News In Brief

At least 20 Syrian tanks were delivered to Beirut's southern suburbs yesterday and apparently handed over to fighters of the Shiite Muslim militia Amal. A Lebanese Defense Ministry spokesman said the ministry was aware of the arrival of the tanks but he was not authorized to give details.

Syria has sponsored a security plan for Beirut worked out with Muslim leaders in an effort to end fighting between Muslim militias which has rocked the city.

2 Soviet transports destroyed at Kabul, Afghan rebels say

Afghan guerrillas blasted a major Soviet air base with rockets in Kabul, the Afghan capital, and claimed to have destroyed two transport planes in what Western sources said Tuesday was one of the biggest raids in years. Western diplomatic sources confirmed guerrilla reports that their forces launched a big raid Saturday on the Soviet air base and military complex at Kabul airport.

Ambassador-designate to US is recalled by South Africa

South Africa has recalled its ambassador-designate to the United States ``for consultation,'' a foreign-affairs spokesman said yesterday. He declined to give reasons for the recall. Meanwhile Black leader Desmond Tutu said he would refuse to renounce the use of civil disobedience in the fight against apartheid and rejected it as a condition to meet with President Pieter W. Botha.

On Monday, Mr. Botha threatened to send home hundreds of thousands of foreign blacks working in South Africa if the UN Security Council continued to consider economic sanctions against South Africa, the government radio said.

House delays Pentagon bill in snit over concessions

The House Democratic leadership Tuesday delayed until September any floor vote on a bill authorizing Pentagon spending for the next fiscal year. House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. (D) of Massachusetts said House Democrats were upset about concessions to the Senate during a House-Senate conference committee. The chief complaint by House Democrats is that the bill authorizes a Pentagon budget of $302.5 billion, or more than $10 billion above the figure approved last month in the House version of the defense bill.

Rival groups fight in Sikhs' holy city

Rival Sikh groups fought in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar Tuesday. The Press Trust of India said the fighting pitted opponents and supporters of Sikh leader Harchand Singh Longowal, who signed an agreement with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi last week to end violence in the Punjab. The battle erupted when Mr. Longowal, head of the main Sikh political party, the Akali Dal, arrived for a meeting of his supporters to discuss the peace plan.

Saudis lift restrictions on Iranian visitors to Mecca

Saudi Arabia Monday reversed its decision to limit the number of Iranian pilgrims visiting the Islamic holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. In response, Iran had threatened to cut off all pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia for Sunday's ``action against Islam,'' according to Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency, monitored in Cyprus.

The limit would have meant only 100,000 Iranians could make the pilgrimage known as the Haj, which culminates in ceremonies in August. In 1984, 155,000 Iranians made the trip.

Attempt to cut US standards on fuel economy is waylaid

A resolution opposing the Reagan administration's rollback on federal fuel economy standards for automobiles was defeated Monday by the Republican-controlled Senate. The rejected resolution asked the Transportation Department to reconsider its proposal to lower fleet fuel economy standards for 1986 model cars from 27.5 to 26 miles per gallon.

Four Latin nations forming Contadora support group

Four South American countries -- Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Peru -- are forming a support group for Contadora, the grouping of Latin American nations seeking peace in Central America. Reports of this emerged from the Lima inauguration of Peruvian President Alan Garc'ia P'erez, which was attended by most major Latin American leaders. Reports from Lima suggested that other South American countries might join the group.

BBC weighing whether to air interview with an IRA man

The British Broadcasting Corporation will meet today to decide whether to broadcast an interview with a reputed leader of the outlawed Irish Republican Army, Martin McGuinness. The government asked the BBC Monday not to broadcast ``At the Edge of Union'' Aug. 7, on grounds the program would help a terrorist organization.

Raises for top British officials proceed despite Lords' defeat

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will go ahead with controversial salary increases for top officials despite her Conservative government's defeat on the issue in the upper house of Parliament, aides said Tuesday. The House of Lords censured what it called ``insensitive implementation'' of the raises ``in the context of their policy toward public pay services generally.'' Five Conservative peers voted against the administration, and many abstained.

3 nations to build radio link for planes in North Pacific

The United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan have tentatively agreed to establish a new communications link to prevent civilian airliners from straying off course when flying across the North Pacific, the US announced Monday. The link would mean that air traffic control centers in the three countries could coordinate to help civilian airliners in difficulty or off course and heading over restricted Soviet territory, officials said.

Russian teen wins US stay against returning to USSR

A federal appeals court has granted a reprieve to Walter Polovchak, the 17-year-old Russian boy who has been fighting to remain in the United States since his parents returned to the Soviet Union in 1980. The Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a decision affirming the rights of the parents to reclaim custody. In arguing Monday for the stay, Justice Department attorneys said the boy faced a ``severe form of persecution'' if forced to return.

Brazilian artists, intellectuals hail the end of censorship

The new civilian government abolished censorship in Latin America's largest country, to wild cheers from artists and intellectuals persecuted during 21 years of military rule. Justice Minister Fernando Lyra officially accepted and approved recommendations from a commission of leading arts figures calling for the end of practically all government interference in artistic endeavors.

Previous governments censored the news media and arbitrarily banned books, plays, movies, records, and television soap operas.

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