MIDDLE EASTPresident Vaclav Havel held talks yesterday with Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, marking Czechoslovakia's new policy of boosting economic, defense, and political ties with moderate Mideast nations. The ties also improve Prague's chances of hosting one of the sessions of the ongoing Arab-Israeli peace talks, should they switch back to Europe.... Arab states opposed to telephone links with Israel have found an ally when Israeli Communications Minister Raphael Pinhasi said plans to launch a direct-dial servi ce to a dozen Arab countries today were on hold pending formal approval of the rates. UNITED STATES A truck carrying 11,000 pounds of radioactive uranium dioxide crashed into a wrong-way car in Springfield, Mass., and burst into flames early yesterday, but no radiation was released, state police said. Wooden boxes enclosing containers of the radioactive material were burned, however. The truck was bound for the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant in Vernon, Vt.... Supporters of Republican presidential candidate David Duke are trying to gather 2,500 voter signatures by this Friday to get the former Ku Kl ux Klan leader on the March 10 Massachusetts primary ballot. Last week, Democratic Secretary of State Michael Connolly said he would not exercise his option to put Duke on the ballot, and Republican Party leaders followed suit.
EUROPE German Chancellor Helmut Kohl opened the first post-reunification party congress of his Christian Democratic Union with calls for solidarity with eastern German members who have come under sharp attack from western party members for their communist past. A big question is whether a purge of some eastern members would hurt the party's changes in the east.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC South Korea plans to start working-level talks with North Korea this week to persuade the North to give up nuclear weapons development and agree to a nonnuclear Korean peninsula. Last week, South and North Korea concluded a historic Agreement on Reconciliation, Nonaggression, Exchanges, and Cooperation.... Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been expelled from her political party, which won an overwhelming election victory last year, the military-appointed election commission announced in Rango on. Exiled party members in Thailand, however, said the expulsion was illegal and made at gunpoint.... Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways flew to Vietnam yesterday for the first time since the 1975 Communist takeover. The airline will fly twice weekly round trips from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City and to Hanoi, the national capital.... Several Taiwanese magazines are providing a free condom in every copy under a Health Department plan to halt the spread of AIDS.