The death toll from the worst Philippine earthquake in 14 years climbed to more than 700 as rescuers raced against time at week’s end to find more survivors in the rubble of collapsed hotels and other buildings. In the devastated northern city of Baguio, where at least half of the deaths occurred, heavy rains severely handicapped rescue efforts. The earthquake, which measured 7.7 on the Richter scale, left a swath of destruction across the northern Philippines, causing damage estimated at more than $400 million.
In a major policy shift, Secretary of State James Baker announced that Washington would open a dialogue with Vietnam to prevent the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge from returning to power in Cambodia. He also said that the United States was withdrawing its recognition of the UN seat held by the tripartite resistance coalition that includes the Khmer Rouge. Between 1975 and 1978, when the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia and overthrew the government, members of the Khmer Rouge killed between one million and three million people through forced labor, starvation, torture or execution.
A WINNING APPEAL
A U.S. Court of Appeals threw out former national security aide Oliver North’s three-count criminal conviction in the Iran-contra scandal, and ordered the trial judge to hold a hearing on whether the prosecution case had been tainted by North’s testimony at an earlier congressional hearing.
In a formal break with Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, more than 100 prominent Polish intellectuals formed a new political party, Citizen’s Movement-Democratic Action, sympathetic to Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s policy of following a steady pace of reforms. Walesa’s own Centre Alliance group has demanded that Mazowiecki speed up change.
DEFUSING A CRISIS
The eldest son of Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lai resigned as chief minister of northern Haryana state, defusing a crisis in India’s coalition government during which 13 cabinet ministers resigned. The quarrel erupted after Lai reinstated Om Prakash Chauthala as chief minister without consulting Janata Dal party leaders, two months after the party had ordered him to step down following election violence in the state.
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