News In Brief

Israeli soldiers withdrew Wednesday from positions in the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon, where they had faced the Syrian Army for nearly three years. There was no sign the Syrians planned to move out of the zone they have controlled in central and northern Lebanon since 1976.

Naming of 28 new cardinals reflects new Vatican policy

In an effort to shift church power from its traditional European base, Pope John Paul II named 28 new cardinals from 19 countries Wednesday. The cardinals include Archbishops John J. O'Connor of New York and Bernard F. Law of Boston. The new cardinals will be formally elevated at a consistory May 25 at the Vatican. Also yesterday, the Pope received East German leader Erich Honecker in the first meeting between a Pontiff and the head of the communist German state since its creation 36 years ago.

Volcker urges letup in limits on interstate banking in US

Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul Volcker is urging Congress to approve limited interstate banking. He said Wednesday that technology and regional compacts have blurred the state lines that once sharply divided the industry.

Mr. Volcker said Congress should at least allow interstate banking in metropolitan areas that cross state lines and could allow interstate banking nationwide, provided there were safeguards to ensure competition.

Australia, US to hold talks on disarmament

Australia and the United States will hold talks on disarmament and arms control next week, according to Foreign Minister Bill Hayden. Australia held similar discussions in March with the Soviet Union.

Imports of consumer goods spark sales boom in China

Chinese retail sales rocketed by one-third in the first three months of the year as a surge of imported consumer goods set off a street sales boom. Deputy Commerce Minister Jiang Xi was quoted in Wednesday's China Daily newspaper as saying Peking was spending $2 billion to import consumer items like color television sets and refrigerators.

Former Teamsters president ordered to begin sentence

A federal judge ordered former Teamsters president Roy L. Williams to a prison hospital Wednesday to begin serving time for conspiring to bribe former US Sen. Howard Cannon of Nevada. US District Judge Prentice Marshall rejected the argument that Williams was too ill to be imprisoned or that he could be assassinated while in jail.

Nicaraguan President plans another visit to Soviet Union

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega will visit the Soviet Union late this month, the official news agency Tass reported Wednesday. On previous trips to Moscow, Mr. Ortega sought economic aid for his leftist Sandinista government, which has strong Soviet support.

N.Y.C. medical examiner is cleared of wrongdoing

Dr. Elliot Gross, chief New York City medical examiner, was cleared Tuesday of wrongdoing by investigators who said they found no evidence that he helped cover up the cause of death in several cases where people died in police custody. Mayor Koch appointed a special panel to investigate the reported allegations of the New York Times in January that Dr. Gross falsified or obscured autopsy reports or death certificates. Although the panel's report cleared him, it found that his office was so divided by ``civil war'' that ``it is not a credible office.''

Gross, who took a leave of absence Jan. 29 to defend himself, returned to his office Tuesday after the panel exonerated him. Gross will file a libel suit against the Times.

Chief heart surgeon removed from duties at naval hospital

The chief heart surgeon at the Bethesda Naval Hospital has been dismissed because of questions about his ``surgical competence,'' the Navy said Tuesday. The Navy said it had launched a formal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the hiring of the surgeon, Comdr. Donal Billig.

Former Sen. Sam Ervin, who led Watergate panel

Former Sen. Sam J. Ervin Jr. (D) of North Carolina, who passed on here Tuesday, was a ``country lawyer'' and authority on the US Constitution who became something of an international folk hero when he presided over the Senate Watergate hearings that led to President Nixon's resignation. In his 20 years in the Senate, Senator Ervin was both a critic of civil rights legislation and a champion of civil liberties.

Safety delay reported on US missiles in Germany

The United States has suspended deployment of Pershing II missiles in West Germany pending safety modifications, the chairman of the West German parliamentary defense committee, Alfred Biehle, said Wednesday. The West German Defense Ministry denied this and said that stationing is proceeding according to plan with no delay. Mr. Biehle spoke after his committee was briefed by West German Defense Minister Manfred W"orner and US Secretary of the Army John Ambrose on the results of the American investigation of an accident with a Pershing II last January. That accident at a US Army base near Heilbronn killed three American soldiers and injured 16.

Biehle did not say how long modifications would take. He stressed, however, that the suspension of deployment was only temporary and that there has been no change in the overall plan to deploy 108 Pershing IIs in West Germany and 464 cruise missiles in five Western European countries by 1988. Fifty-four Pershing IIs and 80 cruises are already in place, according to NATO figures.

The executive summary of the investigation presented to the Bundestag committee cites static electricity as the most plausible cause of the accidental igniting of the motor stage of the Pershing II in January. The electricity built up in unusually cold and dry weather, the report hypothesized.

1985 Pulitzer Prizes announced

The Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Journalism Wednesday for reports on a design problem in Bell helicopters. The Pulitzer for general news reporting went to the Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star of Norfolk, Va., for city hall coverage. Newsday won the award for international reporting for a series of articles on the plight of the hungry in Africa, and the commentary award for columns by Murray Kempton. The Philadelphia Inquirer and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Time shared the award for investigative reporting. The newspaper's Larry Price won a Pulitzer for his series of photographs from wartorn Angola and El Salvador.

The Des Moines Register's Thomas Knudson won the award for national affairs for a series on the dangers of farming.

Alice Steinbach of the Baltimore Sun won the Pulitzer for feature writing for ``A Boy of Unusual Vision,'' an account of a blind boy's world.

The Pulitzer for editorial writing was awarded to Richard Aregood of the Philadelphia Daily News.

The Stephen Sondheim play ``Sunday in the Park With George'' won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The award for fiction went to ``Foreign Affairs'' by Alison Lurie. ``The Good War: An Oral History of World War II,'' by Studs Terkel, was awarded the prize for general nonfiction.

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