Troops using dynamite blasted into the Palace of Justice yesterday. They fought their way to the rebels' fourth-floor stronghold, where the leftists held hostages for a second day. The Supreme Court president and seven other judges were among those reported held. The Army said 17 people have died in the fighting since rebels with the M-19 guerrilla movement shot their way into the building Wednesday.
The Army said it thought the rebels still held about 10 hostages, after armored car barrages and troop assaults had freed scores of captives. But federal judge Reynaldo Arciniegas, released by the guerrillas yesterday, put the figure at eight judges and 50 total hostages in an interview with Bogot'a radio station RCN.
The rebels sent Judge Arciniegas out with a message for President Belisario Betancur, Army Col. Alfonso Pl'azas said.
Colonel Pl'azas said the rebels claimed in the note that they had 70 combatants inside the charred, smoldering building and had enough weapons and ammunition for a long siege.
The rebels, according to Plazas, also said they want President Betancur to name his brother, federal judge Jaime Betancur, and a federal senator, Jos'e Manuel Arias, to mediate the standoff between the rebels and the government.
A source close to the President said that the government will not negotiate with the insurgents of the April 19 Movement, known in Colombia as M-19.
A rebel commander in the building told a radio station by phone, ``Betancur is irresponsible; he is refusing to open negotiations or to receive telephone calls from the Supreme Court president.''
Guerrillas apparently set the fires to destroy court records. Witnesses said flames still shot from windows yesterday morning.
In Washington, White House spokesman Larry Speakes deplored the violence ``as an act of terrorism'' and commended the government's counterattack.
In June the rebels broke a year-long truce with government security forces.
The April 19 Movement takes its name from the April 19, 1970, presidential election, which dissidents claim was fraudulent.
Islamic Jihad claim of killing Americans is unsupported
An anonymous caller said yesterday that Islamic Jihad extremists would kill their American hostages because indirect negotiations with the US had reached ``a dead end.'' A later anonymous call claimed the Americans had been killed and dumped at a specified Beirut location, but police said they found no bodies.
Six Americans are missing in Beirut. Islamic Jihad, believed to be a fundamentalist Shiite Muslim group, has said it already killed one of them and is holding the other five.
Fed has ruled out pushing up interest rates, Volcker says
Policymakers at the Federal Reserve Board have decided against pushing interest rates higher in coming weeks, chairman Paul Volcker has disclosed. Mr. Volcker, in a letter to a congressional committee, said yesterdaythu that the Fed's policymaking committee made the decision even though a key money-supply measure is growing faster than the target set by the nation's central bank.
Marcos orders Filipino troops to barracks at election time
President Ferdinand Marcos set restrictions on the Philippine Army yesterday, saying it would be confined to barracks for five days before the presidential election next year. Leaders of the ruling New Society Movement meet today to discuss his proposal for an early election.
In Washington, Salvador Laurel, Mr. Marcos's potential rival in the election, said Wednesday that Marcos has agreed to postpone the voting from Jan. 17 to March 17, which would give the opposition more time to organize its forces.
Floodwaters lap monuments, tie up traffic in Washington
Floodwaters swirled around some of Washington's most famous monuments yesterday, caused massive morning rush-hour traffic jams, and inundated parts of historic Georgetown and Alexandria. The dirty waters also flowed into 40 blocks of Richmond, Va., as days of rain caused by hurricane Juan swelled rivers in mid-Atlantic states.
FBI agent accused of spying to be retried, prosecution says
Government prosecutors say Richard W. Miller, the only FBI agent ever accused of spying, will be retried as quickly as possible after a mistrial declared when jurors deadlocked after 71 hours of deliberations. Most of the jurors favored conviction.
Romanian sailor wins US asylum
A Romanian defector en route from New York to meet a ship in Jacksonville, Fla., was granted asylum in the US yesterday after he approached a private security guard -- apparently thinking she was a policewoman -- and told her he wanted to become an American. After an overnight stay and a determination by officials that he would be persecuted if he went home, Mr. Vernea was granted asylum.
World chess tournament on eve of a photo finish
The 23rd game of the World Chess Championship was drawn Thursday after challenger Gary Kasparov, playing white, made his 41st move. Kasparov leads champion Anatoly Karpov, 12 to 11, and can win the championship by winning or drawing the final game, scheduled for tomorrow. To retain the world title, which he has held since 1975, Karpov must win the final game.
Senator Biden accuses Meese of `social activism of the right'
In remarks at the Georgetown Law Center, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware said Attorney General Edwin Meese's call for an interpretation of the Constitution harking back to the original intentions of the framers amounts to ``a little-disguised social activism of the right.'' Calling Mr. Meese's views ``extreme and unacceptable,'' Senator Biden, a senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, ``The attorney general and his friends on the radical right'' are trying to ``judicially enact an agenda that they could not get through the Congress.''
Senate panel issues subpoena for Soviet sailor to appear
A Senate committee issued a subpoena yesterday for Miroslav Medvid, the Soviet sailor who apparently tried to defect but later changed his mind. The committee wants to call him to Washington to determine whether his decision was made freely. The deputy counsel to the Senate Agriculture Committee carried the subpoena, translated into both Russian and Ukrainian, on a flight to New Orleans and planned to attempt to serve it late yesterday.
Faulty canal lock reopened, clearing course for seaway
A damaged lock on the Welland Canal was opened yesterday for the first time since Oct. 14, when part of the lock wall collapsed. The closing, which came at the height of the St. Lawrence Seaway's busy season, blocked the seaway, caused hundreds of layoffs, and cost shippers millions of dollars.
The Christian Science Monitor will not be published on Nov. 11, a national holiday in the United States. -- 30 --