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EUROPE

France and Germany, with a joint proposal to set up the embryo of a European army, raised the stakes in a debate about whether NATO should keep a monopoly on Western defense into the next century. The plan to set up a European army corps could give the European Community a defense role for the first time in its 34-year history. The 12-nation Community, engaged in tortuous negotiations about closer economic and political integration, has also been arguing about whether to take on a defense role. But few had expected such concrete proposals so soon. The plan is to set up an army corps - usually 70,000 to 100,000 men - with troops from the nine member states of the Western European Union, based on an embryo force to be established by France and Germany. The proposal stresses that NATO would be consulted on sensitive moves.... A French professor, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes of the College de France in Paris, won the 1991 Nobel Prize for Physics yesterday for work explaining behavior of liquid crystals, polymers, superconductors, and magnets. Swiss Professor Richard Ernst, of the Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule in Zurich, won the 1991 Nobel Prize in chemistry. MIDDLE EAST

Jordan and the PLO have agreed on a confederal-type joint leadership under King Hussein and Yasser Arafat that will direct their delegation at a proposed Middle East peace conference, senior PLO official Taysir Khaled said yesterday. …