MIDDLE EAST PEACE ACCORD SINGING SET Israel and the PLO have set next Wednesday as the target date for signing a historic agreement establishing Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank town of Jericho and in the Gaza Strip. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced the breakthrough yesterday after four-way talks with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and US Secretary of State Warren Christopher. But Mr. Mubarak said Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin will go to Cairo Tuesday night to take up with Arafat two remaining sticky issues the size of the Jericho area and whether Palestinian guards will be posted on the Allenby bridge, which connects Jordan with the West Bank. The accord had been scheduled for completion last Dec. 13, but negotiations faltered and violence in the occupied territories increased. Computer consortium
The White House has approved a federal plan to spend up to $1 billion to help US companies compete with Japan in advanced flat-panel computer display screens, administration officials said Wednesday. It would be the biggest US government effort to help private industry since a plan to aid computer chipmakers was launched seven years ago. Flat-panel displays are found in laptop computers and modern military equipment. Derivatives damage
Procter & Gamble Company, the biggest American household and personal care products maker, Wednesday said earnings fell 4 percent because of huge losses on bad trades in derivative contracts it disclosed earlier. P&G reported a $102 million charge to cover losses in interest rate swaps financial instruments used to take a position on interest rate moves. Several major corporations and sophisticated investors recently said they have lost hundreds of millions of dollars after investing in derivatives before interest rates unexpectedly shot up. Trucking strike
A tentative agreement giving Teamsters pay increases while granting concessions on part-time workers and rail shipping could end a three-week-old nationwide trucking strike, a union official said Wednesday. Representatives from local unions involved in the dispute meet today to decide whether to accept the four-year accord with Trucking Management Inc. under the auspices of federal mediators. N. Korea inspection offer
North Korea says it will permit international inspectors to be present when it refuels a nuclear reactor but will not allow them to take samples, a South Korean report said yesterday. Taking samples from spent fuel rods is vital to determining whether nuclear material has been diverted to a weapons program. An International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman said that North Korea has only partially agreed to the inspection. The IAEA will not send inspectors unless it receives a written statement agreeing to all inspection activities, he said.