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GULF AND MIDDLE EAST Kurdish rebels fighting to topple Iraq's president, Saddam Hussein, are reinforcing positions in the northern oil city of Kirkuk in anticipation of an attack by government troops, opposition sources said Thursday. The rebels said they attacked an Iraqi air force base near Kirkuk Thursday and destroyed three jet fighters and four helicopters on the ground.... President Bush Wednesday again predicted Saddam will lose control of Iraq. ``People are fed up with him, they see him for the brutal dictator that he is,'' Bush told reporters.... Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has warned of more violence in the Gulf if Bahrain allows the US to set up a military headquarters there.... UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar told the Security Council Wednesday an ``agreed outline'' of a solution to the Cyprus problem should be possible soon if all parties cooperated.


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A high-level Quebec commission appointed to chart a course for the Canadian province recommended Wednesday that a referendum be held by October 1992 to decide whether Quebec should secede from Canada. But Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa moved quickly to play down the recommendations, saying the final decision lay with the provincial government.... A US ban on imports of tuna from Mexico has been M DBOextended to Venezuela and Vanuatu by a district federal court, an environmental group trying to save dolphins from fishermen said Wednesday.... The ACLU filed a damage claim Wednesday against the state of California, alleging that two anti-war demonstrators badly beaten by highway patrolmen Jan. 17. The alleged attack was recorded on videotape.... Former President Reagan, long a foe of gun-c ontrol laws, is expected to endorse a seven-day waiting period for handgun purchases, The Washington Post and CBS News said Wednesday.... Bush gave a thumbs up sign on his return to the White House from Bethesda Naval Hospital where he was pronounced in ``excellent health'' after his annual medical checkup.


Mikhail Gorbachev has for the first time described future ``international relations'' between the Soviet Union and some of its republics that want to secede. Gorbachev reportedly refused Thursday to pull Soviet troops off the Moscow streets in advance of a big rally in support of his rival, Boris Yeltsin. Scientists reported in the scientific journal Nature that an Antarctic ice shelf has rapidly disintegrated MDN Mover the past 20 years, apparently due to localized temperature increases, and suggested the breakup was triggered by climatic warming.


Saturday: Exiled patriarch of Ukrainian Catholic Church, Cardinal Myroslav Lubachivsky, returns from exile for first time since Stalin forced church to merge with Russian Orthodox Church. Sunday: Easter; Elections in Albania; Soviet Republic of Georgia holds its own independence referendum.

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