LONDON-A financial crisis and the politics of apartheid, played out within a continuing battle between the developed and the developing nations, pose serious problems for the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU).

The Council, formed in 1931, is made up of 20 international scientific unions and 71 national academies and research councils representing millions of scientists in a variety of disciplines. For years it has worked to coordinate scientific research worldwide with UNESCO, whose $35 million science budget dwarfs the Council's total budget of $2 million.

But UNESCO's financial problems, which stem in part from the withdrawal last year of the United States and the United Kingdom, have meant reducing its contribution to the Council by nearly one-half, to $329,000. The Council wants to fill the gap with direct grants, and has been offered $148,500 from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a similar amount from the Royal Society....

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