News Currents

HOSTAGESAmerican hostage Alann Steen walked to freedom Dec. 3 after 1,773 days in captivity. Steen, handed over to Syrian intelligence officers in Lebanon, was transported to Damascus where he was to meet United States diplomats. Terry Anderson, the longest-held American hostage, remained in captivity.... Israel said Dec. 3 it would release all its Lebanese prisoners, including pro-Iranian cleric Sheikh Abdel Karim Obeid, in return for the remains or the release of its six servicemen missing in Lebanon (see stor y, Page 6). ASIA AND THE PACIFIC Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan said Dec. 3 he would return to the Cambodia. He said he wanted United Nations forces to be placed in Cambodia, not just for his safety but to bring about political neutrality. Meanwhile, Prince Norodom Sihanouk convened a meeting of Cambodia's reconciliation body Dec. 3 (see story, Page 4).... South Korea announced plans Dec. 3 to cut its military reserves to ease tensions with the communist North and alleviate labor shortages.... In Toyko, a bill allowing Japanese troops to take part in UN peacekeeping operations cleared a major hurdle Dec. 3 when the lower house of parliament voted 311 to 167 in favor of the measure.... Taiwan may sue the US over American sanctions against the island's drift-net fishing fleet, the government's Council of Agriculture said Dec. 3. Washington banned Dec. 1 all tuna imports from Taiwan if the fish were caught by drift nets.

UNITED STATES A US move toward recognizing the Ukraine's independence has set down standards for dealing with similar drives by other Soviet republics. The administration said recognition hinged on issues of control of nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory, respect for borders and human rights, commitment to a free-market economy, and the Ukraine's obligation with regard to the debts of the Soviet Union.... In Los Angeles, former Ku Klux Klan leader Tom Metzger was sentenced to six months in jail for taking part in a cross-burning ceremony eight years ago.... Students at Fort Lewis College in Colorado said they would invite Ku Klux Klan organizer Shawn Slater to speak on campus at a racial-awareness forum in February.

EUROPE UN envoy Cyrus Vance Dec. 3 traveled to the front-line city of Osijek to check on the cease fire he says is essential if peacekeeping forces are to come to Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees appealed for $24 million to help 500,000 people driven from their homes by the fighting in Yugoslavia.... Britain wants Maastricht summit, Dec. 9-10, to pledge greater protection for animals. London is pushing a draft declaration for European Community leaders to sign that would require Comm unity states and the European Parliament to consider animal protection with every new EC law.

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