Beirut — The American hostages held in Beirut by Shiite Muslim gunmen for 17 days dined in some of the capital's best restaurants and said they were treated well by their captors. But the hostages were also subjected to political harangues and films about the cause of the Shiite Amal movement. They were used by the hijackers to keep the drama on American television virtually around the clock.
Friday, the Amal militiamen who held the 39 hostages escorted them to the Druze-owned Summerland Hotel on the beach in west Beirut for a late-night, poolside dinner. The hostages feasted on Arabic dishes and were given roses. ABC News filmed the dinner. Some of the hostages subsequently were allowed to call home.
The dinner caused an uproar among the press corps. Most reporters were sleeping at a hotel across town when it started at midnight. They learned of the event only when irate editors saw it broadcast live by ABC in New York.
To compensate the enraged press members left out of the dinner, Amal brought a hostage to the hotel for an impromptu press conference at 5:30 a.m. Saturday.
Saturday was perhaps the worst day for the hostages since the initial terrifying shuttle between Algiers and Beirut immediately after TWA Flight 847 was commandeered June 14.
Syria and the United States announced the hostages had been released and taken to Damascus by bus, but 32 of the 39 sat all day in a dilapidated school, awaiting the news that they would be freed.
Instead, they learned that the fundamentalist Hizbul-lah, believed to be the group that pulled off the hijacking, had refused to relinquish the last four hostages. That meant the release of them all was postponed until Hizbul-lah could be reassured that Israel would in fact release all 735 Lebanese prisoners it is holding in Atlit prison.
The hostages' captors told them their release was delayed because President Reagan had referred to the hijackers in a speech Friday as ``thugs, murderers, and barbarians.''
The hostages were split up and taken to homes spread throughout the devastated Shiite southern suburbs on Saturday night.
Zimbabwe elections proceed despite charges of rigging
Campaigning ended Sunday for Zimbabwe's first general elections since independence, with opposition leader Joshua Nkomo charging the ballot is rigged and Prime Minister Robert Mugabe confident of being returned to office. Voting for 79 of 80 seats guaranteed to blacks in the 100-member House of Assembly will take place Monday and Tuesday. Former Rhodesian leader Ian Smith led his Conservative Alliance of Zimbabwe to victory in a separate white ballot last Thursday, winning 15 of 20 seats reserved for whites.
Mr. Mugabe told a rally Saturday that the 100,000 white minority voters had rebuffed his policy of reconciliation by its support of Smith.
No agreement reached on Reagan-Gorbachev summit
The White House said no agreement had been reached on a time and place for a summit meeting between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The Washington Post in a Saturday report from Moscow quoted diplomatic sources as saying the leaders had tentatively agreed to meet in Geneva in November.
Seoul police stage crackdown on student protest leaders
Police raided nine major universities before dawn on Saturday. They said 65 radical leaders sought in connection with recent violent anti-government protests were arrested. Among those seized was a Korea University student, the vice chairman of the Sammin Struggle Committee, sought by police in connection with the student occupation of a US government library in downtown Seoul last month. Nineteen students have been indicted in connection with the occupation of the US library.
Soviet Union expands aid to key ally, Vietnam
The Soviet Union is to boost aid to Vietnam, its key Southeast Asian ally, and reschedule outstanding debts. A statement issued by the two countries after talks Saturday between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Vietnamese Communist Party chief Le Duan said the economic package would boost economic aid, provide credits from 1986 to 1990 and reschedule repayment of earlier credits.
Texas Republican strides into Democrat territory
Republican Edd Hargett outpolled his Democratic opponents in a special election Saturday for northeast Texas' 1st Congressional District seat, but was forced into a runoff when he failed to win 50 percent of the vote. Mr. Hargett will face Democrat Jim Chapman in a runoff in mid-July or early August for the House seat, which has been held by Democrats for the past 100 years.
Participants said a victory for the GOP might point towards greater Republican party strength in traditionally Democratic Texas.
Navy chooses San Francisco as home port for battleship
The USS Missouri will make San Francisco its home port, city officials said Friday. The Japanese surrendered on the ship in World War II, and it has since been refurbished with nuclear capabilities. The decision to base the ship here could be worth up to $60 million a year in payrolls, said Navy officials.
Mayor Dianne Feinstein said the city could also benefit from another $70 million a year in related expenditures.
US-USSR citizen groups join to reject nuclear terrorism
American and Soviet citizens' groups, in a joint statement to mark the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the UN charter, urged swift international action against any terrorists claiming to have nuclear weapons. The appeal, issued Friday, urged the US and the Soviet Union to ``underscore their concern about nuclear terrorism by developing a stronger international consensus that any use of, or threat to use nuclear weapons by terrorist groups will be met with a swift international response.''
Sakharov videotape surfaces
West German newspaper ``Bild'' printed this picture Friday of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov apparently receiving a medical examination. The picture was made from one of two videotapes provided to Bild by Moscow sources. The newspaper said the videotapes included a doctor in a Gorky hospital describing Dr. Sakharov's condition. The date on a calendar in the videotape indicates that some of the scenes may have been filmed on June 14.