News Currents

EUROPE AND ASIAGermany formally recognized the breakaway Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Slovenia yesterday and said it would open diplomatic ties with them in mid-January.... Suspected Irish guerrilla firebombs forced police to shut London's underground rail system yesterday, creating chaos for about 500,000 rush hour commuters.... In Hungary, a bus carrying Soviet Jewish immigrants was hit by a bomb blast at Budapest airport yesterday and four passengers were hurt.... The Phnom Penh government closed all universiti es and colleges in the Cambodian capital yesterday after a weekend of violent protests that killed three people and delayed efforts to hold an all-faction reconciliation meeting on Cambodian soil. MIDDLE EAST Leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council began their first post-war summit yesterday in Kuwait City, with security and greater economic integration expected to dominate the three-day meeting.... Israel's ruling Likud party voted overwhelmingly yesterday against proposed electoral reform aimed at direct election of the prime minister. The bill could still pass, however, because it has widespread support among opposition members of parliament and some religious legislators who hold the balance of power in the coalition government.... Syrian President Hafez al-Assad met Sunday in Damascus with Ayatollah Mohammed Baker al-Hakim, chairman of the Higher Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, an Iraqi Muslim fundamentalist group opposed to President Saddam Hussein. Damascus radio said the meeting coincided with reports of activation of a Saudi-Iranian-backed strategy designed to topple Saddam's regime.

SOVIET UNION Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev intends to remain in politics, he said in a CBS television interview aired Sunday. Gorbachev said, however, that he had been offered posts at various United States universities and also had received "serious and interesting proposals" from Japan, Germany, and France.

ECONOMY AND BUSINESS Food, drink, and tobacco companies are out-earning other US businesses. According to a weekend Forbes report, they earned an average of 20 percent for stockholders over five years. The consumer nondurables industry - manufacturers of personal products such as razors, apparel, and toys - was the runner-up, with an average return of 18 percent.... An auditors' report in London on Maxwell Communication Corporation says 1 billion pounds ($1.86 billion) has been lost from shareholders' funds, The Sunday Times said.... Peru has agreed to pay $185 million dollars to the American International Group, which represents firms claiming compensation for an offshore oil concern expropriated in 1985. President Alberto Fujimori said the debt would be paid over seven years.

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