News In Brief

US Embassy officials have been unable to speak to an American arrested in Nicaragua on suspicion of spying four days ago, an embassy spokesman said yesterday. Spokesman Al Laun said the embassy had received no response to its request for permission from the Nicaraguan government to see Sam Hall, who was arrested Sunday. Meanwhile, the Nicaraguan Army began military maneuvers yesterday near the border with Honduras, which called the exercises highly provocative.

More than 6,500 troops as well as tanks, artillery, and antiaircraft batteries were taking part in the Subtiava '86 exercises, the largest yet staged by the leftist Sandinista government.

Many congressmen call for US to hew to SALT II

More than half the members of next year's Congress are urging President Reagan to reverse his decision to breach the unratified SALT II nuclear arms control treaty, but the pressure is drawing sharp criticism from the administration. Fifty-eight of the 100 members of the Senate that convenes Jan. 6 appealed in a letter to Mr. Reagan Monday to retire enough nuclear weapons to put the US back under the numerical ceilings on various categories of weapons contained in the unratified 1979 pact.

That action follows last week's overwhelming approval of a similar appeal that was made by Democrats who will be in next year's House. The Democrats will have a 258-177 House margin in the next Congress.

Special counsel sought by US in Nofziger case

The Justice Department is seeking an independent counsel to investigate whether former presidential aide Lyn Nofziger violated federal ethics laws by helping a New York firm obtain a $31 million military contract through his contacts at the White House, federal law enforcement sources say. The sources said Monday the department filed a motion requesting appointment of an independent counsel by a special, three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals.

Reagan to fill his 6th slot on Federal Reserve Board

Henry C. Wallich, a staunch inflation-fighter on the Federal Reserve Board, resigned Monday, giving President Reagan the opportunity to have his appointees in six of the seven positions on the board that sets the nation's monetary policy. The Federal Reserve said Mr. Wallich was resigning because of ill health.

Commission urges boost in pay for senior officials

A federal advisory commission, calling current salaries of top officials woefully inadequate, is urging immediate pay raises of 60 to 80 percent for Cabinet members, congressmen, federal appeals judges, and the heads of government agencies. The recommendations of the panel would boost the salaries of President Reagan's Cabinet members from $88,800 to $160,000 and those of the 435 House members and 100 senators from $77,400 to $135,000.

Similar recommendations from five previous commissions on the same issue have never been enforced in full. And there were suggestions Monday from members of Congress that boosting their pay into the six figures is as politically unacceptable now as in the past.

Warring parties in Seoul agree to work on reform

In an attempt to ease their fierce political confrontation, South Korea's ruling and opposition camps agreed yesterday to resume talks on political reform through parliament. The agreement was reached at talks between Lee Min Woo, head of the New Korea Democratic Party, and Roh Tae Woo, chairman of President Chun Doo Hwan's ruling Democratic Justice Party, spokesmen for the parties said. The opposition withdrew earlier this year from a special parliamentary committee studying constitutional revision. Mr. Lee agreed to reopen the bipartisan constitutional talks as soon as possible by extending the life of the parliamentary panel beyond its original expiration tomorrow, the spokesmen said.

Meanwhile, South Korean newspapers reported that the number of people being held or facing trial in connection with political activities this year stands at 1,480, including 1,164 students.

Insurance plan lets flights to south Sudan resume

Airline flights to southern Sudan, suspended for four months since antigovernment rebels shot down an airliner, were resumed yesterday, a spokesman for Sudan Air, the national carrier, said. The spokesman said a new agreement had been reached with insurance companies to cover planes flying to the south. After the Sudan People's Liberation Army shot the plane down, companies began to demand a deposit of 1 percent of a plane's value, or at least $20,000, for each trip to the south. The spokesman did not disclose the details of the agreement, but said civilian and special flights to the south were now insured for several weeks.

Iran-contra update. Reagan asks immunity for 2

President Reagan called on the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday to grant limited immunity to former White House aides John Poindexter and Oliver North to compel them to testify in the investigation into the Iran-contra scandal. White House spokesman Larry Speakes read a statement from Mr. Reagan declaring that limited immunity is ``not amnesty or clemency.'' Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill Senate leaders named Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii to head a special Senate committee set up to investigate the Iran arms scandal. Senator Inouye is a veteran of the Senate's Watergate investigative committee.

Other members of the 11-man panel will be Democrats George Mitchell of Maine, Sam Nunn of Georgia, Paul Sarbanes of Maryland, Howell Heflin of Alabama, and David Boren of Oklahoma and Republicans Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, James McClure of Idaho, Orrin Hatch of Utah, William Cohen of Maine, and Paul Trible of Virginia.

Among other developments yesterday:

The White House announced the resignations of Howard Teicher, a Middle East specialist on the National Security Council staff who reportedly helped engineer secret arms sales to Iran, and Rodney B. McDaniel, executive secretary to the council. The move came as national-security adviser Frank Carlucci, described as shocked at the mediocrity he has uncovered, began a shake-up of the staff.

White House chief of staff Donald Regan testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session.

The Justice Department has begun an internal inquiry into the department's delaying of an FBI inquiry into a cargo airline linked to efforts to supply arms to Iran and the contras. Two department sources said the inquiry may also examine Attorney General Edwin Meese's investigation into the Reagan administration's arms sales to Iran and the diversion of profits to the contras.

The Washington Post reported that Reagan called Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone secretly in July 1985 to ask Japan to try to persuade Iran to help free the American hostages in Lebanon. Mr. Nakasone denied any involvement in the arms scandal.

California officials said the office of a lawyer for Albert Hakim, a businessman linked to secret arms deals with Iran, was burglarized over the weekend and ``information concerning the sale of weapons and nuclear devices'' was stolen.

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