News In Brief

Retired Navy Lt. Comdr. Arthur J. Walker was sentenced yesterday to life in prison for his seven convictions of espionage stemming from a family-based Soviet spy ring. He was also fined $250,000. Walker, of Virginia Beach, Va., was convicted Aug. 9 of passing classified documents from his defense contractor employer, VSE Corporation, to his brother, John A. Walker Jr., a retired Navy communications specialist.

Assistant US Attorney Tommy E. Miller had called for the maximum sentence, saying the government did not believe Walker had disclosed his full involvement in the spy ring. Arthur Walker's attorneys had argued that their client played a minor role in the ring.

John Walker, who pleaded guilty to espionage Oct. 28 and agreed to cooperate with authorities, revealed no surprises to FBI agents about his brother's involvement in espionage, J. Brian Donnelly, one of Arthur Walker's attorneys, said Monday.

John Walker and his son, Navy Seaman Michael L. Walker, are awaiting sentencing in US District Court in Baltimore.

John Walker agreed to tell the government what data the spy ring passed to the Soviet Union and to testify against Jerry A. Whitworth, a former Navy buddy who is awaiting trial on espionage charges in San Francisco.

The agreement states that John Walker will be sentenced to life in prison and Michael will receive a 25-year sentence.

John Walker will be eligible for parole in 10 years and his son could be released in eight years.

The Washington Legal Foundation, a conservative public-interest group, had asked Judge J. Calvitt Clarke Jr. to impose a sentence that would keep Arthur in prison for the rest of his life.

``Convicted spies should either be eligible for the death penalty or impose the maximum punishment of prison for life,'' said Paul Kamenar, executive legal director of the foundation. ``We think that the sentence imposed on John Walker was absolutely outrageously lenient.''

The foundation tried unsuccessfully to have the death penalty apply to all four.

After the sentencing, Walker apologized for his actions saying, ``I dishonored myself.''

US and Soviets won't seek Geneva arms pact, Nitze says

The United States and the Soviet Union have abandoned efforts to reach significant agreement on arms control issues at their summit next week and are studying more-modest proposals, President Reagan's special adviser on arms, Paul Nitze, said yesterday. ``We are now looking for something less ambitious, perhaps bilateral problems, or guidelines which might be of some assistance to our [arms] negotiators to move towards such an agreement,'' Mr. Nitze said in an interview via satellite.

Nitze said the superpowers were still far apart on all issues, including medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe.

Baker calls for reforms in world monetary system

Treasury Secretary James Baker, architect of an international plan to reduce the value of the dollar, said yesterday the world monetary system needs improvement. Addressing an international conference on monetary reform, Mr. Baker also said the pact between the US and its trading partners in September to curb the dollar's strength was ``one step in a continuous process of international cooperation.''

His comments were the first official indication that Washington may be prepared to consider further reforms to the system.

Court to rule if state laws bar church-school job bans

The Supreme Court agreed yesterday to consider whether state laws banning job bias may be applied to religiously based employment practices of church-affiliated schools. The court, if it decides it has jurisdiction, will rule whether Ohio officials may take action against officials of a Dayton church school who decided to fire a pregnant teacher so she would stay home with her baby.

In other cases, the court:

Agreed to decide whether communities may lawfully grant exclusive cable television franchises.

Ruled that the Constitution's ban on ``double jeopardy'' does not bar defendants being resentenced after some counts of their convictions are overturned.

Agreed to decide whether the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination applies when someone faces commitment as a ``sexually dangerous person.''

Agreed to decide whether the government may be sued for recreational accidents at federal dams and flood-control sites.

Christian leaders killed by Beirut suicide bomber

A suicide bomber killed five other people and injured 19, including several Christian establishment leaders, when his pickup truck packed with 880 pounds of explosives blew up yesterday, yards from a monastery used as political headquarters in East Beirut. Official sources said the bomber's target was a weekly meeting of the right-wing Christian Lebanese Front, which opposes a Syrian-backed peace plan for Lebanon.

An anonymous caller, saying he represented a hitherto unknown group calling itself the Vanguard of Arab Christians, telephoned a Western news agency in Beirut to claim responsibility. He accused the Christian leaders of seeking to align Lebanon's Christian community with Israel.

Miami voters go to the polls for runoff in mayoral contest

Turnout was strong yesterday as voters in Miami's mayoral election went to the polls for a runoff vote between two immigrants to pick the city's first Cuban-born mayor. The Dade County Elections Department had predicted a 60 percent turnout of the city's 114,174 voters, and turnout by mid-morning was 51.5 percent, according to a county official. No further details were available as of press time.

Irish guerrilla group claims role London bomb attempt

An Irish guerrilla group claimed responsibility yesterday for planting two bombs found Monday night outside a central London Army barracks. The bombs were defused by Army experts. Passers-by spotted the bombs hidden in shopping bags outside the Chelsea Barracks. The devices were wired to alarm clocks.

In a telephone call to the Irish broadcasting company RTE in Dublin, a man claimed responsibility for planting the bombs in behalf of the Irish National Liberation Army, which is fighting British rule in Northern Ireland.

Prelate's envoy off to Beirut to see Muslim kidnappers

Terry Waite, a special envoy of Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie, will flies to Beirut today after receiving an encouraging message from Muslim captors holding four US hostages, the Church of England announced yesterday. On Saturday, the archbishop appealed for an urgent face-to-face meeting between the kidnappers and Mr. Waite after receiving a letter from the four Americans urging him to intervene. The US hostages have been held captive between five and 10 months.

Zimbabwe puts more squeeze on opposition, Amnesty says

Amnesty International reported on Tuesday a sharp increase in arrests and torture of suspected government opponents in Zimbabwe. The London-based human rights group spoke of persistent reports of beatings, electric shocks, and other torture at government detention camps since the July general election.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.