News Currents

UNITED STATESThe state of California retained its triple-A credit rating after Wall Street completed its review of the state's budget. The state's credit rating was jeopardized earlier this year when a $14.3 billion projected deficit emerged in the budget..... Sales of existing California homes, rebounding from a long slump, rose 24.9 percent during the second quarter as a result of pent-up demand following the end of the Gulf war, a real estate trade group reported.... In Detroit, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women filed a lawsuit to block establishment of three experimental all-male academies in city public schools. The groups contend the schools would violate the constitutional and statutory rights of female students. AROUND THE WORLD The Israeli government Aug. 6 established a new Jewish settlement on the occupied West Bank, in a move seen as darkening the atmosphere for regional peace talks.... Yugoslavia's warring Serb and Croat forces kept a fragile cease-fire Aug. 6 while the European Community pondered a new diplomatic move to avert civil war. EC foreign ministers met in The Hague to discuss both military action and economic sanctions on Serbia.... Nepal and India agreed Aug. 5 on a new set of trade and transit treaties, formali zing the cooperation New Delhi extended last year with Nepal's transition toward a democratic government.... The Indian government Aug. 6 delayed a promised statement on the activities of the scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in India, saying it needed time to gather information. Parliamentarians have demanded a statement in response to reports of alleged collusion between BCCI and government figures in getting foreign currency out of the country.... South African Zulu leader M angosuthu Buthelezi Aug. 6 rejected charges that a scandal over secret payments to his Inkatha Freedom Party had destroyed his credibility. President Frederik de Klerk in July admitted paying roughly $90,000 to the conservative Inkatha movement over four years. ENVIRONMENT A new US Fish and Wildlife Service plan would reduce by roughly 25 percent the amount of Northwest forest subject to logging restrictions to protect the endangered spotted owl. The new proposal would designate 8.2 million acres of federal and state forest as "critical habitat" for the owl - a reduction of 3.4 million acres from an earlier plan.... The nation lost 2.6 million acres of ecologically valuable wetlands from 1974 to 1983 to either farmland conversion or other development, a new US Fish and Wil dlife Service study shows.... Canadian Coast Guard officials ordered a remote-control underwater vehicle to pump oil from a sunken Japanese fish factory ship in Neah Bay, Wash., while their US counterparts prepare to corral oil leaking from the vessel.

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