STOCKHOLM, Sweden _ The Social Democratic government Friday began dismantling the welfare state it built, proposing sharp cuts in benefits and state jobs to stop the country's economic decline. Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson presented an austerity package to slash $2.65-billion from the national budget and eliminate 10 percent of the approximately 185,000 civil service jobs over the next three years. The government proposed cuts in sick pay, defense, education and price subsidies in an attempt to control inflation, increase worker productivity and restore confidence in the currency.Albanian author ripped for defection
TIRANA, Albania _ The government Friday condemned the country's leading writer, saying his defection to France was an "ugly act" that placed him "in service of the enemies of Albania." The charge carried by the state news agency came a day after Ismail Kadare announced his defection during a visit to France with his wife and two daughters. France granted him immediate asylum. Kadare is probably Albania's best-known public figure after President Ramiz Alia, who has been making gradual moves to lift Albania out of three decades of virtual isolation from the rest of the world.
Gas hikes protested
BUDAPEST, Hungary _ Taxi and truck drivers blockaded Hungary's border crossings and paralyzed cities Friday in a confrontation with the government over a sudden 65 percent increase in gasoline prices. Taxis blocked five bridges across the Danube in Budapest and the road to the airport. Official sources said access to the main frontier posts with Austria, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia was almost impossible. The drivers' action plunged the increasingly unpopular center-right government into its worst crisis since it won a landslide general election victory only five months ago. The cost of a liter of super-grade gasoline rose from 61 U.S. cents to $1 at midnight Thursday. About 3.8 liters equals one gallon. Motorists spent the day besieging gasoline stations following rumors of an increase.
official shot, killed
SANTIAGO, Chile _ Unidentified assailants firing from a speeding car on Friday assassinated an army intelligence agent who served as a bodyguard for former military ruler Gen. Augusto Pinochet, police said. Police said Sgt. Victor Valenzuela was shot five times as he left his house Friday morning in a working-class neighborhood in southern Santiago. Interior Minister Enrique Krauss said Valenzuela was a member of the army intelligence service.
LONDON _ Sudan has appealed to the United Nations for 75,000 tons of urgent food aid. The amount is three times as much as the U.N. has offered in an emergency operation to help 800,000 people over three months in drought-hit areas of the country.
HELSINKI, Finland _ A student who fell eight stories after trying to climb in through the window of his locked apartment has been billed more than $1,300 to repair the roof he landed on.