News In Brief

Soviet party schedules session on dire farm performance

The Communist Party Central Committee is expected to meet in a highly unusual extra session this week to discuss the Soviet Union's disastrous agricultural performance, according to Western diplomats.

The diplomats said Sunday rumors that President Konstantin Chernenko would step down at the session expected today appeared unfounded, adding that they believed the body would merely make minor personnel changes in the ruling 12 -member Politburo.

There were also reports that Politburo member Mikhail Gorbachev, believed by some to be the most likely successor to Mr. Chernenko, may relinquish responsibility for agriculture to devote himself to ideological and party affairs.

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