MALTA: Poker with Dom

With the approach of Prime Minister Dom Mintoff's Jan. 15 deadline for Britain to either pay more money or give up its bases on Malta, the negotiations took on some of the overtones of an international poker game. Mintoff kept insisting that Britain pay a $33.8 million rent hike over last year's $13 million. The British, holding the line at a proposed $11.7 million increase, evacuated 6,000 military dependents and began moving R.A.F. planes and personnel to bases on Sicily and Cyprus.

At home, "Deadline Dom's" bluff was psychologically strengthened by 2,000 or so of his Laborites, who marched through the...

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