News Currents

MIDDLE EASTIsrael, which has yet to agree to US proposals for peace talks with its Arab neighbors, favors Washington as a venue for any negotiations, Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy said.... Kuwait's all-male Parliament is being asked to consider backing plans to give the emirate's women the right to vote. A seven-man legal committee is urging the National Council to debate a draft bill. UNITED STATES Joint military exercises between the Soviet Union and the US are possible in the future, Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on ABC television's "Nightline." He appeared in the first joint interview with his Soviet military counterpart, Soviet First Deputy Defense Minister Mikhail Moiseyev.... Nearly eight out of 10 Americans think women should be eligible for combat duty, according to a poll published in the latest issue of Newsweek magazine.... A US agriculture attache rep orted on Friday that Soviet crop prospects are wilting in the face of a hot, dry growing season.

JUSTICE President Bush asked Congress to modify a law that prohibits senior government officials who leave their jobs from communicating with the federal government for business reasons for a year. Bush requested an exemption for those who leave the government to work on political campaigns. The current ethics law for example prohibits Clayton Yeutter, who resigned as agriculture secretary to head the Republican National Committee, from doing business with the White House until March.... A Louisiana judge refuse d Friday to block implementation of the state's new antiabortion law, but scheduled a hearing on its merits eight days before the law takes effect Sept. 6. The act permits abortions only in cases of rape and incest or to save the life of the mother. The law is believed to provide the best test of Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court decision that legalized most abortions in the country.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC In China, the government has released a leading student activist and two cellmates after they completed two-year sentences for their alleged roles in the 1989 democracy movement, friends of the three said yesterday. The three included 23-year-old Zheng Xuguang from Beijing Aeronautical College, who had been listed by police as one of the 21 most wanted student activists.... Taiwan will permit China's Red Cross to visit the island for the first time since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, official media reported yesterday. The officials will check on the condition of 18 Chinese fishermen detained last Sunday by Taiwan's navy on suspicion of piracy.... The US is holding talks with southeast Asian allies on moving some functions of Clark Air Base in the Philippines, said Adm. Charles Larson, the US Pacific Command's commander-in-chief.

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