News Currents

MIDDLE EASTThe Palestine Liberation Organization yesterday appeared ready to go along with a US-brokered arrangement for the makeup of the Palestinian delegation at a long-sought Middle East peace conference. Delegates to the Palestinians' parliament-in-exile, or Palestine National Council, said PLO leader Yasser Arafat's outline of replies from the US to their concerns as to the makeup and goal of a Middle East peace conference were hopeful. CANADA AND UNITED STATES Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa has guardedly welcomed the Canadian government's new constitutional proposals and indicated that he was willing to negotiate a deal to keep Quebec in Canada.... Robert Gates, President Bush's choice to head the CIA, must clear another hurdle - public hearings next week on whether he doctored reports and stifled dissent when he worked at the spy agency. But Senate sources said his confirmation still seems assured.

ECONOMY AND BUSINESS The US House Energy and Commerce Committee, long opposed to broad powers for banks, eased its stance Wednesday and voted for the first time in almost 60 years to approve a bill that would allow banks into the securities and insurance business. Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady called the bill a step backward in the process of financial services reform.

EUROPE Romania's embattled leaders agreed late Wednesday to form a new government after Bucharest was hit by its worst riots in 15 months, but rioting continued yesterday. Four people were reported killed and fierce battles raged late into Wednesday night and into yesterday. The riots were led by at least 7,000 coal miners from the western Jiu Valley. After failing to win pay raises, they hijacked trains to reach the capital where they urged the government to resign. The country has faced rocketing prices and d windling wages caused by market-economy reforms.... Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has named a slate of prominent liberals to a new political advisory body and picked three of them to lead negotiations with the newly independent Baltic republics. The slate includes former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, KGB chief Vadim Bakatin, Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov, St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak, and presidential adviser Alexander Yakovlev.... Austrian scientists said a 4,000-year-old corpse fr eed from glacier ice on the border of Austria and Italy last week is probably the most important anthropological find since the discovery of Neanderthal man. Scientists at Innsbruck University have dated the body as coming from the south middle European early Bronze Age. Scientists say all indications are that the person came from a well-developed society. The body was dressed in a leather garment.

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