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MIDDLE EAST The Emir of Kuwait, under pressure from the West to speed up democratic reform, has announced general elections in 16 months. Opposition spokesmen immediately denounced the move as a ploy to buy time to rig the elections, to be held in October next year.... The Iraqi Army has sent tanks into the Kurdish town of Sulaimaniya after gun battles between Iraqi security forces and gunmen assumed to be Kurdish peshmerga guerrillas, travelers from the town said yesterday.... A British defense journal, Jane's Int e

lligence Review, said yesterday that North Korea sold 24 improved Scud missiles to Syria in March. North Korea has also sold missiles or missile technology to Iran, Egypt, and Libya, the journal said.


"The Will Rogers Follies," an all-American revue about a lasso-spinning cowboy humorist, was awarded the Tony for Best Musical Sunday, triumphing over British import "Miss Saigon," which recounts the final days of the Vietnam War. Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers" won the best play award.... Thousands of delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention poured into Atlanta for what is expected to be an annual meeting unmarked by the usual controversy between conservative and moderate wings. The American flag wa s

displayed in profusion, and Oliver North and President Bush will both give talks. Last month, 6,000 moderate Southern Baptists held their own rally and set up their own organization.... Engineers replaced a faulty navigation device and restarted the shuttle Columbia's countdown yesterday with launch on track for tomorrow, two weeks late because of a flurry of unrelated technical glitches.


British Prime Minister John Major will invite Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev for a bilateral meeting during the summit of major industrial nations in London next month, the Guardian reported yesterday in London.... The Soviet prosecutor's office in Moscow yesterday defended the use of troops in the suppression of pro-independence demonstrations in Lithuania last January. The prosecutor said none of the 13 civilian victims was killed by the Soviet military or their auxiliary forces, contradicting fir s

thand accounts by a host of Western reporters and local witnesses.... In Paris, France unveiled a plan for global disarmament yesterday and said it would sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which would leave China as the only major nuclear power not party to the 1968 pact.... Germany's Social Democratic Party won elections in Hamburg Sunday, garnering a majority. Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic Union suffered a stinging defeat, winning only 35 percent of the vote, about 5 percentage po i

nts less than in the last elections in 1987.... An Italian official announced in Rome that a former Ethiopian acting premier, sheltered in the Italian Embassy in Addis Ababa, has killed himself, and that three other senior fugitives have surrendered to the new authorities.

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