The stricken Liberian-registered tanker Braer, full of Norwegian oil, ran aground in a storm Jan. 5 and began pouring oil onto the coast of northern Scotland's Shetland Islands. A Greenpeace spokesman said it would be virtually impossible to avert a major disaster. Abandoned by the crew after an engine failure, the ship hit rocks in heavy seas, threatening to devastate abundant wildlife colonies. The tanker carried 84,500 tons of crude oil, twice as much as spilled by the Exxon Valdez tanker in Alaska fo ur years ago. Bosnian conference

A conference of the three warring Bosnian factions in Geneva recessed Jan. 4 after Bosnian Serbs insisted again on the right to self-determination, perhaps a "state-within-a-state." This position is seen as the biggest single stumbling block to peace. Top mediators Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen were on their way to Geneva for a meeting Jan. 6 with hard-line Serb President Slobodan Milosevic. Their aim was to convince Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to accept their three-part compromise package. The deal

sets out plans for an end to hostilities, a new constitution, and a map dividing Bosnia into 10 provinces. New Texas senator

Texas Democratic Gov. Ann Richards Jan. 5 appointed Robert Krueger (D) to fill the Senate seat of Lloyd Bentsen (D), who is leaving office two years early to become United States Treasury secretary. Mr. Krueger is currently railroad commissioner and a former two-term congressman. He had lost two bids for the Senate. He will serve until a special election will be called, probably in May. Muslim extremists

Algeria's military-backed government has established special courts headed by anonymous judges under orders to impose exceptionally harsh sentences on Muslim extremists. The three new courts must impose the death penalty for offenses that would normally get life imprisonment, life sentences for those ordinarily punishable by 10 to 20 years jail, and a doubling of all other jail terms. Meanwhile, Egyptian police Jan. 5 arrested 80 suspected Muslim extremists after earlier attacks on Coptic Christians and

a church left one man dead and another wounded. In Yemen Jan. 5, security forces foiled a Muslim fundamentalist's attempt to flee the country after he was accused of masterminding two bombings that killed two people. Milken out of jail

Former junk-bond king Michael Milken, who came to embody Wall Street excesses during the takeover boom of the 1980s, has checked into a Hollywood halfway house after serving 22 months in prison for securities fraud. Boeing talks with Daimler

Boeing said Jan. 5 that it is in preliminary talks with German aerospace giant Daimler-Benz AG on a possible joint venture to develop a 600-seat super-jumbo passenger jet. The statement came after the Wall Street Journal said Boeing was in talks with Daimler-Benz and British Aerospace Plc, both members of Europe's Airbus Industrie consortium, which is one of Boeing's chief rivals. US execution

Westley Allan Dodd, who confessed to sex slayings of three boys and warned he would kill again, was executed in Walla Walla, Wash. on the gallows Jan. 5 in the nation's first hanging since 1965. Alarm sounded in Japan

Responding to growing pressures to reverse the severe economic downturn in Japan, Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa said Jan. 5 that the government may take more steps to stimulate the economy if it does not start improving in the coming months. Top business leaders, meanwhile, said they do not expect a recovery to begin at least until fall and asked the government to consider wide-ranging steps to get the economy back on its feet. Japan's economy has been slowing for about two years.

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