News In Brief

The 14-week fraud and racketeering trial of Louisiana Gov. Edwin W. Edwards, which some have described as Louisiana's trial of the century, has ended in a hung jury and a mistrial has been declared. US Attorney John Volz said the case will be retried, probably next spring. In the meantime Mr. Edwards will be back in the governor's mansion in Baton Rouge, conducting business as usual.

China charges farm bank withheld millions in profits

Auditors have discovered serious legal violations at the state-owned Agricultural Bank of China. The China Auditing Administration said it discovered that the branch had retained more than $9 million in profits payable to the state. The bank, which holds millions of dollars in rural savings, was investigated after officials learned its Hunan Province branch had falsified its 1984 annual report. The case led to an audit of all agricultural bank branches in the country, starting last April.

Two Australians lose appeal on Malaysian death sentence

Malaysia's supreme court threw out appeals yesterday by two Australians sentenced to death for drug smuggling, but their government said it would seek clemency. Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers face a mandatory death penaltyif their last appeal is denied by the State Pardons Board of western Penang, where they were arrested in November 1983 on heroin possession charges.

Iran says it might help free Frenchmen held in Lebanon

Iran denied any responsibility for holding four Frenchmen hostage in Lebanon, but it said it might support French efforts for their release if relations between the two countries improved, a French parliamentary delegation said Wednesday. The delegation, returning from a three-day visit to Tehran, said French arms sales to Iraq was a major irritant to Iran. Iran and Iraq are locked in a five-year-old war in the Persian Gulf.

Mexican publisher OKs terms for getting UPI

Mexican publisher Mario V'azquez-Rana agreed yesterday to a court revision in his $41 million proposal to buy the United Press International news agency, making it likely he will acquire the agency. The bankruptcy court judge told Mr. V'azquez-Rana that he would be able to advise the agency and provide stopgap funds but that he could not take operational control of it until a final reorganization of the company was approved by the court and creditors next year.

Accountant admits hiding losses that hurt Ohio S&Ls

Jose L. Gomez, an accountant, admitted he covered up multimillion-dollar losses at the ESM Government Securities of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., whose collapse prompted Ohio's savings-and-loan crisis. Mr. Gomez pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that he intentionally certified false financial statements for ESM from 1982 to 1984.

Prosecutors said ESM lost about $250 million from 1977 to March 4, 1985. That action contributed to the March 8, 1985, closing of the Cincinnati-based Home State Savings Bank, which lost an estimated $145 million through its dealings with ESM.

Rabbis protest Sabbath play

Members of the Council of Torah Sages watch a demonstration by 2,500 followers protesting Sabbath day soccer matches at a stadium in Ramat Gan, Israel. The sages have asked their Knesset representives to withdraw from the government if soccer is not banned on the Sabbath.

Rhode Island to settle suit by university faculty women

The state has ended an eight-year legal battle with women faculty at the University of Rhode Island by agreeing to settle a class-action discrimination suit for $1.24 million. The settlement, involving 300 current and former faculty members, would benefit women hired by the university after March 1972, when federal laws were expanded to bar discrimination at colleges.

The judge ruled in April that the university had systematically discriminated against the women in several areas, including salaries.

Anglican envoy in Geneva for talks on freeing hostages

Terry Waite, the Anglican Church envoy, flew to Switzerland Tuesday night in efforts to negotiate the release of Americans held captive in Lebanon, sources close to the negotiations said Wednesday. The Geneva trip followed a secret journey earlier this week.

Six plead guilty in South to a role in cross burnings

Six people have pleaded guilty to taking part in a Ku Klux Klan-linked campaign of cross burnings and other harassment of men and women involved in interracial relationships. The six were among nine defendants in a trial that opened in federal court Monday.

The federal government has now won convictions or guilty pleas from nine of the 12 people -- all linked by the government to the Ku Klux Klan -- so far charged in a two-year investigation of racial incidents.

Sudan's finance chief quits after IMF plan is scotched

Sudanese Finance Minister Aouad Abdul-Maguid quit his post yesterday when the government failed to endorse a draft accord he negotiated with the International Monetary Fund. Under the IMF agreement, the Khartoum government would have had to relax price and profit controls on private industry, hold down domestic money supply, and commit it self to a more flexible exchange-rate policy.

New York court restrains Pennzoil on Texaco award

A New York district court issued an order Wednesday temporarily restraining Pennzoil from cashing in on its historic $10.5 billion damage award against Texaco, the nation's fifth-largest company. Texaco was found guilty of interfering with a 1984 merger agreement between Pennzoil and Getty Oil. Texaco subsequently bought Getty for $10.1 billion.

Owner of 4 hazardous sites accused of periling workers

Arthur J. Greer, owner of four hazardous waste disposal companies, has been indicted on charges of endangering employees' lives in the first major criminal case under a 1980 federal environmental law, officials say. Those charges were in addition to 27 alleging that Mr. Greer caused the illegal disposal of chemical wastes and the mislabeling of waste containers and intended to defraud other businesses and state and federal agencies.

Vive la Disneyland -- it's headed for France

France and the Walt Disney organization signed an agreement yesterday for Europe's first Disneyland amusement park, a contract won in the face of stiff competition from Spain and Portugal.

Israel to renew ties with Ivory Coast

Israel will reestablish diplomatic relations with the West African state of Ivory Coast, Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres told a news conference Wednesday. Israel now has diplomatic relations with five black African countries: Malawi, Lesotho, Zaire, Liberia, and Swaziland. Most others broke off official ties after the 1973 Middle East war.

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