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News In Brief

July 24, 1985


President Reagan told Chinese President Li Xiannian during their meeting Tuesday that the United States will sign a long-stalled nuclear cooperation agreement between the two countries. President Reagan also said Tuesday he will nominate Winston Lord, a former senior State Department official and an expert on Chinese affairs, to succeed Arthur Hummel as US ambassador to China.

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Israel freeing 100 Lebanese

Israel will release 100 Lebanese detainees, mostly Shiite Muslims, from Atlit prison today, a military spokesman said Tuesday. The last prisoner release from Atlit was July 3, when Israel freed 300 men but denied that their release was part of a deal with the Lebanese Shiite hijackers of a Trans World Airlines plane.

The hijackers had demanded that Israel release all Lebanese prisoners at Atlit in exchange for freeing 39 Americans taken hostage on the plane.

US drops charge that Soviets rammed auto in E. Germany

The Pentagon backed off Tuesday from an earlier suggestion that a Soviet truck may have purposely rammed a car carrying three Americans in East Germany two weeks ago, saying it now appears it was an accident. Pentagon spokesman Fred Hoffman said US and Soviet military officials had met after the July 13 accident, which prompted an official American protest. Mr. Hoffman declined to elaborate despite repeated questioning or to say whether the Soviets had apologized for the incident, which occurred just four months after an American soldier, Maj. Arthur D. Nicholson Jr., was shot and killed by a Soviet sentry in East Germany.

Racial distortion in voting overturned in Alabama city

The Justice Department, working with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, has successfully attacked racially motivated local annexation in Bessemer, Ala. Under a decree signed Monday, Bessemer must change from a three-member city commission elected on an at-large basis to a mayor-council form of government with six single-member districts starting in 1986.

This is the first settlement obtained by the department's civil rights division under a section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 aimed at overturning annexations that dilute the voting power of blacks.

Ethiopian Jews in Israel win concession on conversion rites

Ethiopian Jews, known as Falashas, won a concession Tuesday from rabbis who have demanded they undergo conversion rites to guarantee their Jewishness. After meeting Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Israel's two chief rabbis said in a statement that the new immigrants, like other Jews, would be required to take a symbolic ritual bath only before marriage in cases where their Jewishness was doubted.

The statement follows weeks of protests by 15,000 Ethiopian Jews angered because they have not been fully recognized as Jews in Israel.

More violence reported in India's Gujurat State

Four more people were killed in western Gujurat State Tuesday, and the local government said it will enforce a tough antiterrorist act beginning today. The measure prescribes the death penalty for acts that kill and gives the government powers to tap telephones, search houses, and hold secret trials. Rebel students said they would continue protests despite a truce signed Friday. Under the truce the government agreed to scrap a proposed 18 percent increase in quotas of jobs and college places reserved for underprivileged classes and castes. The rebels are demanding the complete scrapping of the minorities policy.

Banners in Manila Assembly call for ouster of Marcos