News Currents


Saudi businessmen are cheating US companies out of hundreds of millions of dollars by flouting contracts and refusing to arbitrate disputes, US lawmakers said Tuesday. They warned the Saudi government that action must be taken within 30 days or else they would press corrective legislation.... A group of Alaskans backing Ross Perot for president said Tuesday that they have collected five times the number of signatures needed to put the Texas billionaire on the state's November ballot.... California's pens ion funds are being looked at as a means for funding some of the rebuilding of riot-damaged areas of Los Angeles, said Kathleen Brown, the state treasurer, Tuesday. ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

On Tuesday, at a two-day meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, Japan's Economic Planning Agency Minister, Takeshi Noda, accused the US and other industrial nations of being short-sighted in urging Tokyo to take further fiscal measures to help pull the world economy out of slump.... The US Commerce Department ruled Tuesday that Japanese companies were dumping minivans in the US at low prices. But Japanese carmakers said Wednesday they were confident that the US Int ernational Trade Commission will find them not guilty.... Amnesty International called on China Wednesday to release all prisoners of conscience and give its political prisoners prompt and fair trials or free them, too.... India successfully launched a research satellite Wednesday using its own rocket and satellite technology, Indian news agencies said. This follows two unsuccessful launches in 1987 and 1988. THAILAND

Thousands of Thai antigovernment protesters, calling for the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Suchinda Kraprayoon, defied state-of-emergency decrees and rebuilt barricades across one of Bangkok's main roads Wednesday. Barricades cutting off Ramkhamheang University were removed Wednesday morning but went up again just before noon. Australia Wednesday withdrew soldiers training with the Thai military and New Zealand protested the killing of one of its citizens in Bangkok, apparently by government t roops. The two governments joined international disapproval and charges of brutality against the Thai military government. Western nations appealed again for dialogue. The Bush administration is under fire for not taking a stronger stand. The Defense Department said Tuesday that US combat troops would drop out of US-Thai maneuvers, but that troops involved in medical assistance, well-drilling, and other humanitarian efforts will stay. UNITED NATIONS

The Security Council reached agreement during informal consultations Tuesday to endorse an application by the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina for membership.

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