed his itinerary and flew to the Soviet Union from Damascus April 23 for talks on Middle East peace.


President Bush has ordered his aides to release records of all travel by White House chief of staff John Sununu, the focus of published reports that he has used military aircraft for dozens of personal or political trips.... The planned launch of the shuttle Discovery April 23 on an eight-day ``star wars'' research flight was delayed until at least April 28.... The Supreme Court let stand a decision in an Alabama drug case that even if a substantial segment of a jury consists of blacks, a verdict can be overturned if others were excluded from the panel because of their race alone.


The world's economic growth will fall for the third year in a row in 1991 even if oil prices remain relatively low, the Asian Development Bank said in a report April 23 but said growth will pick up again next year.... Six Gulf Arab states have agreed to set up a multibillion-dollar fund which they hope will help promote stability in the region. The agreement was reached at the first meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council since the Gulf war ended. The six states would no longer lend their petrodollars without guarantees that the money would be used ``wisely.'' ... Phillip Chisholm, executive vice president of the Washington-based Petroleum Marketers Association of America, said in New York that major oil companies are squeezing competition and independent wholesalers out of the retail ga soline market.


A powerful earthquake rocked central Costa Rica and parts of Panama April 23, killing at least 29 people, injuring many others, collapsing buildings, and causing fires.... Leftist Salvadoran rebels have shelved their demand for a purge of human rights violators from El Salvador's armed forces in an effort to break a deadlock in peace talks, a rebel leader said April 22.

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