News In Brief

Israeli jets launched their second raid on Lebanese targets in four days yesterday, hitting military positions of a pro-Syrian group and wounding one militiaman, security sources and witnesses said. Police said the attack demolished a one-story structure used as a base by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. The attack on Beit Lehia, was nine miles north of Israel's self-designated security zone in south Lebanon, police said.

Philippine typhoon kills 13 and strands thousands

Typhoon Ruby roared across the Philippines yesterday with rain and winds topping 100 m.p.h., causing mud slides that left thousands homeless. Officials said at least 13 people died. The government warned of more flooding as the storm approached Manila. At 4 p.m., local time, the storm was moving northwest toward densely populated central Luzon Island. States of emergency were declared in some areas of the southern Mindanao Island.

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Storm, renamed Miriam, threatens El Salvador

The government declared a state of emergency and evacuated residents from flood-prone coastal areas in the path of a tropical storm that reenergized in the Pacific yesterday after killing 111 people as an Atlantic hurricane. In Nicaragua, the storm killed at least 50 people, and later its 125 m.p.h. winds weakened to tropical storm status. But the storm gained strength over the Pacific, and forecasters gave what had been Joan a new name, Miriam.

Police say US group was to receive hostage photos

Police said yesterday a US organization was the intended recipient of the photographs of American hostages in Lebanon that were found in a Lebanese woman's luggage at Milan's airport. The woman was supposed to deliver the pictures and a handwritten letter bearing hostage Alann Steen's name to an Italian arms trader, Aldo Anghessa, police said. The photographs were of Mr. Steen, American reporter Terry Anderson, and a third man. Italian police refused to elaborate on the identity of either organization.

Study says B-1 bomber has maintenance trouble

The Air Force's B-1 bombers are grounded with maintenance problems far more than the aging planes they are supposed to replace, a congressional study says. The General Accounting Office study said the time that B-1s weren't available at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas because of maintenance problems ranged from 47 to 66 percent.

For systems that have been flying longer, such as the FB-111 and the B-52, the Air Force expects that the total of ``not-mission-capable'' rates won't exceed 25 percent of the available hours, according to the study.

South African blast kills two people, injures 42

A car bomb exploded yesterday outside a shopping center in the coal-mining town of Witbank, killing two men and injuring 42 people, police said. It was the worst attack this month in a bombing blitz the government says African National Congress guerrillas have launched to disrupt nationwide local elections tomorrow.

It followed an apparent attempt Saturday to assassinate Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok. A suspected guerrilla was arrested with a limpet mine about 150 yards from where Mr. Vlok was opening a police station.

Salvadoran church says leftists killed peasants

The Roman Catholic Church said Sunday that leftist guerrillas, not government troops as originally claimed, executed four peasants in a village on the outskirts of San Salvador. A letter from the church human rights office said those responsible for the murders were recognized as members of the FMLN (Farabundo Mart'i National Liberation Front).

In another development, an undetermined number of FMLN guerrillas freed 131 prisoners from a jail during a raid on the central city of Ilobasco Sunday, a military spokesman said.

Soviets send icebreakers to help trapped whales

Soviet icebreakers churned toward Barrow to offer help for two trapped whales as rescuers tried to lure the mammals to freedom. A third whale disappeared Friday and was presumed dead. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration asked the Soviet Union for help, and America's Arctic neighbor ordered the icebreakers Admiral Makarov and Vladimir Arseniev to Barrow, according to an agency official.

Eskimos have cut large breathing holes in a path leading back to the unfrozen seas, and the two surviving whales have been moving seaward on the five-mile trek.

Mexican police officials arrested on drug charges

Plans for a $50 million-a-month heroin pipeline from Mexico to the US were foiled with the arrest of two Mexican police commanders who officials say boasted they could close airports in their home state to help the smuggling. Pedro Guillen and Margaritan Villagrana, commanders from the state of Guerrero, which includes Acapulco, were to be arraigned yesterday, authorities said. They were arrested late Saturday in a hotel after a four-month investigation, according to a spokesman for the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

Survey finds Americans scientifically illiterate

Nearly 500 years after Copernicus postulated that Earth revolves around the sun, millions of Americans think otherwise, suggests a poll that found vast numbers of the nation's adults ``scientifically illiterate. In a July telephone survey, 2,041 adults were asked about 75 questions on basic science, said Jon Miller of Northern Illinois University, who conducted the survey for the National Science Foundation.

The results of the survey haven't been fully tabulated, but it appears that 93 to 95 percent would have to be considered scientifically illiterate, or lacking fundamental knowledge of science.

Reykjavik to vote on dog ruff-erendum

Residents of Reykjavik are getting one last chance to stop the capital from going to the dogs. This week, they vote on an experimental program relaxing a ban on dogs in the city of 88,000. The week-long referendum begins Monday and asks voters to say whether the four-year-old program has been a success.

City Hall banished dogs in 1924 after an outbreak of dog-related disease. For 60 years it resisted attempts to overturn the ban.

For the record

Prince Norodom Sihanouk will meet British Prime Minister Thatcher in London today in his search for Western support of his peace bid for Cambodia, the Prince's aides said yesterday. New regulations for drinking water and waste treatment could cost homeowners an average of $100 or more in additional municipal fees by 1996, a study by the Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

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