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THE GULF President Bush sided more closely with the Iraqi opposition by warning Saddam Hussein that he was violating the terms of the Gulf cease-fire by using helicopter gunships against Iraqi rebels trying to overthrow him. Bush added that coalition forces would remain in Iraq unless such operations were stopped.... US Secretary of State James Baker III said Thursday in Damascus that there is now agreement in the Middle East to seek a comprehensive settlement to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. He then le ft Syria for Moscow on the final leg of his diplomatic mission. He will stop in Turkey on his way home.... The US State Department reported that for the first time it had obtained independent confirmation of major unrest gripping portions of Baghdad itself.... Iraqi opposition groups concluded a three-day conference yesterday by announcing plans to form a transitional coalition government. The 17 Kurdish and Sunni and Shiite Muslim groups did not say when the new authority would begin operations.


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The White House will support a Senate amendment introduced by Sen. John Warner (R) of Va. seeking renegotiation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to allow development of a ``star wars'' defense system.... Five of the Army's servicemen and women became the first of 21 Americans held as prisoners of war in the Persian Gulf to receive medals for the ``steep price'' they paid ``in the name of freedom.'' ... The US House reversed itself Wednesday and voted to provide another $30 billion to p ay off depositors who had money in failed thrifts.... Stanford University may have overcharged the US government as much as $200 million during the 1980s for indirect expenses related to federal research, Rep. John Dingell (D) of Mich. said.


Isolated South Africa wants to stage the Olympics early next century, says Sam Ramsamy, chairman of the newly formed Interim National Olympic Committee of South Africa.... Environmental officials from across Central America will urge their governments to request a $1.5 billion debt-for-nature swap with Washington to avert a ``regionwide ecological disaster.'' ... Isolated Laos has reported its first detected case of AIDS infection.... Japan is likely to accept an expected US call to extend a pact limiti ng sales of supercomputers, often used to design atomic weapons, a Japanese official said yesterday.... Opposition leader Vuk Draskovic has raised the stakes in Yugoslavia's political crisis by demanding elections and the resignation of the communist Serbian government.


Saturday: Start of Ramadan, Muslim month of fasting. Sunday: St. Patrick's Day; national elections in Finland. Tuesday: Migrating swallows due to check in to the Spanish mission in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

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