News In Brief

President Reagan yesterdaythu said he would be satisfied if PLO chief Yassar Arafat prosecuted the four Palestinians who hijacked an Italian cruise liner and murdered an elderly American but later said he had been wrong and called on the PLO to turn the quartet over to a sovereign state. Here for a speech, Reagan said that, if Arafat ``believes that their organization ... can bring them to justice and carry that out, all right. But just so they are brought to justice'' for ``a very brutal murder.''

``In our country, that would mean capital punishment.''

Later, the president reappeared before reporters to say, ``I shouldn't have made a statement of that kind, mad as I am. I was thinking vengence instead of justice.''

He added: ``I really believe that the PLO -- if the hijackers are in their custody -- should turn them over to a sovereign state that has jurisdiction and could prosecute them as the murderers that they are.''

Premier says Peru will stop using IMF to deal with debts

Peru's prime minister denounced the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday as a US-dominated menace to his country's democracy. Luis Alva said Peru will not use the international lending agency to deal with its creditors. Speaking during the joint 40th annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank, Mr. Alva said the policies of adjustment imposed by the IMF were not viable, deepened the recession, and put the democratic system into serious danger.

Salvadorean guerrillas take heavy toll in attack on base

Leftist guerrillas killed at least 42 troops and wounded 68 in a major attack on a military base here yesterday where US advisers are based, a military spokesman said. An armed forces spokesman, Col. Carlos Aviles, said fighting was still going on around the training center in La Uni'on Province, about 90 miles east of San Salvador.

Japan's top oil distributor to develop fields in US

Japan's top petroleum distributor, Nippon Oil Company, will launch a $100 million project to develop oil fields in the United States, company president Yasuoki Takeuchi said. Mr. Takeuchi announced the project, the first for US oil development by a Japanese oil company, on Wednesday, Japanese newspapers reported yesterday.

The major economic daily Nihon Keizai quoted Takeuchi as saying his company had obtained oil fields from Texaco in five areas, including California, North Dakota, and Colorado.

Right-wing German politician accused of spying for the East

An official of the extreme right-wing German National Democratic Party has been arrested on suspicion of spying for East Germany, justice officials said yesterday. They said the man's arrest was not connected with the defections of a top West German spy hunter and several well-placed Bonn secretaries in the past two months.

A spokesman for the Federal Prosecutor's Office said he was suspected of spying for East Germany since 1978 or '79 and of providing East Berlin with information on the extreme right-wing movement in West Germany.

Puerto Rican officials prepare to bulldoze mountainside

Although rescuers continued to search for survivors, Puerto Rican officials made plans yesterday to bulldoze a collapsed mountainside into a mass grave for some 500 missing mud-slide victims. Families of the victims bitterly opposed the move, but the officials said it was vital to prevent an outbreak of pestilence and further weakening of the giant wall of mud that smothered a shantytown in this city Monday.

Authorities noted that no one had been pulled alive from the debris since a few hours after the mud slide and said there was little chance that other survivors would be found.

Britain plans to add police, new law to curb city violence

The British government announced plans yesterday to bolster police and to introduce a new law to combat a wave of inner-city street violence. Home Secretary Douglas Hurd promised to give the police all the equipment they required, reinforcing a warning by London police that they would use plastic bullets and tear gas if the need arose.

Mr. Hurd also told a conference of the ruling Conservative Party he would ask Parliament to include a new offense of ``disorderly conduct'' in a pending public-order law.

US to help chip industry to fight foreign inroads

The government will help the domestic semiconductor industry fight unfair foreign trade practices by Japan and other countries, a Commerce Department official said yesterday. Clyde Prestowitz, Commerce Department counselor for Japan affairs, said the industry is facing tough, and arguably unfair, foreign comptetition. ``The President's trade policy announcement sends a clear message that we will act -- and act effectively -- in such cases,'' Mr. Prestowitz told the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.

Immigration reform top issue for Hispanic leader on Hill

Rep. Matthew G. Martinez (D) of California, recently elected chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has made the current debate over immigration reform his first priority. Mr. Martinez is gathering the views of the 13-member caucus on the controversial immigration bills now before Congress. Wherever possible, he hopes the caucus can speak with one voice on such divisive issues as amnesty for illegal aliens, employer sanctions to prevent the hiring of illegals, and a proposed plan to bring in 350,000 Mexican guest workers for Western farms.

Martinez replaces Rep. Bill Richardson (D) of New Mexico, who stepped down as chairman after serving for one year.

Felony counts again dropped in sensitive Teamsters case

For the second time in two weeks, federal prosecutors have dropped felony charges to avert trials that could force them to reveal whether Teamsters Union president Jackie Presser was an FBI informant. US District Judge John M. Manos granted a motion by prosecutors Wednesday to dismiss charges against former Teamsters official John Nardi involving an alleged ghost-payroll scheme.

Last week, prosecutors won dismissal of a fraud charge against Mr. Presser's uncle, Allen Friedman, in the same payroll-padding case.

42 Princeton physics teachers join opposition to `star wars'

Forty-two of the 56 physics professors at Princeton University have signed a petition opposing President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, often called ``star wars,'' which one Nobel laureate called ``unworkable and counterproductive.'' Sixty percent of the university's mathematics department also signed it. The petition, which originated at the University of Illinois and Cornell University, is circulating at more than 70 US colleges.

At Cornell, officials said Tuesday that 688 faculty members and graduate students, including about half the physics professors, signed the petition.

Murdoch plans TV system to compete with US networks

Publisher Rupert Murdoch announced plans Wednesday to reorganize his entertainment and broadcast properties and form an independent television system to compete with the three major US television networks.

FBI hot line seeks information on corruption in Michigan

The FBI has opened a 24-hour hot line for Michigan residents with information on corruption involving public officials. The FBI is looking for information on such crimes as contract fraud, bribery, conflict of interest, and misuse of federal funds, special agent John Anthony said Wednesday. The information and the identity of callers will be kept confidential, the agent said. The bureau will actively investigate and seek indictments from substantiated tips, he said.

The Christian Science Monitor will not be published on Oct. 14, a national holiday in the United States.

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