News Currents

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC Japan's Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu, on an Asian tour, arrived in Bangkok April 30 seeking to promote efforts to end the Cambodian conflict. Japan assumed the Cambodian peace-seeking mantle following the Feb. 23 military coup in Thailand, which damaged that country's diplomatic powers. Japan also will provide $1 million in aid to the government in Cambodia, through UN agencies.... Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui declared an end to 43 years of emergency rule as of May 1, opening the way for greater dem ocracy on the island and closer relations with China. What Lee ended was the Period of Communist Rebellion, a decree issued by the Nationalist government just before it lost the Chinese civil war to the communists and fled to Taiwan in 1949.... Police in Beenleigh, Australia, opened a store to attract thieves wanting to offload stolen goods. Over six weeks, three undercover constables collected enough stolen goods - including a new Mercedes and 100 garden gnomes - to bring 415 charges against 94 people.


Dozens of people were killed and seven villages were destroyed by an earthquake that shook the Soviet republic of Georgia April 29.... Boris Yeltsin, leader of the Russian republic, visited striking coal miners in Siberia April 30 and explained he had called for President Mikhail Gorbachev's resignation in March because the president had "to be cooled down, since at that time he headed the offensive of the rightist forces." The miners have been calling for Gorbachev's resignation and are upset over a pa ct Yeltsin signed recently with Gorbachev.


An army coup April 30 ousted Maj. Gen. Justin Lekhanya as military ruler of the southern African kingdom of Lesotho. Lekhanya himself went on the radio to say in a shocked and quavering voice that he had resigned, diplomats said.... Angola's ruling MPLA party has abandoned Marxism-Leninism in favor of social democracy with the aim of preserving its 16-year grip on power in the nation's first multiparty general elections, planned in about 18 months.... El Salvador's National Assembly approved a package o f constitutional reforms late on April 29 in a crucial step toward ending the 11-year-old civil war. The reforms tighten civilian control on the armed forces and introduce sweeping changes in the electoral and judicial systems. Before going into effect, they have to be also ratified by a two-thirds majority of the new Assembly that opens May 1.... A key Druze militia in Lebanon has surrendered a large quantity of weapons, and Druze chief Walid Jumblatt said the conflict is over. The Christian Lebanese Force s militia, Jumblatt's main rival, agreed to give up arms by May 1, the government's date for disbanding the militias.... Ten African National Congress activists were freed from the notorious Robben Island jail in South Africa as the government rushed to meet an ANC April 30 deadline for the release of political prisoners.

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