News In Brief

Shiite Muslim gunmen seized two buses carrying about 40 Christian airline passengers for three hours Sunday. The passengers have been released unharmed from hideouts near Beirut airport, said Middle East Airlines chairman Selim Salam. Meanwhile in south Lebanon, four Soviet-made Katyusha rockets exploded in Israeli-controlled territory, Lebanese security sources said. The rockets landed near the Christian town of Marjayoun, headquarters of the main Israeli-backed militia, the ``South Lebanon Army.'' Guerrilla attacks have hampered Israeli control of a ``security zone'' Israel set up in south Lebanon last June to protect its northern border.

Shiite Muslim militia leader Nabih Berri, in his strongest demand yet for the ouster of Lebanon's Christian president, said Saturday that ``either the regime dies or all of Lebanon will.'' Hours before, rockets hit the palace of President Amin Gemayel during the most fierce fighting in Lebanon's capital in two months.

In addition, unidentified kidnappers freed unharmed Wajed Doumani, a Kuwaiti Embassy press officer, kidnapped in mostly Muslim west Beirut a month ago, police said Sunday. On Thursday, Robert Burkholder, a Canadian relief worker in South Lebanon, was released unharmed after being kidnapped by gunmen earlier in the day.

Diplomats and intelligence officials in Beirut and Damascus said there is no indication kidnappers are ready to release any of the dozen Westerners they are holding.

Thousands protest in Belfast 1 day after Protestants march

Thousands of protesters marched through Belfast Sunday in a rally organized by Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The demonstration marked the 14th anniversary of the now-abandoned practice of jailing republican activists without trial. The protest followed rioting Saturday in reaction to a pro-British march by 15,000 Protestants in Londonderry, marking the Protestant rise to power in Northern Ireland nearly three centuries ago.

In Dublin, broadcasters in the Irish Republic Sunday held a one-day strike in protest at a decision to ban an interview with Martin Galvin, a New York lawyer and publicity director for the New York-based Irish Northern Aid Committee (NORAID). Mr. Galvin, ignorning a British ban against entering the province, appeared Friday at an IRA funeral and news conference in Londonderry.

Qaddafi orders Tunisian workers expelled from Libya

Libya has expelled some 7,300 Tunisian immigrant workers and used ``brutality'' in forcing them to leave, Tunisian Social Affairs Minister Muhammad Ennaceur said Sunday. Officials said some 5,000 more out of a total of about 80,000 Tunisian workers in Libya have been told to leave. The expulsions began early this year and increased when Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi ordered out any migrant worker who refused to take on ``Arab [Libyan] nationality.'' The official Libyan news agency JANA announced Thursday that Tripoli had decided to reduce its dependence on foreign workers.

Union Carbide plant in W. Virginia leaks toxic gas

Toxic fumes from a Union Carbide pesticide plant here leaked into the atmosphere yesterday, injuring over 100 people, officials said. They said the fumes contained the gas methyl isocyanate (MIC), which killed more than 2,500 people in Bhopal, India, last December when the Union Carbide plant there leaked MIC into the atmosphere. Yesterday's leak was caused by faulty pipeline gasket.

Afghan rebels denounce the start of local elections

Afghan authorities yesterday announced the start of local elections, but an antigovernment guerrilla alliance called the polls a fraud. The local elections are the first since Marxists took power in a 1978 coup. A rebel spokesman said he did not think many people would vote in the elections. Authorities did not indicate when the elections would be completed.

Lawyer says Arthur Walker will testify against his brother

Convicted spy Arthur J. Walker will try to reduce his sentence by testifying against his brother and other alleged spy-ring members, his lawyer said Saturday. Walker, a retired Navy lieutenant commander, was convicted Friday on seven counts of espionage for selling Navy secrets to the Soviet Union through his brother, John A. Walker Jr., the alleged mastermind of a spy ring. He faces up to three life terms plus 40 years and $40,000 in fines. Sentencing is set for Oct. 15.

Police hunt Red Army for attack on US Air Force base

German officials said Saturday the car bombing of a a US Air Force base was one of a series and ``we must reckon with further similar attacks in the future.'' The West German Red Army Faction and Direct Action, a French terrorist group, together claimed responsibility for the bombing. The explosion early Thursday at the Air Force's Rhein-Main base outside Frankfurt killed an American serviceman and the wife of another airman, and wounded more than 20 people.

Striking shipbuilders to meet with Bath Iron Works today

Representatives of 4,500 striking shipbuilders and Bath Iron Works (BIW) are to meet today for the first negotiations since July 17, a federal mediator announced. The strike began July 1 after shipbuilders overwhelmingly rejected a contract proposal that included a pay freeze, a two-tier wage, health-care benefit reductions, and liberalized job assignments.

BIW has claimed it needs to pare labor costs to remain competitive in an industry squeezed in recent years by a lack of commerical shipbuilding projects and by heightened competition for Navy work.

Japan trade surplus hits high as US representative arrives

US Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter arrived in Tokyo Saturday in search of ways to curb Japan's growing trade surplus with the US. Japan posted a record $3.7 billion trade surplus with the US in July, according to prelimiary figures released by the Finance Ministry Friday.

New Ugandan government frees over 1,200 prisoners

The new military regime Saturday freed more than 1,200 political prisoners it said were jailed by the ousted civilian president, Milton Obote. (Related story, Page 10.) Residents in Jinja, 50 miles east of Kampala, said 14 people were killed last night in looting by Ugandan soldiers. Celebrations as released the prisoners returned home appeared to spark the incident.

Second swarm of bees found and destroyed in California

The state said Friday it killed a colony of ``killer bees'' that may have left a nest where the first group of the aggressive insects to be found in the United States was discovered in June. State agents on July 31 began eradicating all wild bee colonies in a 462-square-mile quarantine area around the site of the original find, just outside the town of Lost Hills in Kern County.

US drug raids result in destruction of 342,635 plants

Drug raids across the country last week destroyed 342,635 marijuana plants and arrested 175 people, Attorney General Edwin Meese III said. A major reason for the $275,000 operation was to demonstrate to other countries that the United States is serious about its drug eradication program, Mr. Meese said. The program, launched Aug. 5 and code-named ``Operation Delta-9,'' will continue through the November marijuana harvesting season.

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