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MIDDLE EAST AND GULF The US, France, and Britain expect to offer safe havens in northern Iraq to Kurdish refugees within two weeks and have assured the UN that the mission poses no threat to Iraq's sovereignty. In Paris, after meeting French President Mitterrand, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar said he had no objections to sending foreign armed forces into Iraqi territory to help refugees. Iraq and the UN signed an agreement in Baghdad Thursday that pledges to ensure "safety and relief" for the refugees. Iraqi Foreign Minister Ahmed Hussein Khudayer and veteran UN trouble-shooter Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan signed the pact.... Secretary of State James Baker III said in Luxembourg that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein should spare his country further bloodshed by leaving the country. Baker's remarks appeared to signal there may be a way for Saddam to escape additional "consequences" for invading Kuwait. Baker also said the European Community should reconsider its decision to pursue a war-crimes trial against Saddam. P resident Bush had already said Saddam might be able to live somewhere in exile, but he denied any deal has been made.... Baker also said that the EC should be part of any Middle East peace conference. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who met with Baker Thursday, had earlier marked the 43rd anniversary of Israeli statehood by saying on national TV that he believed Arabs at war with Israel had begun to realize they could negotiate peace. He said: "To say today that Israel must be destroyed, let's have n othing to do with them, sounds absurd in the Arab world."


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The Food and Drug Administration said inspectors found "serious deficiencies" in how the American Red Cross chapter in Portland, Ore., was protecting its blood supply against AIDS and hepatitis B and ordered changes.... President Bush has saluted Nicaraguan President Violeta Chamorro as the liberator of her country's "heartbeat and spirit" and pledged to help her overcome Nicaragua's $365 million in debts.... Heirs of the late Jim Henson, creator of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, filed a lawsuit in a N ew York federal court against The Walt Disney Company alleging trademark and copyright infringement of the Muppet characters.... Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who planned and led the defeat of Iraq's Army, returns home from the Gulf Sunday. He plans to retire this summer, and Florida state Republican Party leaders have said they plan to ask him if he would like to run for the US Senate seat now held by Democrat Bob Graham. There is also the possibility of a book contract that could pay him over $4 million.


Saturday: Icelandic general elections. Sunday: "2000/Love," a tennis celebration in Washington to end world hunger by the year 2000; The London Marathon. Tuesday: Ban on sale of tobacco in drugstores in Quebec takes effect.

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