News In Brief

Irish Prime Minister Garret FitzGerald paid a surprise visit to Northern Ireland Tuesday to inaugurate a new air link with Dublin. The visit, which was not announced in advance, was Mr. Fitzgerald's first to the British-ruled province on official business in more than two years.

Head of Latin America office leaving US State Department

Langhorne Motley, head of the State Department's Latin America bureau, resigned Tuesday after two years in that post, Secretary of State George Shultz announced. Mr. Shultz said Elliott Abrams, who has served for the past 31/2 years as chief of the State Department's human rights bureau, is being nominated to replace Mr. Motley, who is returning to private life.

US says leading indicators dropped 0.2% in March

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators, the government's economic barometer, fell 0.2 percent in March and earlier reports of increases in the two previous months were revised downward, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The small but unexpected dip, which pushed the index below its level of a year earlier, came as the latest sign of a slowdown in US economic expansion. In another report, the government said the nation's trade deficit was $11 billion last month, against $11.4 billion in February.

Indian ex-premier gives data in libel suit against US writer

Former Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai is answering questions this week for a deposition in his $100 million libel suit against Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh. The suit contends Mr. Hersh libeled the former prime minister in his 1983 book, ``The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House,'' when he said Mr. Desai was a paid informant of the CIA.

Hungarian opposition gives state party a spirited test

The one-party state is going through its liveliest election campaign since the communist takeover in 1949, under a new law that gives the opposition a chance to speak up. Dissidents have confronted party leaders at public meetings, and one nearly got on the ballot. Leading dissidents, who call themselves the ``democratic opposition,'' sought places on the ballot for parliamentary elections June 8.

OSHA chief faces US review on possible conflict of interest

The director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) faces a federal review to determine whether his investments in the chemical, petroleum, and pharmaceutical industries constitute a conflict of interest. The Office of Government Ethics was to launch a formal review Tuesday into the activities of Robert A. Rowland, who has ruled in four OSHA regulatory matters affecting companies in which he owns at least $300,000 in stock.

Last September, then-Labor Secretary Raymond J. Donovan granted Mr. Rowland a waiver from the conflict-of-interest law to allow the OSHA director to take part in broad policymaking that might involve the companies in which he holds a financial interest. The waiver did not, however, apply to matters pertaining to specific companies.

Brock is sworn in as labor secretary

William Brock was sworn into office Monday as secretary of labor at a private White House ceremony. President Reagan's nomination of Mr. Brock to replace Raymond J. Donovan, who resigned, was confirmed by the Senate Friday on a unanimous voice vote. Brock, who pledged to improve his department's relations with organized labor, appointed a former United Automobile Workers union attorney, Steve Schlossberg, to the post of deputy undersecretary of labor for management relations and cooperative programs.

Bombs explode at companies that fired S. African miners

Two bombs exploded Tuesday at the headquarters offices of two gold mining companies that fired 17,500 black miners. Anglo American Corporation agreed late Monday to rehire 14,500 of the miners fired last weekend for holding an illegal strike at Vaal Reefs, the world's largest gold mine, the black National Union of Mineworkers said.

The union planned to meet Tuesday with Anglovaal Ltd., owner of the second mine, where 3,000 black miners were dismissed for taking part in an illegal strike last week. The company has said it will consider rehiring the men. No injuries were reported in the explosions.

House panel cuts $7.1 billion from Pentagon shopping list

A House subcommittee cut the Pentagon's budget for buying weapons by $7.1 billion as the panel began the first stage of House efforts to draft a defense spending plan for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The 13-to-4 decision Monday by the procurement and military nuclear systems subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee reduced the Pentagon's overall procurement budget from President Reagan's request of $97.8 billion to $90.6 billion, according to congressional sources. The panel did not make any decisions on the MX missile or Reagan's request for research into a ``star wars'' defense against nuclear attack.

Greenpeace prevents ship from dumping in North Sea

Activists from the environmental group Greenpeace have stopped a ship from dumping chemical waste in the North Sea two days after a similar action failed, a Greenpeace spokesman said yesterday. The Falco, carrying 1,000 tons of waste from titanium dioxide production in Belgium, turned back soon after the activists climbed aboard. On Friday, Greenpeace activists forced the Falco to return to port before it had finished discharging waste by jumping into the water in front of the bow. But a similar attempt two nights before to halt dumping by an Antwerp ship failed when it used pipes below the water level.

`Star wars' feasibility studies may produce bias, panel says

The Pentagon is awarding research contracts in a manner that is likely to encourage the building of a ``star wars'' antimissile defense system, says a new study by the Council on Economic Priorities. The study says that pressure to build a star-wars system could develop, regardless of whether the technology is proved worthwhile, and that the awarding of such research contracts has already become ``highly concentrated'' among major weapon builders.

Church of England names a black bishop

The Church of England Tuesday named the Rev. Wilfred Wood as its first black bishop. The Rev. Mr. Wood, born in Barbados and now Archdeacon of Southwark, was appointed Bishop of Croydon, responsible for 102 parishes south of London.

A top police chief, 3 others asked to retire in N.Y. probe

Shaken by allegations of brutality in a Queens precinct, Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward has asked one of his top chiefs and three other commanding officers to take early retirement, it was reported Tuesday. The retirement of Chief of Patrol Hamilton Robinson, commander of the department's 17,000 uniformed officers, and the Queens commanders continues the shake-up started by Commissioner Ward last week with the removal of precinct and other commanders in the borough.

IMF approves $300 million for loan prop to Yugoslavia

The International Monetary Fund said its board of directors gave final approval late Monday for a $300 million loan to Yugoslavia.

Pepsi out for maximum fizz from Coke's formula change

The Pepsi-Cola Company, seizing ``the opportunity of a lifetime,'' launched an advertising campaign Tuesday to exploit rival Coca-Cola's decision to change its formula.

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