JAPAN MAY CUT NUCLEAR PROGRAM Apparently responding to concerns about its plutonium policy, Japan may drastically slow down a series of nuclear power projects, government officials said Feb. 22. The Science and Technology Agency is considering the delays because it believes earlier estimates of how much plutonium Japan would need in the next century were too high, a spokesman said. But media commentators and other analysts say the moves show Japan is bowing to international criticism of its plans to use plutonium, a highly toxic and radioactive material, to make electric power. Plutonium can also be used in nuclear weapons. Several countries have abandoned plans to use plutonium to produce power for both economic and security reasons, leaving Japan as the only major country actively pursuing its use. Olympic results
In a spectacular ice-dancing showdown, Russians Oksana Gritschuk and Evgeny Platov edged countrymen Maia Usova and Alexander Zhulin for the title on Feb. 21. The people's champions 1984 gold medalists Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean of Britain were third. In ice hockey, the US team secured the last playoff spot on Feb. 21. They will be one of eight teams in the single-elimination medal round, which also includes Canada, Sweden, Slovakia, Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Greenspan sees rates rising
US Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan said Feb. 22 that US real short-term interest rates are more likely to rise than to fall in the period ahead, although he made clear that he was uncertain when any such rise would occur. In his semi-annual testimony before Congress, Mr. Greenspan also said that overall cost and price pressures remain under control, and the economy will continue forward. FCC orders rate cut
The US Federal Communications Commission voted Feb. 22 to order a 7 percent cut in cable television rate cuts, modifying an already controversial and complex set of regulations. The move marks the government's second attempt in 10 months to lower prices for the nation's 58 million cable television subscribers. Last April it adopted rules aimed at cutting charges, but loopholes resulted in price increases.
Navy's first female pilot
On Feb. 20, Lt. Shannon Workman became the first woman to qualify to fly combat aircraft off US Navy war ships. Starting next month, the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower will start receiving the first of an estimated 500 women in its 6,000-member crew. The ship will be the first Navy warship to integrate women since Congress lifted the combat-exclusion law last year.
Middle East talks
A security committee formed by Israel and the PLO met in Cairo Feb. 22, continuing talks to finish off details of a Palestinian self-rule agreement. A separate group was expected to resume work on details of transferring civilian authority. Israel and the PLO missed the deadline for Israel to start withdrawing more than two months ago and the Palestinians now say they hope to have a deal by the end of the Muslim fasting season Ramadan, around March 12.