News In Brief
Secretary of State George Shultz rejected a call yesterday by Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev for the United States to relax restrictions on trade with the Soviet Union, saying the Soviets must first improve their human rights record. Earlier Mr. Gorbachev had told 150 US businessmen in Moscow that trade could not improve unless Washington granted most-favored-nation trade status and stopped using trade embargoes to register political grievances.Skip to next paragraph
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Pentagon official discounts invasion threat by Nicaragua
A senior Pentagon official said yesterday that Nicaragua poses no real military invasion threat to its Central American neighbors, even though the Reagan administration has described Managua as a potential spearhead of communist aggression. The Pentagon source, who asked not to be identified, said he agreed with the key argument of nongovernment military critics that a Nicaraguan invasion would be hobbled by fuel shortages and by Honduras's superior Air Force, among other factors.
Farm Credit System rescue is predicted on Capitol Hill
Congressional leaders said yesterday they were confident that a rescue package for the financially troubled Farm Credit System will be completed before lawmakers recess for the year. Late Tuesday, the House passed by a 393-to-32 majority a three-part bill designed to shore up the confidence of both investors and the farmers who borrow from the $70 billion Farm Credit System. Senate and House negotiators are now working out the differences between their versions.
Meanwhile, House and Senate negotiators meeting privately on the farm bill remained in disagreement on all major commodity issues.
And President Reagan issued Tuesday another warning on federal overspending, continuing his insistence that any bill meet a target of $50 billion in commodity program spending over the next three years.
Spain and US to discuss gradual cutback of GIs
Spain has announced that it will begin negotiations with the United States next year aimed at a gradual reduction of US troops in Spain and thus easing local objections to their presence here. Socialist Prime Minister Felipe Gonz'alez, who has promised a referendum on North Atlantic Treaty Organization membership next March, hopes a cut in US troops will influence public opinion in favor of staying in the Western alliance.
There are reported to be 12,000 US troops stationed at a Navy base and three air bases in Spain.
Louisiana jury at work in Edwards fraud trial
Jurors began deliberation yesterday in the racketeering and fraud case against Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards and four co-defendants. Much of the closing arguments on both sides covered two key allegations in the case: that Governor Edwards got involved because he needed to pay off huge gambling debts, and that the alleged conspirators bribed a state health department employee for help in getting a hospital project certified in 1982.
Polygraph tests ordered by Reagan to curb spying
President Reagan has ordered that government employees and contractors seeking access to highly classified information submit to mandatory polygraph tests, the White House said yesterday. Spokesman Larry Speakes said members of Reagan's Cabinet would be among those required to take the polygraph tests.