News In Brief

Mine workers' leaders from five southern African countries, including a 25-man delegation from the South African National Union of Mineworkers, agreed to form a regional federation during three days of talks that ended yesterday. The talks were held against a background of South African threats to expel as many as 1.5 million migrant workers, most of them employed in the country's gold mines, if the international community imposed economic sanctions against the Pretoria government over its apartheid race policies.

Sakharov's wife says she is going to Rome next month

Yelena Bonner, wife of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, told relatives here in a phone call yesterday that she will fly to Rome for an eye examination early next month and then to Boston four or five days later for heart surgery. Her relatives, the Yankeleviches, also spoke with Dr. Sakharov, a physicist and 1975 Nobel Peace Prize-winner, who is in internal exile in Gorky along with his wife. They said the dissident had spent six months in a hospital, apparently on a hunger strike, before he was released Nov. 3.

Italy charges Abbas in ship hijacking

Palestinian leader Muhammad Abbas, accused by US officials of masterminding the Achille Lauro hijacking, has been officially charged in the case, Italian magistrates said yesterday. Mr. Abbas was briefly in Italian custody after the hijacking when the Egyptian airliner flying him and the four hijackers to freedom was forced to land in Sicily by American jet fighters.

Abbas was later freed by Italian authorities despite objections from Washington. His present whereabouts are not known.

Corporate profits up 5.3% in third quarter, US says

The government said yesterday that after-tax profits of corporations rose 5.3 percent in the third quarter of the year, after a much smaller, 0.3 percent rise in the second quarter. It was the largest gain for corporate profits since a 6.7 percent rise in the first quarter of 1984. (Further details on the GNP, Page 1).

Israeli premier says talks with Syria appear unlikely

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, speaking in parliament one day after Israeli jets shot down two Syrian warplanes in Lebanon, said yesterday the chances for peace negotiations with Syria appeared slim. The prime minister apparently tried to play down the significance of Tuesday's dogfight, saying the tension was unnecessary.

In Los Angeles on a speech engagement, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin told reporters his country had to shoot down the Syrian planes to protect nearby Israeli reconnaissance aircraft. He said he hoped there would be no repercussions.

Southern Pacific says it seeks to cut 10,000 in work force

The Southern Pacific railroad company said late Tuesday it was negotiating with its unions about plans to cut 10,000 employees from its work force over the next few years. The company, in the process of merging with Chicago-based Santa Fe Railway Company, said it had to cut one-third of its work force because of increased competition from the trucking industry and other railroads.

Chief of IRS says it paid $47 million on tardy work

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Roscoe L. Egger Jr. told a Senate subcommittee that the IRS has paid $47 million in interest this year on tax returns not processed by the agency within the 45-day minimum. Last year at this time, he said, the figure was $27 million. Mr. Egger said many of the delays were because of the transition late last year to a new, $103 million Sperry Univac computer system.

Pacific atoll residents ask $6 million for test-site role

Landowners of Kwajalein atoll, in the central Pacific, have occupied an island used to test missiles as a prelude to the US ``star wars'' missile program and asked to be paid $6 million for a new lease, a lawyer for the group said late Tuesday. The last agreement, which expired Sept. 30, gave the US the military rights to the area for $8 million a year. Under a proposed new agreement, needed to be endorsed by President Reagan and the United Nations, the US would pay a rental of $9 million a year for 15 years and set up an atoll development fund.

Poland reschedules $1.3 billion in debt

Poland has reached agreement with Western creditor governments to reschedule around $1.3 billion of official debt falling due this year, diplomats here said yesterday. Agreement on the latest package was reached at a meeting of the informal Paris Club of creditor nations, but there was no immediate official confirmation of the accord, nor were there any details of the terms or rescheduling period.

Palestinian leaders meeting to scan Mideast peace efforts

Palestinian leaders are expected to review their stand on Middle East peace efforts at a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee here today. The meeting, which was due to have opened yesterday, is being held at the request of King Hussein of Jordan. The committee will reconsider the PLO's rejection of UN Resolutions 242 and 338, which call for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and other territories in return for a PLO admission of its right to exist.

The US has repeated that it would not negotiate with the PLO until it accepted the two UN resolutions and recognized Israel.

Dow Chemical cost cuts to include 2,500 jobs

Dow Chemical Company announced it was undertaking a $475 million program to cut costs that included firing 2,500 people, writing off some assets and devaluing others. Dow said it would reduce staff worldwide through early retirements and cash incentives at a total estimated cost of between $100 million and $120 million.

Dow employed nearly 50,000 at the end of 1984.

House of Commons on TV? A rowdy spectacle, eh wot?

Britain's House of Commons debated yesterday whether to allow television to broadcast its proceedings while protecting what Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is said to regard as the dignity and authority of Parliament. Mrs. Thatcher's aides said she was critical of radio broadcasts from the House of Commons which she believed highlighted the rowdy ``beer garden'' atmosphere of some debates.

The more staid House of Lords opened its doors to television almost a year ago.

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