News In Brief

The official Soviet news agency Tass issued an unprecedented report yesterday about riots in the Kazakh capital of Alma-Ata following the removal of the Central Asian republic's Communist Party chief. Tass said rioters burned a food shop and private cars. Dinmukhamed Kunayev, a Kazakh member of the ruling Politburo who had been party leader in the republic for more than 20 years, was ousted Tuesday. His replacement as party chairman is an ethnic Russian.

US ties in southern Africa to be wider, official says

Undersecretary of State Michael Armacost, ending a three-day visit to Mozambique, said yesterday Washington plans to expand contacts with the nation's Marxist government, other black-ruled states in southern Africa, and the African National Congress. Mr. Armacost, at a news conference before flying to Malawi, said South Africa's ``adverse reaction'' to US economic sanctions had prompted American officials to adjust their policy in the region, according to the Mozambican news agency AIM. He said more attention was being given to expanding relations with the so-called ``front line'' states bordering South Africa and helping them lessen their economic dependence on South Africa.

US homeless on the rise; people with children cited

Twenty-four of 25 major US cities report increased numbers of homeless people needing emergency shelter, and the problem is growing among families with children, the US Conference of Mayors says. Nearly three-quarters of the 25 cities surveyed by the conference said they turn away people in need because they lack enough emergency shelters. The survey, part of a report on poverty in urban America that was released yesterday, found an average increase of 20 percent in the demand for emergency shelter during 1986 over the previous year.

The report attempts to dispel the notion that the problems of the homeless are confined to single men. It said that on average, 28 percent of the cities' homeless population is composed of families with children, and 15 percent are single women.

US rushing aid to Chad as Libya pushes attacks

The United States has begun providing emergency assistance to Chad in response to stepped-up attacks by Libyan troops occupying the northern section of the country, the State Department said yesterday. A department spokesman said an initial shipment of US light arms, ammunition, and clothing was made Nov. 4. On Tuesday, the spokesman said, President Reagan ordered the drawdown of up to $15 million in Defense Department equipment and services for Chad.

US envoy to Moscow to retire next year

Career diplomat Arthur A. Hartman, the US ambassador to Moscow, will give up the post early next year for unexpained ``personal reasons,'' the State Department announced yesterday. Ambassador Hartman's assignment of more than five years is the longest of any US ambassador to the Soviet Union since World War II.

US asks Australia for a Viet deserter

The United States asked Australia yesterday to extradite a US marine who left his unit in Vietnam 16 years ago and has since become a legal resident of Australia. The marine, Douglas Beane, left his company in Vietnam on Feb. 28, 1970, while he was facing court- martial on five charges, including desertion, an official for the US Information Service said.

CorrectionCorrection for 12/17/86

A Page 1 article Wednesday on consumer credit stated that a person would incur no black marks on his credit rating if he reached an agreement with his creditor to reduce his monthly payment. While such an agreement is usually not recorded on a person's credit file, the creditor (such as MasterCard) has the right, which it often exercises, to withhold credit in the future.

USSR ready to end its lull on A-tests

Moscow is preparing to abandon its 18-month-old moratorium on nuclear tests. A statement issued by the Soviet government yesterday called for immediate ``full-scale talks on a total test ban.'' Failing this, the statement said, Moscow would resume testing ``after the first nuclear explosion carried out by the US next year.'' Renewed tests would be a ``forced measure, dictated exclusively by security interests,'' the statement said.

In recent weeks there have once again been hints that the Soviet military is concerned that the US is gaining a serious military advantage by continuing tests. The statement seemed obliquely to recognize such concerns by stressing the security considerations behind renewed tests, and by noting that a continued unilateral moratorium could cause ``grave damage to the USSR and its allies.''

Soviet officials have recently asserted that the US tests were being used for ``third generation'' nuclear weapons, not simply to check the reliability of its existing nuclear stockpile.

The Soviet Union had made ``serious sacrifices'' by declaring the moratorium, the statement said, and these could not continue indefinitely.

Iran-contra update. FBI checking delay on inquiry

The Justice Department has asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation for help in investigating Attorney General Edwin Meese's 10-day delay of a probe into Southern Air Transport, an airline linked to the Iran-contra affair, federal law enforcement sources said yesterday. The Office of Professional Responsibility, headed by Michael Shaheen, last week launched an investigation of the delay, which began Oct. 30. Mr. Shaheen's small office of lawyers frequently asks the FBI to assist in investigations, and the FBI is supplying manpower for the current inquiry, the sources said.

Among other recent developments:

Vice-President George Bush met yesterday in his office with a special panel looking into operations of the National Security Council. The vice-president asked to meet with the panel ``just to give them his ideas about changes that could be made in the functioning and operations of the NSC,'' said Bush spokesman Marlin Fitzwater. But he declined to say what the vice-president had told the group.

A congressional aide quoted in yesterday's New York Times said Eugene Hasenfus, the American mercenary released Wednesday from Nicaragua, may be called early next year to testify in congressional hearings about the diversion of money to the contras. A source from the Justice Department said the department was examining the possibility of prosecuting Mr. Hasenfus for violation of the Neutrality Act.

Both the Times and the Washington Post reported that the Justice Department had asked the Swiss government to freeze nine more bank accounts. Two accounts linked to Lt. Col. Oliver North, the ex-security aide, were frozen earlier. The Times identified one account as that of a company called Hyde Park Holdings, said to be headed by a Saudi Arabian who manages the business affairs for a son of Saudi King Fahd.

Attorney General Edwin Meese III said, after his 4-hour apperance before the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday, that he now has more details on that funds transfer and that Colonel North still stands alone as the scheme's prime mover.

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