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Bowing to pressure:Maryland's legislative leaders said last...


Bowing to pressure:

Maryland's legislative leaders said last week that the state budget, now $243 million in the red, can be balanced without layoffs, but Gov. William Donald Schaefer had said Wednesday that layoff notices to as many as 1,800 workers could be sent out as early as today. However, by Friday Schaefer bowed to pressure from lawmakers and said additional ways would be studied to offset the deficit, with layoffs used only as a last resort.

The economy:

Wholesale prices rose 0.5 percent in November, the government said Friday, reporting the first moderation of inflation since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait sent energy costs spiraling more than three months ago. The rise in the Producer Price Index follows three months of steep increases -- 1.1 percent in October and August and 1.6 percent in September. For the year so far, wholesale prices have risen at a 6.9 percent annual rate, compared with 4.9 percent for all of 1989.

* In the Baltimore area, single-family home sales declined 6 percent in September, compared with a year ago, and in Washington, regulators blamed the real estate slump across the nation for doubling thrift industry losses in the third quarter. They warned that fourth-quarter prospects were even bleaker. The industry lost $631 million in the third quarter, more than double a $302 million loss in the previous quarter.

* An Evening Sun poll Friday indicated a majority of Baltimore-area residents see no rapid recovery for a depressed economy. Of the 1,100 people questioned, 82 percent believe the economy is headed for a recession.

* In a report containing more evidence of a not-so-jolly Christmas shopping season, the government said Thursday that retail sales fell 0.1 percent in November. It was the first decline since May.

* Economic woes and possible solutions are not confined to the United States. Canada's Senate Thursday passed a consumption tax, which will impose a 7 percent federal levy on nearly all goods and services beginning Jan. 1.

Home at last:

Nathaniel Howell, the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, having led 94 people out of the Persian Gulf, returned to the United States Friday with a planeload of former hostages. Howell, 31 Americans and other hostages flew to Frankfurt, Germany, from Iraq Thursday night. Last Monday, 156 released hostages from Iraq and Kuwait landed at dusk aboard a chartered 747 jet at Andrews Air Force Base.

Race-based college aid:

Any college or university that receives federal funds would be prohibited from offering scholarships designated for minority students under a Department of Education policy that leaked out Tuesday.

Michael L. Williams, the Education Department's assistant secretary for civil rights, said that "race-exclusive" scholarships were discriminatory and therefore illegal.

83-vehicle pileup:

An 83-car pileup near Calhoun, Tenn., Tuesday left 13 people dead and 50 injured. Six tractor-trailers burst into flames and the fire raced along more than two miles of Interstate 75. Federal investigators said it was possible that emissions from a paper mill added to the dense fog blamed for the chain-reaction crash.

Train crash injures 280:

An Amtrak train from Washington derailed and slammed into a packed commuter train in Boston's Back Bay station Wednesday, injuring 280 passengers, 10 critically.

Deep Trough gets deep-six:

A controversial plan to dump dredged material in an area of Chesapeake Bay known as the Deep Trough appears to be doomed by opposition from Gov. William Donald Schaefer. In his strongest statement yet on the subject, Schaefer declared Wednesday at a meeting of the state Board of Public Works: "You're not going to get in that trough for four years. . . . I am not going into that Deep Trough unless the world collapses."

February summit:

President Bush is to go to Moscow for his fourth summit with Mikhail Gorbachev Feb. 11-13 and is helping the Soviet leader feed his people by giving the struggling nation up to $1 billion in credit to purchase food, it was announced Wednesday.

Cavazos is out:

President Bush fired Education Secretary Lauro Cavazos because he did not make enough progress in education -- an area the president named as a high priority for his administration, a source said last week, and John Sununu, the White House chief of staff, personally informed Cavazos, 63, of the firing Tuesday, another source said. Cavazos submitted a letter of resignation to Bush Wednesday The resignation was effective Saturday.

Cavazos, the first Hispanic-American to head a Cabinet department, advocated bilingual education, curbing school dropouts and improving adult literacy.

Reese heads UMAB:

The University of Maryland System Board of Regents Tuesday named Errol L. Reese as president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore. The appointment of Reese, 51, dean of the UM Dental School since 1975, was effective immediately.

No thanks, Bennett says:

William Bennett, the White House's choice to head the Republican National Committee, said Thursday he would not take the job because of financial considerations. Bennett announced his decision after the White House counsel told him that under new federal ethics laws the Bennett would have had to give up lucrative book and speaking fees for one year.

Contraceptive implant OK'd:

Norplant, America's first implantable contraceptive, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it was reported Tuesday. Norplant works by slowly releasing a synthetic hormone into a woman's body through six thin capsules that are surgically embedded in her upper left arm.

Back from space:Back from space: The space shuttle Columbia -- with Maryland astronomers Samuel Durrance and Ronald Parise aboard -- made a perfect landing last Monday at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The night landing, a day sooner than planned, capped a nine-day ride for the seven astronauts, who experienced the frustration of failed computers, the jubilation of never-before-achieved astronomy sightings, and the embarrassing blockage of the craft's sewer system.

Armand Hammer dies:

Armand Hammer, the American captain of industry as well-connected in the Kremlin as he was on Wall Street, died last Monday at 92 in California after a brief illness.

Hammer, a self-made millionaire by the time he graduated from Columbia University medical school at age 23, was also a philanthropist, art collector and crusader for world peace.

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