Rome — President Francesco Cossiga asked Prime Minister Bettino Craxi to form a new government yesterday, four days after he resigned as prime minister. Politicians expect him to resurrect the same coalition that fell apart over the Achille Lauro hijacking. Hopes for a solution to the latest of many government crises in postwar Italy apparently boosted prices on the Milan Stock Exchange. Shares regained two-thirds of the 6 percent they lost after Mr. Craxi's resignation.
The success of Craxi's effort appeared to depend largely on his talks with Defense Minister Giovanni Spadolini's Republican Party, which precipitated the collapse by withdrawing its three ministers from the Cabinet.
All previous partners but the Republicans have said they would join a new Craxi government. The Republicans set conditions that include closer consultation during times of crisis and clear definition of foreign policy, particularly on the US and the Mideast.
The Republicans quit over the decision to release PLO official Muhammad Abbas, whom the US accuses of masterminding the hijacking.
Mr. Cossiga's decision followed three days of consultations with leaders of the five political parties in the former coalition.
Craxi's aides said they expect the makeup of a new government to emerge by Thursday, when Craxi is to go to New York for a meeting of Western leaders called by President Reagan to discuss his November summit with the Soviet leader, Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
Politicians saw the Republican Party's move as a face-saving gesture in response to widespread criticism by the other coalition partners of its decision to quit. Public opinion polls showed general approval of how the government handled the hijacking.
Antigovernment protesters fired on in downtown Manila
Police yesterday fired on antigovernment demonstrators in downtown Manila who resisted police efforts to disperse them. Hospitals said a 17-year-old demonstrator was killed, and the official news agency said 27 people were wounded. The clash came after 3,000 protesters, mostly from farm groups, demonstrated peacefully in front of the US Embassy and were moving toward a downtown plaza.
The march was organized to protest government economic policies and US support for President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Mr. Marcos ordered an immediate investigation of the violence, a palace news release said. The National Assembly will also investigating.
16 foes of apartheid plead not guilty in treason case
Sixteen leading opponents of South Africa's apartheid race laws pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of high treason, which can carry the death penalty. The accused, including senior leaders of the main internal anti-apartheid group, the United Democratic Front, also pleaded not guilty to alternative charges of furthering the aims of unlawful organizations, and terrorism.
Much of the evidence against them is based on speeches they made and songs they asked crowds to sing at meetings.
The trial formally opened in May, but defense lawyers have been battling for months to get more details from the government on how the accused were alleged to have acted treasonably.
Nicaraguan chief accuses US of `state terrorism'
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega accused the United States yesterday of ``state terrorism'' and said the state of emergency in his country will be suspended when the US stops its ``policy of aggression.'' Nicaragua last week imposed new restrictions on freedom of speech, travel, and assembly, the right to strike, and protection of privacy in the home and the mails.
Supreme Court to adjudge airline policy on handicapped
The Supreme Court set the stage yesterday for an important ruling on rights of handicapped people. The justices said they will review a ruling, challenged by the Reagan administration, that the government must guarantee the rights of handicapped air travelers. A decision is expected by July.
In other cases, the court:
Set the stage for a potentially sweeping ruling over whether property owners are entitled to be compensated when local governments prevent land development.
Agreed to decide what evidence is needed to support search warrants authorizing seizure of allegedly obscene movies.
Agreed to resolve a dispute the government says could force it to guarantee billions of additional dollars in bank-provided credit.
US withholding nuclear data about China, Cranston claims
Sen. Alan Cranston (D) of California, objecting to President Reagan's proposed nuclear cooperation agreement with China, charged yesterday that the administration has ``withheld, suppressed, and covered up information'' about Peking's role in spreading nuclear material. In a Senate floor speech, Senator Cranston said China has had either negotiations or nuclear trade with five ``nuclear outlaw'' nations that are developing atomic weapons programs.
Major tax hike needed to cut federal deficit, Stockman says
A major tax increase is necessary to reduce the federal deficit, preferably a value-added tax, former Budget Director David Stockman said Monday. In the five years of the Reagan presidency, great strides have been made in reducing the growth of federal spending, but the deficit remains a major threat to the nation, Mr. Stockman told the annual convention of the Food Marketing Institute.
US and USSR break off talks on resuming direct air links
The United States and the Soviet Union have broken off negotiations to resume direct air travel between the two countries in a dispute over giving Pan Am, the American carrier, a ``fair share'' of the market, State Department officials said yesterday. No date was set for a resumption, making it virtually impossible that an agreement could be reached in time for President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to sign at their summit meeting in November.
Sanctions on South Africa satisfy Commonwealth chiefs
Commonwealth leaders who wanted Britain and its former colonies to impose strong sanctions against South Africa said Monday they were satisfied by agreement over a less-stringent compromise package. The 49-nation group, whose meeting ends today, emerged late Sunday from five days of closed-door negotiating with a package of limited economic sanctions.
The accord provides for a nine-point package of immediate sanctions. Most of the measures, such as bans on arms and oil sales, nuclear cooperation, and discouraging cultural and scientific contact, have been enforced by many nations for years.
String of fires quenched in southern California
A week after brush fires cut a swath across more than 100,000 acres of southern California canyons under the lash of Santa Ana winds, the last of more than 20 blazes has been controlled. One man was killed, 21 homes burned, and at least six firefighters injured in the fires that began last Monday, many of them believed ignited by arsonists.
A photograph that appeared on Page 7 of the Monitor's Oct. 9 issue was incorrectly identified as one of Panamanian General Noriega. The original UPI photo was miscaptioned, and the man pictured is Gen. Rub'en Dario Par'edes.