News In Brief
Washington — 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.
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.
The trip marks the final phase of the prosecution's case, in which convicted papal assailant Mehmet Ali Agca said the alleged plot was hatched and financed in Bulgaria with the support of the Soviet Union.
Oklahoma guards released; prisoners win concessions
Prisoners who rioted at the maximum-security Oklahoma state penitentiary won concessions from officials, who said they will hire a nutritionist and make other improvements at the prison. Seven prison guards taken hostage during the 17-hour uprising by inmates were released safely. Three other guards were admitted to the hospital in fair condition, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman said.
Treasury seeks to bar states from taxing overseas profits
The Treasury Department proposed legislation yesterday that would bar states from taxing the foreign income of multinational corporations. But the bill would permit states to offer a worldwide unitary taxation method as an option to corporations, which makes it possible for companies with foreign losses to reduce their state tax burden.
Strike called in Basque area after terrorist dies in custody
A general strike was called Wednesday in Spain's key Basque area and 2,000 demonstrators threw stones to protest the death of a suspected Basque terrorist who died while in police custody, Spain's national news agency EFE said. At least 30 people were injured in clashes in San Sebasti'an, Pamplona, and Bilbao. Police made more than 50 arrests.
Former US agent is named to head Philadelphia police
Kevin Tucker, a former Secret Service agent, was named Philadelphia's new police commissioner. The new commissioner succeeds Gregore Sambor, who resigned in November, six months after directing the bungled eviction of members of the radical group MOVE.
Shuttle Columbia aborted due to problem with steering
The launch of space shuttle Columbia on its first flight in two years was aborted on the launch pad just 15 seconds before the planned liftoff yesterday because of trouble with a booster rocket steering system. It was rescheduled for Jan. 4.
Defendants seize 30 hostages in French courtroom trial
Two defendants in a robbery trial and an armed accomplice took 29 people and a judge hostage yesterday in a courtroom, but released 14 law student observers. The gunmen warned that any police action could lead to bloodshed. Police wearing bulletproof vests ringed the courthouse and an elite police commando unit was sent from Paris. The men also demanded direct negotiations with authorities. There were no other details as of press time.
The party line isn't enough; Soviets in for a fashion line
French designer Pierre Cardin has signed a contract to sell his clothing designs to the Soviet Union. Mr. Cardin said he will design 21 fashion lines for women, men, and children which will fit in with the country's socialist life style. The clothes will be manufactured in the USSR in a 324,000-square-foot factory and store. He did not estimate when the store would open and did not say the contract's value.