News In Brief

David Stockman resigned as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget yesterday. Stockman has been a controversial figure, most recently suggesting that a tax increase might be necessary to lower the federal deficit.

Stockman has been director of the budget office since President Reagan assumed office in January 1981. Before that, he was a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Michigan.

Administration officials said Stockman would remain on the job until Aug. 1.

White House denies Soviets declared letup on `star wars'

White House Spokesman Larry Speakes said Tuesday that the Soviet Union had not specifically indicated a willingness to accept an arms treaty allowing research on strategic defense. His remarks came in response to a New York Times article published Tuesday, saying Soviet negotiators had ``informally'' approached members of the American team at the Geneva arms talks to describe Moscow's decision to no longer insist that the US abandon all research of the ``star wars'' missile defense program.

The spokesman insisted he was unaware of any informal indication of a change in the Soviet position.

Louisiana creationism law overruled in federal court

The nation's only law requiring the teaching of creationism side by side with evolution was struck down Monday by the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court upheld and expanded on a district court judge's finding in January that the law was unconstitutional, saying that ``we seek to give effect to the First Amendment requirement that demands that no law be enacted favoring any particular religious belief or doctrine.''

Today is the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the so-called ``monkey trial'' of John Scopes, eventually convicted in Tennessee for teaching evolution in his high school biology class.

Bid fails for moving spy trial of Arthur Walker to new site

A federal judge denied a motion Tuesday to move the espionage trial of Arthur James Walker to Richmond, Va., because of heavy pretrial publicity and the area's large military population. The judge had not yet decided whether Arthur Walker's statement to the FBI that he helped his brother John A. Walker Jr. spy for the Soviet Union should be allowed as evidence in his own trial.

Arthur Walker's lawyers argued that the espionage charges against him involve a much lower level of classified documents than those allegedly handled by John Walker, and are also contending that Arthur Walker talked to the FBI under the belief he could avoid prosecution.

Sudanese-Libyan accord sparks concern by US

The Reagan administration expressed ``grave concern'' Tuesday about an announced arms agreement between Sudan, a traditional US ally in Africa, and the Libyan government of Col. Muammar Qaddafi. White House spokesman Larry Speakes said the US had received ``repeated assurances that any improvement in Sudan's relations with Libya would not be at the expense of Sudan's ties with the United States.''

In an interview with a Khartoum newspaper, Sudanese Defense Minister Osman Abdallah Muhammad said that the pact covered assistance in naval and air defense, logistics, transport, and equipment but that the two countries will not enter a strategic alliance.

Mayor Koch to seek 3rd term in N.Y.C.

Mayor Edward I. Koch said Tuesday he would seek reelection to a third term at City Hall. Declaring that ``being mayor of New York is the best job in America,'' Mayor Koch said his campaign will stress his role in leading New York through its fiscal crisis.

Army of 10,000 firefighters battles blazes in the West

More than 10,000 firefighters battled lack of sleep and high temperatures after a slight drop in temperatures over the weekend, as they grappled Tuesday with brush, forest, and range fires that have charred at least 900,000 acres in 11 Western states and Canada. The fires scorched sections of California, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, Washington, Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, Nebraska, and South Dakota and the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba.

Heat hampered firefighters battling the biggest California fire, which grew to 85,000 acres Monday in the Los Padres National Forest near Ojai, 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Bolivian President seeking to put off presidential vote

Bolivian President Hern'an Siles Zuazo asked Congress to postpone next Sunday's presidential elections, and supporters of the front-running candidate vowed to hold street protests against the move.

Broken rail joint is cited in Amtrak crash in Idaho

A preliminary investigation shows a broken rail joint caused the derailment of Amtrak's Empire Builder train, which injured 81 people, a railroad official said Monday. The broken piece of steel was used to bolt two rail segments together, according to the official, saying that the railroad company had ``ruled out'' human error.

Turkish tanker set on fire in Gulf by Iraqi missile

A Turkish supertanker was attacked and set on fire by an Iraqi missile in the Persian Gulf Tuesday, forcing the crew to abandon ship, sources said. The sources said the 392,799-ton tanker was the largest ship ever attacked in the Iran-Iraq war ``and possibly the largest marine casualty ever in tonnage.''

Meese criticizes high court on church separation rulings

Attorney General Edwin Meese sharply criticized recent Supreme Court decisions Tuesday, accusing the justices of being guided more by ``policy choices'' than by ``constitutional principle.'' In a speech to the American Bar Association, Mr. Meese singled out the high court's recent rulings affirming a strict separation of church and state, saying the court's adherence to ``strict neutrality would have struck the founding generation as somewhat bizarre.''

Foreign-intelligence panelist tapped as US envoy to France

President Reagan announced Tuesday his nomination of Joe Rodgers, a member of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, to be ambassador to France. If confirmed by the Senate he would succeed Evan Galbraith.

US plans to sell $2.5 billion on surplus, such as metals

The government plans to sell $2.5 billion in surplus materials, part of a huge cache of strategically important substances that have been stockpiled in case of war, a White House report announced Monday. The document did not specify which materials would be declared surplus and sold off, but an administration official said the plan would include the eventual sale of silver, platinum, bismuth, cadmium, fluorspar, and silicon carbide from the present stockpile.

Lebanese Muslims chart peace plan for Beirut

Lebanon's Muslim leaders announced a plan Tuesday to bring peace to ravaged Beirut. Leaders of the Shiite, Sunni, and Druze communities announced an agreement calling for a new constitution and political reforms to give Muslims equal power with the traditionally dominant Christians, and agreed to improve security at Beirut airport.

CorrectionCorrection for 7/8

On Page 3 of Monday's Monitor, the name of the director of the National Association of Arab-Americans was misspelled. He is David Sadd.

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