Italy's Republican Party, critical of the handling of the Achille Lauro hijacking, decided yesterday to pull out of the government. The move, which followed a 21/2-hour meeting between Socialist Prime Minister Bettino Craxi and Republican Party leader Giovanni Spadolini, appeared likely to lead to the resignation of Mr. Craxi's five-party ruling coalition.
Mr. Spadolini, who is defense minister, said he considered the present government ``over.''
Speaking after a meeting of party leaders, he said the party directorate had asked all Republican parliamentarians and ministers to resign.
Spadolini has attacked the government's decision to allow the leader of the Palestine Liberation Front, Muhammad Abbas, to leave Italy despite a United States request to have him detained in connection with the liner's hijacking.
A statement issued to journalists by the party denounced what it called ``the cover-up of the release of the Palestinian official Abbas, in the absence of the necessary government consultation explicitly requested by the Republicans.''
Spadolini had complained he was not consulted over the decision to let Mr. Abbas fly to Yugoslavia last Saturday evening. Abbas, also known as Abul Abbas, is alleged by Washington to have masterminded the Achille Lauro seizure. The US had sought his extradition after Abbas arrived in Italy along with four alleged hijackers when the plane taking them out of Egypt was forced down by US jets last Friday.
The Republicans, who obtained 5.1 percent of the vote in the last general election, in June 1983, are the third-largest party in the coalition after the Christian Democrats and Socialists.
Party official Martino Guido said the party meeting had voted unanimously for a document withdrawing the Republican contingent from the government.
The Republican Party, which is close to Israel and the US, must now formally notify Craxi of its withdrawal. Most political analysts believe the prime minister would then have no choice but to hand in his government's resignation to President Francesco Cossiga.
But some analysts here note that Craxi could still command a majority in Parliament with the four remaining parties -- his Socialists, the Christian Democrats, the Social Democrats, and the Liberals.
US announces trade action to head off protectionism
The Reagan administration announced three trade moves yesterday aimed at dampening protectionist pressures in Congress. The President accused the European Common Market, the nation's second-largest trading partner, of unfairly subsidizing wheat exports. The US is seeking relief under the General Agreement on Tarrifs and Trade.
The President also began proceedings under US trade law aimed at forcing South Korea to change policies that deny patent or copyright protection to US intellectual property such as chemical compounds or literary works.
Presidential spokesman Larry Speakes said that as a result of the President's new ``get-tough policy on trade,'' Taiwan has agreed to improve access to its market for American beer, wine, and cigarettes.
Body that washed up in Syria confirmed as Klinghoffer's
The body of an elderly man that washed ashore near the Syrian port of Tartus is that of Leon Klinghoffer, the American passenger who died aboard the hijacked Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro last week, the US embassy said yesterday. US officials and Italian authorities are to conduct an autopsy in Rome. A Western diplomat said there were two gunshot wounds in the body, one in the head and one in the back.
Weinberger rejects proposal on ship entry at New Zealand
US Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger yesterday rejected a compromise proposal allowing entry of American warships to New Zealand ports without altering the country's antinuclear stance. Mr. Weinberger said the crisis in the ANZUS defense pact among Australia, the US, and New Zealand, sparked by Wellington's decision to ban American warships with nuclear weapons, could be solved only if New Zealand reversed its stand.
Research in crystals, chips brings pair of Nobel Prizes
American researchers Herbert A. Hauptman and Jerome Karle won the 1985 Nobel Prize in Chemistry yesterday for their research in crystal structures. Klaus von Klitzing of West Germany won the Nobel Prize in Physics for a discovery expected to advance the semiconductor industry.
Rebels cannot succeed, Marcos tells US senator
President Ferdinand Marcos told Sen. Paul Laxalt Wednesday that the Philippine government cannot be overthrown by communist rebels, a spokesman for Mr. Marcos said. Mr. Laxalt, a longtime associate of President Reagan, came here to discuss the political situation, a growing communist insurgency, and American bases here.
Seaway traffic may be halted for some weeks, officials say
Costs to shippers are mounting and notices of impending layoffs have been sent along the immobilized St. Lawrence Seaway as officials estimate it will be several weeks before a collapsed Welland Canal lock wall is repaired and traffic can resume. A 125-foot-long piece of a wall in Lock No. 7 of the canal dislodged Monday, trapping a Liberian freighter for about eight hours.
MOVE threatened Reagan, ex-Philadelphia official says
Former city managing director Leo Brooks said yesterday that open threats made by MOVE members against President Reagan were discussed with the FBI and the US attorney in a meeting one year before the May 13 confrontation here. Mr. Brooks told a special investigating commission that the federal officials felt the threats were not ``of sufficient import'' to prompt action.
Tuesday, Mayor W. Wilson Goode said he was misled, ill-informed, and disobeyed in the MOVE confrontation and might have stopped the bombing if he had known the full circumstances.
2 crewmen trapped in oil rig that capsized off Galveston
An oil rig under tow capsized in the Gulf of Mexico off Galveston yesterday. Two crewmen were believed trapped and nine others injured, Coast Guard officials said. The rig, operated by Drynorth USA Inc., rolled on its side and is nearly submerged in about 55 feet of water.
Steel negotiators approve cuts in pay at Wheeling-Pittsburgh
United Steelworkers negotiators have approved pay cuts of at least 11 percent at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation, asking striking workers to swallow a ``bitter pill'' to save the company and their jobs. The 88-day-old walkout by 8,200 union members is the nation's longest steel shutdown in 26 years.
The tentative pact faces a mail ratification ballot.
Chinese shoemakers put ceiling on high-heel heights
A Chinese shoe-industry conference in Inner Mongolia has set maximum heights for high heels, a fashion rage among youth in this country. The official English-language newspaper China Daily said the limits were 21/2 inches for women's heels and 11/2 inches for men's heels.
The limits were said to have been set ``out of consideration for health.''