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MIDDLE EAST DEVELOPMENTS Algerian President Chadli Benjedid left for Baghdad Wednesday to meet Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in a bid to avert war in the Persian Gulf.... Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze Tuesday ruled out a military role for his country in the Gulf, and proposed that the Middle East be made a zone free of nuclear and chemical weapons if Iraq withdraws from Kuwait.... Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, meeting with US President Bush Tuesday, expressed a desire to restart the Arab-Israeli peace process once the Gulf crisis is resolved.... The Israeli army has deployed snipers to shoot at Palestinian stone throwers in a new move to quell a three-year-old Arab revolt in Israeli-occupied territories. Parliament member Yossi Sarid said Tuesday that marksmen were assigned to shoot at protestors' legs.


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The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee Tuesday heard testimony that drug companies are using trips, gifts, or cash to encourage physicians to prescribe their product, even if the drug has not received government approval.... In New York, jurors in the second Central Park jogger trial convicted Kevin Richardson of attempted murder and rape. Co-defendant Kharey Wise was convicted on lesser charges.... President Bush will support a constitutional amendment to limit terms of those elected to serve in Washington, Chief of Staff John Sununu said Tuesday.... A bill that holds semiautomatic weapons manufacturers and dealers liable for injuries and deaths involving those weapons won approval from the Washington City Council Tuesday.


In Denmark, four million eligible voters went to the polls yesterday to fill the 179 seats of the unicameral Folketing, or Parliament.... Britain's ruling Conservative Party Tuesday expelled member William Galbraith for slandering parliamentary candidate John Taylor, who is trying to become Britain's first black Conservative Member of Parliament.... Albania's Communist Party responded to mounting unrest with a historic decision to allow political opposition parties, which would end 45 years of one-party rule. The Communist Party had until now insisted that the Balkan country of three million people would not follow Eastern Europe down the road to multi-party democracy.


In Seoul, South and North Korea yesterday exchanged new proposals for rapprochement but continued to differ in their basic approaches toward a nonaggression deal.... In the Philippines, militants demanding a rollback in petroleum price increases prompted by the Gulf conflict yesterday paralyzed transportation in the central island of Negros and six cities.... Bangladesh police yesterday arrested ousted president Hossain Mohammad Ershad after major political parties demanded that he stand trial for running a corrupt and illegal government.

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