News In Brief

As traded commodities go, cocaine has been a doing a brisk under-the-table business in Chicago's financial district. After a 13-month undercover investigation involving local police, the state's attorney's office, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration, 35 people have been indicted in a cocaine trafficking operation.

Many of those indicted are former or current entry-level employees such as clerks and runners in Chicago commodities and securities firms. Fifteen of those charged are reported to be members of a Chicago gang.

Although the alleged operation was no surprise and probably just the ``tip of the iceberg,'' Chicago Crime Commission director Patrick Healy said the arrests were ``encouraging.''

``It should make those firms who are jealous of their reputation turn inward and really analyze whether or not they have a problem and what they're going to do about it,'' Mr. Healy said.

In ``Operation Closing Bell,'' named for the signal that closes each trading day, agents bought $100,000 worth of cocaine in area taverns and restaurants on 60 occasions. Cook County State's Attorney Richard Daley delayed announcement of the Oct. 11 indictments for five days (till Oct. 16) so arrests could be made.

Yugoslavs confirm suspect in ship hijack has left country

Yugoslavia confirmed yesterday that Palestine Liberation Organization official Muhammad Abbas, wanted in connection with the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, has left Yugoslavia, the White House said. Yugoslavia also formally turned down for the first time a US request for extradition of Mr. Abbas.

US identifies three suspects it wants in TWA hijacking

The US publicly identified for the first time yesterday three Lebanese Shiites it wants in connection with the hijacking of a TWA jetliner and murder of an American passenger. Just hours earlier, the State Department offered a reward of up to a quarter-million dollars as a bounty for the trio, and Attorney General Edwin Meese said the government would make ``a determined, coordinated effort'' to punish them.

Flare-up in Johannesburg takes more lives of blacks

Riot police shot and killed two black men in anti-apartheid unrest that flared for the third straight day in black and mixed-race townships near Cape Town. The spate of violence resulting in at least seven deaths began Tuesday evening when police sprang from hiding in wooden boxes on a truck and opened fire with shotguns on youths stoning the vehicle. The barrage killed at least three people, including a youth in a nearby house, and set off retaliatory rock-throwing and arson.

State television has also reported that a government physician has lost his license for his treatment of Steve Biko, the black leader who died of multiple head injuries while in police custody eight years ago.

Europe threatens retaliation against US farm measures

The European Community (EC), firing the latest shot in a simmering farm trade war, announced yesterday it would take retaliatory action in the world trade body GATT against US measures to up wheat exports. The European Commission, the EC's executive branch, maintains that subsidized US sales through a controversial export bonus program break GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) rules.

The US announced Wednesday it was filing official complaints against the EC's system of farm export refunds at the Geneva-based GATT.

French novelist wins 1985 Nobel

The Swedish Academy awarded novelist Claude Simon the 1985 Nobel Prize in Literature yesterday. Mr. Simon helped pioneer an experimental ``new novel'' style in the 1950s which abandoned the literary norms of plot and character development.

Honduras intercepts US aid meant for Nicaraguan rebels

The Honduran government seized the first shipment of US humanitarian aid to rebels trying to overthrow the leftist Nicaraguan government. A Tegucigalpa newspaper, El Heraldo, quoted the commander in chief of the armed forces, Walter L'opez Reyes, as saying, ``Our country cannot, under any circumstances, allow this type of operation, which tends to inflict serious moral damage to the Honduran nation.''

Former governor of Vermont to take on Democratic senator

Former Republican Gov. Richard Snelling said yesterday he will run for the US Senate next year against incumbent Democrat Patrick Leahy, setting up a contest between the state's two most popular politicians. The GOP holds a 53-to-47 edge in the Senate, but the announced retirements of several leading Republicans, such as Paul Laxalt in Nevada and Charles McC. Mathias Jr. in Maryland, gives the Democrats a shot at gaining a majority. Mr. Snelling has been under pressure from national and state Republicans to run.

6 reported killed in Lebanon as Muslims strike at station

A Muslim suicide squad stormed an American-owned evangelical radio station in south Lebanon yesterday and detonated explosives strapped to their waists, killing nine people, security sources said. The Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army militia, guarding the station, put the toll at six.

Stock exchanges climb to new highs in Europe

Several European stock exchanges, taking a cue from Wall Street, surged to new peaks yesterday as investors shrugged off economic uncertainties and pinned their hopes on lower inflation and promising corporate prospects. In London, the Financial Times 30-share industrial index closed at a new high of 1,043.3, up 8.4 points, after hitting a peak of 1,044.7 in morning business.

Philadelphia police official defends plans to evict MOVE

Police commissioner Gregore Sambor testified yesterday that his plans to evict the MOVE group, including bombing its headquarters, were the best possible because they were designed to protect lives. Mr. Sambor was responsible for the plan to evict MOVE from west Philadelphia, selected May 13 as the date, was in command at the scene, and ultimately decided to drop a bomb to destroy a rooftop bunker built by members of the group. He said he had been assured the bomb would not harm the occupants.

Zia lauds Pakistani Assembly for backing his martial law

President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq praised Pakistan's National Assembly yesterday for acting to legitimize his martial law rule. He told the Assembly its vote Wednesday night was a victory for reason and patriotism. The bill, which now goes to the Senate for approval, pardons President Zia's 1977 coup, which toppled former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and validates almost all his martial law orders since then.

Peugeot to build truck plant in China, with public stakes

China has signed an agreement with the French carmaker Peugeot to build a large truck plant in which the Chinese public will be allowed to buy shares. Chinese officials said 10 percent of the shares will be sold to the public, the first offering here in a joint venture.

``Our aim is to tap a new source of capital, improve cooperation between the company and the workers, and give them a greater incentive,'' said Lu Wenyu, an engineer who led the feasibility study for the project.

The shares may not be traded. China has not had a stock market since 1949, but some companies have sold nontrading shares to workers.

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