News In Brief

More than 35,000 black mine workers walked off the job at three gold mines in a wage dispute, and a mining company official said yesterday private security guards detained at least six union leaders. Gold Fields of South Africa Ltd., owner of the mines and one of the country's six major mining houses, said the almost total stayaway at three of its mines west of Johannesburg was an illegal work stoppage, because no strike vote was held.

The strike, which the union says is legal under South African labor laws, began Sunday night and continued through the morning shift at Gold Fields' Kloof mine in Westonaria and the Deelkraal and Doornfontein mines in Carletonville.

Challenger defect copied; new design nears tests

Engineers have duplicated the rocket engine failure that destroyed space shuttle Challenger in tests and they will be ready early next year for a major series of experiments on a new design, a NASA official said yesterday. John Thomas, the manager of NASA's solid rocket motor redesign team, said full-scale tests of a new rocket design that will correct the flaws that led to the Challenger accident should start early next year. He expects new rocket engines to be ready in time for the scheduled resumption of shuttle flights in February 1988.

CIA looking for recruits in US police departments

The Central Intelligence Agency has asked police chiefs in 18 cities to look among their own ranks for possible recruits for agency's programs, a CIA spokeswoman said. The CIA and FBI briefed the police chiefs last July about their about their intelligence and counterterrorism programs. During the session, the CIA asked the police chiefs to determine if anyone in their departments was interested in working for the intelligence agency.

This is the first time the agency has attempted to recruit large numbers of trained police officiers for intelligence work, the spokeswoman said. At least one department, Los Angeles, has reportedly refused to cooperate in the recruitment effort.

Punjab town under curfew after sectarian flare-up

A curfew was clamped on the Punjab town of Hoshiarpur yesterday after police broke up fighting between Sikhs and Hindus during a protest strike against the weekend killing of eight villagers. Police said 12 people were injured, two of them wounded when police opened fire, as about 50 members of the militant Hindu Shiv Sena (Army of Shiva) fought with about 20 Sikhs.

It was the only violence reported during the strike called by five political parties to protest the Saturday attack in Kuban village in which five Sikh gunmen opened fire in a crowded marketplace, killing eight people and injuring four.

Washington plans to train contra troops in the US

The Reagan administration, unable to line up a training site for contra guerrillas in Central America, has begun planning an instruction program within the United States, officials said Monday. Although the specific US military site or sites have not been settled on, the administration is prepared to move forward soon if need be, the officials said.

The US is still holding private talks with the government of Honduras in hopes of obtaining permission to establish training camps in that country.

Publicly, Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica have balked at the idea of allowing contra training within their borders, expressing fears of retaliation from Nicaragua.

South Sudan aid workers say plight is exaggerated

Reports that millions of people are facing starvation in south Sudan are a myth created by the news media seeking a crisis and relief organizations competing for work, aid workers here say. But the aid workers from several areas of south Sudan say grave food problems threaten the regional capitals and garrison towns of Juba, Wau, and Malakal, where about 60,000 displaced people live.

Christophe Dupont of M'edecins Sans Fronti`eres recently visited Yirol in eastern Bahr al-Ghazal, a settlement captured by the Sudanese People's Liberation Army last December and thought to be a center for starving people. He said he saw no signs of starvation, only malnutrition.

2nd Colombian journalist detained in US as a risk

A Colombian journalist was detained at Miami International Airport after her name appeared on an immigration ``lookout'' list as a severe security risk, immigration officials said. Olga Behar was taken into custody on arrival from Madrid Sunday night, but was released yesterday and allowed to remain in the US. Immigration officials declined to say why she was on the lookout list.

She is the second Colombian journalist to be detained this month. Patricia Lara, a reporter with the leading Colombian newspaper, El Tiempo, was detained Oct. 12 in New York. She returned to Colombia five days later when the Immigration and Naturalization Service ordered her deported.

Both sides claim victory in Mexican state voting

Both major-party candidates claimed victory in the race for governor of Mexico's northwestern Sinaloa State, where narcotics trafficking and drug-related violence were the dominant campaign issues. Final results of Sunday's elections for governor, 18 mayors, and 23 state legislators will not be reported for at least a week.

US and Japanese troops join in training exercises

Japanese and US armed forces began their first-ever combined air, sea, and ground exercises yesterday, a spokesman for the Japanese Defense Agency said. About 13,000 troops are taking part in the five-day operation on Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido.

Japanese opposition party leaders criticized the joint exercises, saying they might violate the country's policy against collective security, or the principle of obligatory aid to an ally.

A peace fast in Assisi ripples afar

The Dalai Lama, Christian patriarchs, and snake-worshipers from Togo were among religious leaders who gathered in Assisi Monday at the invitation of Pope John Paul II for fasting and prayers for peace. About 200 representatives of 12 religions -- Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Zoroastrians, African animists, Sikhs, Japanese Shintoists, Jains, Bahais, and American Indians -- joined the Pope in Assisi.

The Vatican marshaled its envoys worldwide to try to persuade governments, guerrillas, and terrorist groups to observe the day of prayer by joining in a 24-hour truce.

Among those accepting the appeal were factions in Lebanon's decade-old civil war, contra guerrillas fighting Nicaragua's leftist government, Tamil rebels and government troops in Sri Lanka, the Polisario fighters seeking independence for Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, leftist rebels in El Salvador, Chile and, Colombia, and guerrillas battling the Vietnamese-installed leadership in Cambodia. US-backed guerrillas fighting Angola's Marxist government did not acccept the temporary cease-fire.

Italian authorities deployed 1,500 police to protect the participants and maintain order in this town bustling with 24,000 residents and 20,000 pilgrims, tourists, and journalists. Sharpshooters were posted on rooftops, television monitors were installed in street corners, and the town center was closed to traffic.

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