Algiers — Marxist rebels of the Western Sahara said yesterday they shot down a US locust-spraying plane in the belief it was a Moroccan military aircraft, and they expressed their regrets. All five American crewmen aboard the plane were killed Thursday when a missile hit the DC-7 and it crashed into the Western Sahara. A second DC-7 chartered by the US Agency for International Development also was hit, but it managed to land safely.
Rebel fighters of the Polisario front are fighting Morocco for independence of the Western Sahara.
12 Palestinians wounded in clashes with Israelis
Seventeen Palestinians were wounded yesterday in clashes with Israeli troops in the occupied lands, hospital officials said. In mainly Arab east Jerusalem, police sprayed tear gas at a junior-high school for girls to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators, sending about two dozen female pupils fleeing, witnesses said.
The Gaza Strip, meanwhile, was closed by a general strike protesting the killings of two Arabs.
Human rights activists arrested in USSR cities
Demonstrations marking the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were broken up in three Soviet cities over the weekend and several participants arrested, a Moscow rights activist said yesterday. Yury Mityunov, a leading member of the Democratic Union grouping, said the demonstrations took place in Moscow, Leningrad, and Saratov Saturday and in Sverdlovsk in the Urals yesterday.
According to the activist, some 300 people gathered for the Moscow demonstration, which authorities banned on grounds that it would violate the day of mourning declared for Armenian earthquake victims.
Pro-rebel editor arrested in Peru under new law
The editor of a pro-rebel newspaper was detained Saturday under a new antiterrorist law in Peru that prohibits encouraging or defending rebel activity, a police spokesman said. Police detained Luis Arce Borja as he was supervising the production of 80,000 pamphlets supporting rebel activities by Maoist Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrillas.
If convicted Mr. Arce could get a five-year prison sentence under a law implemented Friday which bans pro-rebel newspapers.
Afghan official radio says Pakistan downed jet
Afghanistan's official radio reported yesterday that a Pakistani warplane shot down a commercial jet flying inside Afghanistan and that all 25 people aboard died. Radio Kabul said the Pakistan fighter plane downed the Soviet-made Antonov-26 commercial airliner Saturday as it was flying from the eastern district of Khost to Kabul, the Afghan capital.
Pakistan government officials could not be reached for comment.
100 wounded in clashes at Egyptian university
Rival groups of Muslim fundamentalist students battled with knives, chains, and sticks, and about 100 were wounded, authorities said Saturday. The clashes broke out at Assiut University, about 240 miles south of Cairo. The fighting occurred between a militant faction known as Gamaat Islamiya and campus members of the moderate Muslim Brotherhood.
The two groups had been feuding for months over religious differences, such as which side should be allowed to deliver sermons in the mosques.
Damaging flames slow as California wind calms
A strong Santa Ana wind calmed Saturday after driving flames that destroyed or damaged more than 60 homes, but firefighters said drought-dry hillside brush will remain a threat until it rains. Firefighters doused lingering hot spots at the scene of the Friday blaze which burned 40 homes, caused $4.3 million damage, and charred 3,200 acres of brush in the San Fernando Valley, according to a fire department spokesman.
Gov. George Deukmejian declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County Friday due to the fires.
Many schoolteachers frustrated, survey finds
The nation's public-school teachers say they are not getting enough support from parents, and most report problems such as child abuse and poor health among the children in their classrooms, according to a survey by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released yesterday. Ernest Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation, said the survey of 22,000 teachers found a sense of frustration in the classroom, both with ``the lack of support they receive from parents'' and from a feeling of ``powerlessness in teaching.''
Report: US Energy Dept. proposes $50 billion plan
The Energy Department has recommended that the US government spend $50 billion over the next 20 years to improve its ability to make nuclear weapons and to clean up environmental damage from bomb production, the Washington Post reported yesterday. The report proposes building four small reactors at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory near Idaho Falls and a new large reactor at the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina, according to the Post.
The newspaper quoted a White House official, who described the report as a draft copy that was still under consideration.
For the record
Western Europe's Ariane 4 rocket was launched successfully Saturday, sending two telecommunications satellites into orbit, space officials said. Finance ministers from seven Latin American nations gathered in Brazil yesterday to seek ways to cut the $435 billion foreign debt which they say could destroy the region.
Polish trade union leader Lech Walesa (left) joins hands with French Premier Michel Rocard (center) and Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov. Mr. Walesa and Mr. Sakharov, both winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, were in Paris as guests of the French government. They attended celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Saturday.