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News In Brief

December 20, 1985


The House passed by a 261-137 vote a $368 billion catchall spending bill yesterday and sent it to the Senate, where it was expected to be passed. White House spokesman Larry Speakes said President Reagan would sign the spending bill, which would finance federal agencies through next Sept. 30. Agriculture Secretary John Block announced yesterday that Mr. Reagan will sign the 1985 farm bill early next week, despite its expense and the mixed policy outcomes for the administration.

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The $52 billion farm bill was approved in the House, 325 to 96, and then by the Senate, 55 to 38, late Wednesday night.

Congress also sent to the White House on Wednesday a separate rescue package for the $70 billion Farm Credit System. Reagan is expected to sign that bill also.

Splinter unit claims control of Cambodian rebel group

A splinter group said yesterday it had won control of the Khmer People's National Liberation Front (KPNLF), Cambodia's largest noncommunist guerrilla faction fighting the Vietnamese-backed government in their homeland. A spokesman for the group, calling itself the Provisional Central Committee for Salvation, said it had deposed the KPNLF's ruling executive committee Tuesday but kept Son Sann as president of the six-year-old movement.

Son Sann's son Soubert said, however, that the KPNLF executive committee chaired by his father was still in control.

Shultz denounces plan for polygraph tests

Secretary of State George P. Shultz, reacting sharply to a White House proposal to give polygraph tests to holders of classified information, said yesterday he would resign rather than submit to such a procedure. Speaking to reporters at the State Department, Mr. Shultz said the so-called lie-detector tests are not reliable and can implicate innocent people as guilty.

Soviets offer some inspection of A-test sites if US OKs halt

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sent a letter to President Reagan yesterday, offering to allow some inspection of Soviet underground nuclear test sites if the United States joined the existing Soviet unilateral halt to all nuclear testing. In the letter, Mr. Gorbachev also urged the president to approve a resumption of US-Soviet negotiations next month to ban all such tests, the official told The Associated Press.

Taiwan tycoon, 55 others convicted on fraud charges

Business tycoon Tsai Chen-chou and 55 executives of the giant Cathay industrial group were convicted yesterday on fraud and embezzlement charges in connection with Taiwan's biggest bank scandal. A district court sentenced Mr. Tsai to 12 years in jail for forgery and embezzling $325 million.

The scandal, which has rocked Taiwan's business community for the past 11 months, forced the resignations of Economic Minister Hsu Li-teh and Finance Minister Loh Jen-kong.

Trial of suspects in shooting of the Pope shifts to Bulgaria

The trial of three Bulgarians and three Turks accused of trying to kill Pope John Paul II moves to Bulgaria today, at the invitation of the government. The Bulgarian government, which prosecutors claim masterminded the assassination attempt, says it agreed to the unprecedented visit of a Western court to a Soviet-bloc nation to ensure that the court learns the truth. It has denied involvment in the shooting.