News In Brief

President Reagan and Honduran President Roberto Suazo C'ordova will meet at the White House May 21 to discuss the situation in Central America, Deputy Press Secretary Larry Speakes said Wednesday.

US envoy links better ties with USSR to rights gains

US Ambassador Richard Schifter told the Soviet Union, in a speech at an international human rights conference Wednesday, that any improvement in US-USSR relations, including an arms treaty, was inextricably linked to progress on human rights, especially the case of Andrei Sakharov. Mr. Schifter spoke at a six-week meeting of the 35 countries that signed the 1975 Helsinki Accords.

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N.Y. bank cuts prime rate to lowest point in 6 years

Bankers Trust, the nation's eighth-largest bank, cut its prime lending rate Wednesday by half a percentage point to 10 percent, its lowest level in more than 61/2 years. The reduction by Bankers Trust, the first in the industry since mid-January, put the interest charge at its lowest level since October 1978.

S&Ls in 3 states getting curbs or new coverage

All of Maryland's 102 privately insured savings-and-loan associations are now operating under an executive order issued by Gov. Harry Hughes limiting withdrawals from about 1 million accounts to $1,000 a month. The governor will call the legislature into special session Friday to take further steps to protect the thrifts. The moves were announced Tuesday after two S&Ls insured by the Maryland Savings-Share Insurance Corporation were placed in conservatorship.

In Georgia, eight state-chartered S&Ls now backed by private insurance are planning to become federally insured banks, the state's deputy banking commissioner said in an interview published Wednesday in the Atlanta Constitution.

And in North Carolina, 56 S&Ls and credit unions, also backed by private insurance, are applying for federal insurance, according to their private insurer, Donald R. Deason, president of the Financial Institutions Assurance Corporation.

April dip in US output the first in six months

US industrial production fell 0.2 percent in April. This was the first decline in six months, as the industrial sector of the economy continued to suffer from America's weak trading performance, the government reported Wednesday. The Federal Reserve Board said its index of total output at US factories, mines, and utilities fell for the first time since a 0.4 percent decline last October.

House panel releases details on alleged arms overcharges

The House Armed Services Committee released an investigative report Wednesday giving voluminous details of $109.8 million in challenged billings to the Pentagon by seven giant defense contractors. Committee auditors reviewed one year of billings by each of the companies and found that two of them exceeded General Dynamics Corporation in questionable costs billed to the government.

General Dynamics was questioned on $15.3 million of its bills; McDonnell Douglas Corporation, on $31 million; and the Boeing Company, $29 million.

Baldrige says Indian policies are good for US investment

Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige praised India's economic policies Wednesday, saying they would encourage investment by American companies. Mr. Baldrige is the first member of President Reagan's Cabinet to visit India since Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was elected five months ago.

Baldrige's three-day visit here is mainly to prepare an agenda for Mr. Gandhi's visit to the US June 12-15, Western diplomats said.

UN aid official from Ireland seized by gunmen in Beirut

Aidan Walsh, a senior Irish official of a UN relief agency in Lebanon, was kidnapped Wednesday by armed men as he drove to work in mainly Muslim west Beirut. Mr. Walsh was taken from his blue-and-white UN car in a residential district, a UN spokewoman said. Mr. Walsh was the 12th foreigner seized in Muslim-controlled areas of Lebanon this year. Five of the others are still being held, plus four foreigners who were seized last year. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Walsh's abduction.

Cairo police quell protesters opposing talks on Sinai area

Riot police used batons to disperse 300 demonstrators who burned the Israeli flag outside the Cairo synagogue Wednesday. They were demonstrating against a meeting between Egyptian and Israeli officials who began discussions yesterday on the tiny disputed coastal strip of Taba in the Sinai -- held by Israel but claimed by Egypt. Several people were arrested.

Israeli Army retracts report of Lebanese border firing

The Israeli Army said guerrillas in southern Lebanon fired across the border Tuesday at an Army ambulance, but the statement was retracted later Tuesday. The Army's swift withdrawal of its original report was apparently aimed to avoid panic in northern Israel, where residents are concerned over the possibility of guerrilla attacks after Israeli troops pull out of Lebanon.

FBI issues alert for 2 Sikhs named in plot to kill Gandhi

The FBI has put out a worldwide alert for the two Indian Sikhs who allegedly plotted to assassinate Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his visit to the United States, spokesman Manuel Marquez said Wednesday. But Mr. Marquez said the bureau had not yet concluded the two men -- Lal Singh and Ammand Singh -- had left the US.

Philadelphia police probe among ruins of MOVE house

Police using a huge crane Wednesday to dig through the charred ruins of the radical group MOVE's house, found a seventh body. Six bodies were removed Tuesday from the ruins of the house after a daylong siege by police and a fire that set the neighborhood ablaze.

Ex-political prisoners headed for flights from Cuba to US

A chartered flight next Monday will bring the first former political prisoners to the United States from Cuba under a new immigration agreement with Cuba. Spokesmen for the Intergovernmental Committee for Migration, which arranges refugee travel, said Tuesday that 28 former prisoners and their relatives will arrive at Miami International Airport.

Under the agreement, Cuba has been accepting undesirable refugees who arrived in the US five years ago.

US jets said to have trailed airliners near Persian Gulf

Two US fighter planes shadowed two civilian airliners just outside the Persian Gulf area May 7, causing one of them to make an unscheduled landing in Muscat, aviation sources in the region said Wednesday. Under internationally recognized rules, civil aviation authorities must be given prior notice of military exercises near commercial air traffic lanes. No such notice had been received recently about exercises in the Arabian Sea-Gulf of Oman area, according to the sources.

CorrectionsCorrections for May 6, 14, 15

In a May 6 article on Ethiopia, an investigation into resettlement of famine victims was incorrectly attributed to the group Survival International. The study was in fact conducted by the group Cultural Survival. (Related letter, Page 16.) The May 14 issue of the Monitor incorrectly stated that Argentina and Cuba established diplomatic relations in 1983. These ties were established in 1973.

A Wednesday story on American Motors should have noted: ``Both Renault and AMC face a new onslaught by the Japanese, who plan to ship an additional 450,000 cars to the US this year.'' Japan plans to increase its car shipments to 2.3 million.

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