News Currents

MIDDLE EASTGholamreza Aqazadeh, Iran's oil minister, said five European banks would lend Tehran more than $1.8 billion to build up its petrochemical industry. He said that the credits had been secured from Belgian, Dutch, French, German, and Italian banks. More than $1.25 billion of the credits would be used to finish the giant petrochemical complex at Bandar Imam in southern Iran.... The International Committee of the Red Cross appealed yesterday for more cash from Islamic states to help cover an unprecedented 199 1 budget deficit of $35 million. ICRC's representative in the Arabian Peninsula, Arnold Luethold, said the Gulf war and clashes in the horn of Africa pushed 1991 field expenses to a record $443 million last year. UNITED STATES Even though Czechoslovakia and Hungary probably cannot afford to buy US arms just yet, the fact that Washington gives its blessing to such trade is a vote of confidence, Defense Secretary Richard Cheney said Saturday. He said he doesn't expect any large sales in the near future. He was scheduled to arrive in Budapest yesterday and will also pay a one-day visit to Prague, the Czechoslovak capital, later in the week.... Federal government regulators say that up to 400 banks and savings and loans are likely to fail in the coming year, the Washington Post reported yesterday. William Taylor, the new chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Timothy Ryan, director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, said in interviews that the most costly cases would be in the Washington area, New England, and California.... Kimberly Bergalis, of Florida, the first person reported to have gotten AIDS from a dentist, died yesterday. She had testified before Congress, urging legislation protecting patients from h ealth-care workers.

EUROPE AND AFRICA South African writer Nadine Gordimer, winner of this year's Nobel literature prize, urged the UN Saturday to act against a Muslim threat on the life of British author Salman Rushdie.... Libya will try two of its nationals accused by Britain and the United States of blowing up a Pan American Airlines jumbo jet in 1988, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Mohamed Beshari announced yesterday. He also said that Libya rejects US and British demands to hand over the two men.... Romania condemned the Soviet Army over the weekend after reports that it had armed Russian separatists in the ethnic Romanian-dominated Moldavia region to disrupt presidential elections there.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN An Organization of American States mediator, former Colombian Foreign Minister Augusto Ramirez Ocampo, left Haiti Saturday without an accord to solve the Haitian crisis. But he took with him Marie-Laurence Lassegue, the first senior aide of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to be let out of Haiti since the Sept. 30 military coup, diplomats said.

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