Washington — Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger said yesterday that the United States is fully prepared to attack terrorist targets in Libya or elsewhere, but only if such attacks would ``diminish and discourage further terrorism.'' Mr. Weinberger made it clear that he does not favor military strikes against terrorist bases for the sake of military action alone, despite threats by Libya's leader, Col. Muammar Qaddafi.
But he stressed that ``when a direct military response is required, it can be made and has been made.''
He cited the interception of three Palestinian terrorists leaving Egypt by air after their seizure of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean and noted that all three are now in the hands of the criminal-justice system in Italy.
Weinberger's remarks appeared to reinforce a long-running split within the Reagan administration over the appropriate use of military force against terrorism. Secretary of State George P. Shultz has been a more forceful advocate than Weinberger of strong military retaliation.
British spending-cut plans include 7% in arms outlays
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her government have drawn up plans to cut defense spending in real terms by almost 7 percent over the next three years, the Treasury said yesterday. It will be the first time Britain does not fulfill an undertaking to NATO to raise defense spending by 3 percent a year in real terms.
Christians halt Muslim push into Christian area of Beirut
Forces loyal to President Amin Gemayel blunted an onslaught by Muslims into Lebanon's Christian heartland yesterday, defending territory seized from Christian rivals in fighting which police said had left 300 dead. Muslim-controlled radio stations said Druze, Shiite Muslim, and Syrian-backed leftist militias ordered a general mobilization of their forces after being repulsed by the Christian forces. There was concern over a new all-out eruption of the 10-year-old civil war that has claimed at least 100,000 lives.
International Olympic panel nominated for peace prize
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been nominated for the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, Norwegian Nobel Committee sources said yesterday. The IOC had been nominated by Norwegian and Swiss members of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe for bringing nations from all over the world together in peace. Nominations for the 1986 award close Feb. 1.
US names 12 possible sites for second A-waste setup
The Energy Department chose 12 sites in seven states yesterday as top contenders for the nation's second permanent underground vault to store highly radioactive nuclear wastes for thousands of years. The finalists break down this way: 3 in Minnesota; 2 each in Maine, North Carolina, and Virginia; and 1 each in New Hampshire, Georgia, and Wisconsin.
South Korean leader plans to work toward reunification
President Chun Doo Hwan vowed yesterday to seek improved relations with the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea to help solve the problem of the divided Korean Peninsula. In a televised state-of-the- nation address he said that reunification for both Koreas, enemies since their 1950-53 war, should be achieved during this generation and that both countries should renounce the use of arms.
Soviet-Japanese talks end with sign of thaw
The foreign ministers of Japan and the Soviet Union ended two days of talks yesterday with no sign of major progress in thawing out almost a decade of frosty relations. Officials said that Japanese Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe brought up the touchiest issue in yesterday's session: the Soviet refusal to hand back four Japanese islands occupied by the Soviets since 1945. Officials said both sides were trying to work out a joint communiqu'e for publication before Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze leaves Japan on Sunday.
Afghan President reports $35 billion in war damage
Afghan President Babrak Karmal said in remarks published Thursday that his country's economy has sustained $35 billion in damages -- a sum equivalent to two-thirds of the money spent on development in the past 20 years -- since the war with government rebels began in 1979. Mr. Karmal, who invited Soviet troops to Afganistan after he came to power in 1979, said the United States alone has so far provided the guerrillas with $1 billion in support.
Study says 2-earner families not fully recognized by US
The trend toward families with two working parents is growing, yet the US government, schools, and businesses have been slow to recognize it, says a study released today by the United Nations Association of the United States, a private organization. In 1984, almost two-thirds of all American mothers with preschool children held jobs, the study finds. It recommends creating a national commission on work and family, job-protected maternity leave of six to eight weeks, paternity leave, more federal support for day care, increased maternal and child health care, and flexible work schedules.
British university teachers strike over education cuts
Teachers at Britain's 44 universities, including centuries-old Oxford and Cambridge, staged a national strike for the first time yesterday to protest government cuts in higher education and demand more pay. The strike is the first by unionized teaching staff in the 700-year history of Oxford and Cambridge.
Big heroin ring broken, US drug agency reports
Investigators have smashed a drug ring that imported millions of dollars' worth of heroin from Europe, arresting many of the same figures named in the celebrated ``French Connection'' case, authorities say. The arrests, announced Wednesday in New York and California, culminated a year-long investigation into an international ring that involved US, French, Italian, and Israeli citizens, said Larry Lusardi, agent in charge of the US Drug Enforcement Agency office in San Jose, Calif.
Six more moons discovered around Uranus by US probe
The Voyager 2 spacecraft has discovered six more small moons around the planet Uranus, doubling to 12 the number of moons now known to orbit the seventh planet from the sun, NASA said Thursday. Scientists believe Voyager may find as many as 18 additional moons.