News In Brief

Demonstrators waving red flags and chanting antigovernment and anti-US slogans marched on the presidential palace Sunday bearing the coffin of a student killed in a protest rally last week. More than 5,000 people, defying a government ban on street demonstrations, held up traffic for several hours as they burned effigies of President Ferdinand Marcos and ``Uncle Sam'' on the main road to the palace.

The student was one of two killed, with at least 26 people wounded, in a clash with Philippine riot squads last Monday as farmers protested over higher fertilizer prices.

Senior military official abducted in El Salvador

A group of armed men, presumed by officials to be leftist rebels, abducted a senior military officer Sunday. The action comes three days after President Jose Napoleon Duarte's kidnapped daughter was freed, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Carlos Aviles said 10 armed men in uniform dragged Air Force Col. Omar Napoleon Avalos away from his farmhouse, near the town of Cojutepeque, 20 miles east of the capital.

Italy issues warrant for arrest of Abbas

Italian judicial authorities have issued an arrest warrant for PLO official Muhammad Abbas in connection with the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship, Italian news agencies reported Saturday. The agency AGI said Abbas was charged with murder, kidnapping, hijacking, and transportation and possession of arms and explosives.

Both AGI and the ANSA news agency said the warrant was issued by magistrates in Siracusa who are investigating the hijacking together with prosecutors in Genoa.

Supreme Court Justice rebuts charges of ``judicial activism''

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has taken on the Reagan administration, rebutting criticism that the high court is engaged in ``judicial activism.'' Justice Stevens, in remarks made public Friday, following a Wednesday speech to the Federal Bar Association, said Attorney General Edwin Meese's recent criticism of the high court is based on a ``somewhat incomplete'' appreciation of legal history. Earlier this month, Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan labeled Mr. Meese's calls for adherence to the Constitution's original intent as ``arrogance cloaked as humility.''

Lebanon's militias agree on plan for political reform

Negotiators from Lebanon's three most powerful Moslem and Christian militias have finally agreed on a political reform plan aimed at ending 10 years of civil war, political sources said yesterday. Sources said the negotiators would present their agreement to an unprecedented meeting later this week of the militias' leaders -- Nabih Berri of the Shiite Muslim Amal, Druze chief Walid Jumblatt, and Christian Lebanese Forces leader Elie Hobeika.

If they endorse the Syrian-backed accord, it will go to a ``general national conference'' of the heads of all Lebanon's warring factions and political parties and leaders next month.

China offers to launch satellites at cut rates

China said Sunday it had entered the commercial satellite launch business, offering cut rates in competition with the US space shuttle and the European Ariane rocket. The official People's Daily quoted Space Industry Minister Li Xu' as saying said China's successful launch and recovery of a satellite earlier this month had set the stage for commercial operations. ``We are offering low prices and insurance rates,'' he said.

US seeks opportunity to talk to Soviet merchant sailor

The Reagan administration on Sunday strongly asserted its right to interview a sailor who appeared to be trying to defect from a Soviet ship in New Orleans. ``I think we have a responsibility to assure that the wishes of the individual are understood and it is within our legal authority to establish that,'' said national security adviser Robert McFarlane, on CBS-TV's ``Face The Nation.''

The sailor, who jumped from the grain freighter Marshall Konyev on Friday as it was anchored in the Mississippi River, was returned to the ship by Border Patrol agents before it became clear the sailor was trying to seek asylum.

Three killed, police injured as riots flare in South Africa

Three black men were killed and two policemen injured by gunfire in a resurgence of South African rioting Saturday night. Police said two men were killed when police fired shotguns at a crowd stoning riot patrols in Zwide black township near Port Elizabeth.

Two policemen were injured in Cape Province when someone in a crowd, throwing stones and petrol bombs at a riot patrol, fired a gun.

US treasury announces record flood of red ink in fiscal `85

The federal government says it operated $211.9 billion in the red in fiscal 1985, chalking up the largest annual budget deficit in US history. The Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget, in a joint statement Friday, said the government spent $945.9 billion in the past fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, against receipts of $734 billion.

The final deficit figure was $600 million above an administration forecast made in August but $10.3 billion less than the White House had predicted in February.

Second nuclear device exploded at Mururoa

France exploded another underground nuclear device at its Mururoa test site in the South Pacific on Sunday, the New Zealand government said. Acting Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer said he was told by seismologists that the blast had an approximate yield of 15 kilotons, three times bigger than Thursday's test, which France had conducted in a blaze of publicity.

Antinuclear march ushers in UN Year of Peace

More than 100,000 people marched peacefully past the US and Soviet embassies Saturday in a demonstration designed to pressure the superpowers into ending their arms race. The rally, organized by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Britain's leading peace movement, was much smaller than a 1983 demonstration by the same group that drew 250,000 people.

Dan Smith, vice-chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said more turned out in 1983 because that rally was held just before US cruise missiles were placed in Britain.

The latest march was timed to coincide with the beginning of the UN International Year of Peace.

House panel limits tax break for housing construction

The House Ways and Means Committee, met in a rare Saturday session to rewrite the nation's income tax laws. Meeting in closed session, they agreed with Reagan's plan to restrict tax breaks on bonds used to finance housing construction, but left open the chance for these lucrative bonds to be used for low income housing construction.

Administration officials told the committee the changes were acceptable.

St. Lawrence Seaway to reopen Nov.6

St. Lawrence Seaway officials announced that repairs to the blocked Welland Canal will be completed by Nov. 6 and the Seaway will be kept open longer than normal to allow all marooned ships to pass. Shipping sources said they were still in a desperate race against time before the Seaway freezes over.

Some 72 vessels have been tied up since Oct. 14 when a wall in the Welland canal, which links Lakes Ontario and Erie, collapsed.

The system, which connects North America's industrial and agricultural heartland with the rest of the world, is vital to Canadian wheat farmers who channel nearly 60 per cent of their harvest through the waterway.

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