News Currents

UNITED STATESPresident Bush marked Halloween in Houston by holding the first fund-raiser of his bid for reelection. A Gallup poll released Sunday showed his approval rating down to 55 percent Oct. 24-25, an 11 percent decline from a week earlier.... Thousands of roving volunteers and a steady rain apparently held down the number of Devil's Night (Halloween eve) arson fires in Detroit compared with recent years. But bands of teenagers set 86 fires, broke windows, and pelted police cars with everything from eggs to Mol otov cocktails during "Mischief Night" in Camden, N.J.... A compromise bill on job discrimination may be on its way to the White House soon to become law after the Senate passed it 93 to 5. The House is expected to pass the measure and President Bush has said he would sign it. The bill would reverse recent Supreme Court decisions that made it difficult for women and minority workers to win job discrimination suits. ENVIRONMENT AND SCIENCE The US Environmental Protection Agency released details this week of a market-based incentive system to reduce sulfur-dioxide emissions - to fight acid rain - by 10 million tons a year from the nation's utilities by the year 2000. That would be nearly half of what it was in 1980. The basis of the new plan is a system of "allowances" that can be sold or traded by utilities that cut emissions easily to those who have a more difficult and costly procedure.... Galileo project manager William O'Neil of the Na tional Aeronautics and Space Administration said that the spacecraft came within 1,000 miles of the asteroid Gaspra and took photographs of the potato-shaped hunk of rock and metal. It was the first time a spacecraft has ever encountered an asteroid.... A group of environmental officials with the group Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management agreed this week to propose the same strict auto emission standards as those imposed by California. The requirements would add up to $170 to the price of a new car, the group said.... In what the hosts described as "an experiment in biodiversity," delegates to a South African environment conference sat down this week to a menu of locusts, termites, caterpillars, crocodile casserole, and ostrich kebabs.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN Guatemala's National Police chief resigned Wednesday following accusations that he was responsible for three cases of torture, the Interior Ministry announced. Col. Mario Enrique Paiz Bolanos denied the accusations but stepped down to avoid possible problems stemming from the charges, Interior Minister Fernando Hurtado Prem told a news conference.... The Colombian government and leftist guerrillas restarted peace talks yesterday, a month after the government broke off the negotiations to protest an attac k on a leading politician. Jesus Bejarano, the presidential adviser on peace talks, said the round of talks in Caracas would continue until Nov. 10 but could be extended by common accord if circumstances warranted.

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