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WAR IN THE GULF Syria is willing to make peace with Israel in the framework of a security plan for the Middle East region, German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher said in Damascus Wednesday. He held talks with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. But Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara said Thursday that any peace settlement would have to be based on the Jewish state's withdrawal from all occupied Arab lands.... Iraq on Thursday lowered from 500 to 94 its estimate of the number of civilians killed in the US air raid Wednesday on a structure in Baghdad the Iraqis say was a bomb shelter. The US and its coalition partners maintain that the structure was a command bunker and that Saddam Hussein might have placed civilians there.... Iraq has a major military communications center hidden in a secret basement of the Rashid Hotel in downtown Baghdad, one of the main hotels used by foreigners, placing the target off limits for air raids, the New York Times reported Thursday.... Kuwait's exiled information minister, Badr Jassim al-Yaqoub, said Wednesday that occupying Iraqi troops had shot dead more than 100 Kuwaitis in the past three days.


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German President Richard von Weizsaecker Wednesday, at a ceremony to mark the destruction of Dresden in World War II, compared Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to Hitler. He said: ``It's a hard but necessary task to recognize and then to resist Hitler and Saddam as enemies of mankind.''... President Mikhail Gorbachev said Wednesday in Moscow that switching to a market economy would not bring the Soviet Union instant prosperity, indicating that he favored a slow transition.... The Communist Party daily Pravda denounced the Unites States Thursday for sending aid directly to the Baltic republics, saying it violated Soviet sovereignty and ignored the importance of a unified Soviet Union.


Faced with a stubborn drought and a big thirst, California public agencies and private utilities are considering building a huge desalination plant in Mexico's Baja California.... The FCC said Wednesday Fleet Call Inc., a New Jersey firm, could compete in the nation's biggest cities with its new radio technology against the growing cellular telephone industry.


Saturday: Special session in London of the Commonwealth foreign ministers' committee on southern Africa to discuss ending apartheid laws. Sunday: Presidential elections in Cape Verde, where the opposition in January won the first multiparty parliamentary election after 15 years of one-party rule. Monday: President's Day in the US; Supreme Soviet opens new session in Moscow. Wednesday: The 33rd Annual Grammy Awards presentations at Radio City Music Hall in New York city.

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