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UNITED STATESSenior finance ministry officials from the powerful Group of Seven industrial nations are likely to meet in New York over the weekend to take stock of the deteriorating Soviet and world economies, G-7 sources said. The meeting could set the scene for a full-scale gathering of G-7 finance ministers and central bankers early next year.... US authorities seized $5.8 million in cash from an office at Manuel Noriega's home during the December 1989 invasion of Panama, a US drug agent testified Tuesday at the d eposed dictator's trial in Miami.... CIA Director Robert Gates predicts that the collapse of the Soviet Union and worsening economic deprivation will generate "the most significant civil disorder" since the 1917 Russian revolution.... Calling on physicians to fight the "most serious form of drug abuse" in the US, the American Medical Association has launched a new campaign against smoking. EUROPE Russian leader Boris Yeltsin met Defense Ministry chiefs and military district commanders of his Russian Federation yesterday to press his case for replacing the Soviet Union with a commonwealth of independent states. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who opposes the commonwealth plan, met almost the same group Tuesday, Tass news agency said. The military structure is practically the last lever of power left in the hands of Gorbachev, who is still the commander in chief of the Soviet armed forces.... P rovisions to set up Europol, an FBI-style police corps, were approved by EC leaders at the Maastricht summit to fight crime in the new giant European single market.

AFRICA Air Tanzania sent its first flight to South Africa yesterday as part of a huge airlift to take African National Congress exiles home. Once among the staunchest critics of white rule by Pretoria, Tanzania announced last month it was lifting sanctions on air communications, tourism, and sports with South Africa as a first step towards opening up relations.... Togo's Prime Minister Joseph Kokou Koffigoh and military President Gnassingbe Eyadema met for two hours in a bid to resolve differences that led to a n army takeover last week, national radio said yesterday. They reportedly discussed the future of the transitional assembly, the High Council of the Republic, which includes some of the most radical pro-democracy leaders in Togo. The Army wants the council dissolved. At least 26 civilians and 18 soldiers were killed in recent unrest.

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ASIA AND THE PACIFIC Japan's trade surplus nearly tripled in November from the year before and economic analysts said international pressure on Tokyo to tackle the imbalance is bound to increase.... Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, facing about 80 criminal and civil charges ranging from tax evasion to corruption, indicated yesterday she may run for the presidency in 1992.

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