News Currents

MIDDLE EASTAll three direct negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors began yesterday in Madrid after Syria dropped its objections. Israel fielded three teams for face-to-face talks with a Palestinian-Jordanian delegation, as well as with teams from Syria and Lebanon. (Stories, Page 3) ... Thousands of leaking Iraqi chemical shells scattered over the entire country are too dangerous to move and will have to be destroyed on the spot, the head of a UN chemical inspection team said. UNITED STATES Jesse Jackson said he would forgo a third run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Jackson is expected to accept an offer from CNN to host a talk show.... Five of the six major Democratic candidates kicked off the 1992 presidential campaign in earnest Saturday in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary.... A Chinese graduate student who killed five people and himself in a campus shooting rampage in Iowa City on Friday plotted the crime down to the last detail, officials said Saturday . Gang Lu of Beijing was said to have been distraught that he did not receive an academic honor for his doctoral dissertation.... About 100 demonstrators from the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue were arrested Saturday in Cranston, R.I., during a protest outside a women's medical center. The arrests came after a major rally planned by the group for Massachusetts was diverted to Rhode Island.... President Bush and his wife, Barbara, Saturday poked through the remains of their home in Kennebunkport, Maine , mourning the loss of irreplaceable personal items. Their only private home, it was hit by an unexpectedly savage ocean storm Wednesday.

EUROPE Romania's first free local elections since the collapse of communist rule will be held early next year. Also, a quarter of Romanians will have cold homes this winter because of a severe energy crisis and the power grid could break down in mid-January, utilities have said.... The newly elected president of the self-proclaimed Chechen republic declared the area of southwestern Russia sovereign Saturday in an apparent step toward secession from the Russian Federation.... Soviet Georgia, in a step apparently aimed at opposition movements, has halted the registration of new political parties, a local journalist said.... Irish Republican Army guerrillas bombed a top-security Belfast hospital yesterday, killing two British soldiers.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC Government officials have reached an out-of-court settlement in a racketeering suit against former first lady Imelda Marcos - scheduled to arrive home today - Philippine officials said yesterday. The country would drop the charges in exchange for her turning over assets in several bank accounts along with cash and valuables seized by US customs authorities.

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