News In Brief

US arms negotiators ignored a confidentiality pledge during the first round of new talks with the Soviet Union and secretly briefed visiting reporters and West European parliamentarians, informed sources said Thursday. The secret briefings stemmed from American determination not to lose a propaganda war to the Russians and were aimed partly at countering any sentiment among America's allies against President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), or ``star wars.''

New Sudan ruler seeks civilian rule in a year

Sudan's military ruler, Gen. Abdel-Rahman Swareddahab, told a new caretaker Cabinet Thursday to prepare for elections so that power would be transferred to the people in one year. He said the civilian interim government, under Army supervision, should license political parties and see that the elections were democratically held. It should also tackle problems of famine, a crippled economy, and rebellion in mainly non-Arab, southern Sudan.

S. African black leader seeks talks on extending democracy

Oliver Tambo, head of the outlawed African National Congress (ANC) fighting white rule in South Africa, was quoted Thursday as saying he has offered to hold talks with the government on extending democracy to the country's black majority. Mr. Tambo's offer, in an interview in the Washington Post, appeared to drop several demands that the ANC had previously stipulated as conditions to negotiating with the Pretoria government.

Italian police seize suspect in kidnapping of US general

Police said Thursday they had arrested a suspected leader of the Red Brigades urban guerrilla group thought to have played a major part in planning the 1981 kidnapping of US Gen. James Lee Dozier. Vittorio Antonini was arrested during a raid by antiterrorist police outside Rome.

Indonesian leader agrees to meet Chinese official

President Suharto agreed Thursday to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wu Xueqian. This will be his first formal contact with China since he crushed a communist-backed coup attempt and suspended relations with Peking 18 years ago.

Europe seeks ways to protect key artworks from export

The European Commission is to propose measures to stop the export of important art, the bloc's culture commission said Wednesday. An official added that he would present the proposals at a meeting of culture ministers on May 28. Wednesday night an unidentified private collector paid a record $9.9 million for a landscape by Vincent Van Gogh. Last week in Britain a Mantegna painting ``The Adoration of the Magi'' was sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum of Malibu, Calif., for $9.7 million.

3 sites in Tennessee reported pushed for A-waste storage

The Department of Energy picked three locations in Tennessee as the best sites for a plant to process, package, and temporarily store highly radioactive wastes from the nation's atomic power plants, congressional sources said Wednesday. The sources, who spoke on condition they not to be identified by name, said two of the top three sites are at Oak Ridge. The third is at an abandoned nuclear plant site about 60 miles northeast of Nashville.

Most spring planting loans granted, US official says

Thefts of laboratory animals by animal rights groups could be considered acts of terrorism and may require enactment of federal laws, the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. James Wyngaarden, said Wednesday. Earlier this week officials of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biologies said they would ask Congress to pass legislation making raids on scientific facilities a federal felony.

N.Y. mayor asks for inquiry on police use of stun guns

Mayor Edward I. Koch has asked the FBI and the US Attorney's office to conduct an investigation into charges that police tortured suspects with an electric stun gun at the 106th Precinct in Queens. Mayor Koch announced Wednesday that all 18 supervisors were being transferred from the precinct. Four officers have been arrested and another suspended in relation to the investigation.

Mr. Koch plans to introduce legislation in the City Council to outlaw the sale and possession of stun guns.

Time to spring ahead with the clock Sunday

Daylight-saving time begins this Sunday. Most of the nation -- except Arizona, Hawaii, and parts of Indiana -- will turn its clocks ahead at 2 a.m. local time.

A front-page article in Thursday's Monitor stated that 6,000 people in the United States have signed a pledge to engage in acts of civil disobedience if the US invades Central America. According to Anne Shumway, of the Boston office of Mobilization for Survival, the correct figure is 63,000. The Monitor regrets this error.

Iran, Iraq appear to be inching toward UN talks

Iran and Iraq appear to be moving very slowly toward peace talks at the United Nations, while the fighting continues. During recent private meetings between the permanent representatives of both countries and UN officials, both countries agreed to present their cases to the Security Council at the urging of UN Secretary-General Javier P'erez de Cu'ellar.

Iran had, until recently, rejected any UN Security Council involvement, on grounds that the Council was hopelessly biased against it, having failed to condemn Iraq as the aggressor at the start of the war.

The Council was expected to issue a statement yesterday or today which observers here consider to be carefully balanced. The statement, according to information obtained by this correspondent, notes ``with dismay'' a recent report by UN medical examiners on the use of chemical weapons against Iran (but does not name Iraq as the country using the chemical weapons).

It also calls on both parties to respect the Geneva protocol banning the use of chemical weapons (a concession to Iran). It also says that the conflict must be stopped altogether (a concession to Iraq), and asks both parties to ``cooperate with the Secretary-General in his efforts to bring about a peaceful settlement of the war.''

Mr. P'erez de Cu'ellar's unofficial plan, aimed at leading Iran and Iraq step by step toward peace, has discreetly been given a green light by Baghdad and Tehran on condition that it not be considered a formal agreement, according to an informed Western diplomat.

Iraq said Thursday its aircraft attacked and hit two very large naval targets -- an Iraqi term for tankers -- near Iran's main oil terminal at Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf.

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