News In Brief

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said NASA Administrator James M. Beggs plans a leave of absence, following calls by Congress that he resign before defending himself on charges of fraud against the government in his previous job at General Dynamics Corporation. Mr. Beggs said after the indictment on Monday, ``I am innocent of any criminal wrongdoing,'' and he vowed to defend his case vigorously. He added that he had no plans to resign his NASA post.

US election team to observe Filipino voting preparations

A bipartisan group of US election experts will leave Friday to observe preparations for elections in the Philippines amid increasing pressure to halt aid to Manila, congressional sources said yesterday. The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, meanwhile, began a probe into investments in the United States and elsewhere by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. See related story, Page 15.

Malta says it won't extradite surviving hijacking suspect

A government spokesman said yesterday that Malta does not intend to comply with Egypt's request to extradite Omar Marzouki, the man thought to be the sole surviving hijacker of an EgyptAir jet. The spokesman also said Maltese authorities believe the terrorists who hijacked the airliner to Malta last month are Palestinian. No information was available immediately on why officials came to that conclusion.

The hijack suspect remains in the hospital under heavy guard, Maltese officials said. Diplomatic sources said that a high-security cell is being prepared for him at Malta's Corradino prison.

American, West German freed by Philippine rebels

Muslim rebels released an American and a West German yesterday whom they had held hostage in the wilderness of the southern Philippines for more than a year, the US Embassy said. The embassy said John Robinow, a native of New York, and Helmuth Herbst of Munich, West Germany, were flown to a hospital at the US Clark Air Base immediately after their release.

The two were kidnapped Nov. 19, 1984, by guerrillas of the Moro National Liberation Front, a group fighting for Muslim rule in the southern Philippines.

Legislation moves forward to aid Farm Credit System

The Senate approved by a 57-to-34 vote a rescue package for the Farm Credit System and the House has put up similar legislation in an effort to shore up confidence in the system before Congress adjourns for the holidays. The Senate bill offers unlimited standby federal financial aid to the system, the nation's largest farm lender. The bill would also centralize the system's loosely linked finances and strengthen the Farm Credit System into a true regulator.

NATO astonishment voiced over Pole's visit to France

NATO officials and diplomats said they were astonished at yesterday's visit to Paris by Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski and could see no benefit to France. President Franois Mitterrand did not notify his Atlantic alliance partners in advance of the meeting, General Jaruzelski's first with a Western leader since the crushing of the Solidarity free trade union in 1981, they said.

The officials said they were particularly surprised because France has been one of the most outspoken critics of martial law in Poland.

Joseph Kennedy running for sure; Kathleen may too

Joseph P. Kennedy II, son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, announced his candidacy yesterday for the Eighth Congressional District seat being vacated by House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill. Democratic sources in Maryland also reported that Joseph Kennedy's sister, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, would seek the nomination for Maryland's Second Congressional District.

European Community acts to streamline, mesh policy

European Community leaders agreed yesterday on modest reforms of the group's founding 1957 Treaty of Rome in a bid to streamline its cumbersome operations and move toward developing foreign policy cooperation among members. Diplomats said the most significant changes agreed on would restrict member governments' ability to veto decisions, a right often blamed for the virtual paralysis in EC decisionmaking.

US overseas military aid up 66% since '81, report says

US military aid to foreign governments has increased by 66 percent since 1981 and increasing amounts are provided as giveaway money rather than as loans, according to the General Accounting Office of Congress. The analysis shows that military assistance totaled $11 billion in 1985, including $8.6 billion in grants or forgiven loans, a 92 percent increase since 1983.

Israel and Egypt are the largest recipients of military aid, accounting together for $5.5 billion in 1985.

Central America police plan gets an alternative on Hill

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Richard Lugar (R) of Indiana, unveiled a compromise plan designed to salvage a controversial proposal by President Reagan to counter terrorism in Central America. Senator Lugar proposed cutting Mr. Reagan's request from $56 million to $25 million and suggested tighter restrictions on use of the funds, including prohibition against aid to Guatemala until after a new president takes office next month.

Reagan asked Congress for the money to boost the ability of military and police forces in Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama to deal with terrorism.

USSR may give Zimbabwe arms to fend off S. Africa

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Robert Mugabe said yesterday he and Kremlin leaders, including Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, had discussed possible Soviet military aid for his country to strengthen it against threats from South Africa. The Soviet media have been reporting on alleged South African attempts to subvert Zimbabwe and on warnings from Pretoria that its forces would pursue guerrillas into Zimbabwe. Mr. Mugabe told reporters that Zimbabwe was preparing to defend itself.

Campaign finance reform placed in Senate limbo

The Senate put itself squarely on the fence of campaign finance reform late Tuesday when it voted overwhelming (84-7) to keep alive a proposal by Sen. David L. Boren (D) of Oklahoma to limit contributions by political-action committees. As soon as the vote was tallied, however, Senate majority leader Robert Dole (R) of Kansas pulled the bill off the floor, which could delay the reform effort indefinitely.

The GOP leadership has promised to bring a new campaign reform bill to the Senate next year.

Toyota confirms Kentucky will be site of its US plant

Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan has selected a 1,000-acre tract of farmland on the outskirts of Georgetown, Ky., for its $500 million US automobile assembly plant, a company source said.

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