News In Brief

Secretary of State George Shultz left for Europe yesterday on a 10-day visit with Western allies as well as several Soviet East-bloc nations. He will talk with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 15 NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl before his first state visit to Romania, Hungary and Yugoslavia.

Of all the countries in Eastern Europe that are part of the Soviet-bloc military alliance, Romania and Hungary have the closest economic ties with the United States and have taken some steps to loosen the binds of Soviet policy.

Mr. Shultz will reportedly warn Romanian leaders, however, that Congress may strip the country of trade preferences unless Romania improves its human rights record.

Reagan urges congressmen to pass a tax revision bill

President Reagan sent a letter yesterday to individual members of the House of Representatives, urging House passage of tax revision legislation and warning that if a bill did not move from the House now, the tax reform effort might be ``dead'' for several more years. Mr. Reagan stressed the importance of moving the issue to the Republican-controlled Senate, adding that even a Democratic-sponsored Ways and Means bill and a Republican alternative both represented a significant step toward real tax reform, even though they fell far short of what he had sought.

South African soldier requests asylum in US

A South African who contends he was forced to kill innocent blacks as a soldier under his government's apartheid policies has asked for political asylum in the United States. Bernard Butler-Smith, a 27-year-old draftee who left South Africa on a vacation in September, wrote to the Immigration and Naturalization Service that even if he were thrown in jail in America, it would be better than staying in South Africa.

A State Department bureau that furnishes immigration officials with advisory opinions on asylum requests said that draft evasion itself was not grounds for granting asylum.

Marcos lists running mates, hints that Ver may resign

President Ferdinand Marcos announced yesterday that he had seven possible vice-presidential running mates and hinted that controversial armed forces chief Fabian Ver might quit before the Feb. 7 poll. The presidential palace said Mr. Marcos named former Foreign Minister Arturo Tolentino, whom he fired last March, as ``one of the top-ranking candidates'' to share his ticket.

Mr. Tolentino, dismissed after attacking government policies, has said that Marcos must by law resign before the election and that he will not support him if he fails to do so.

Flight of unarmed missile aborted in Florida by Navy

The US Navy aborted the flight of an unarmed Tomahawk cruise missile and forced it to land in northwest Florida, Defense Department officials said yesterday. A Navy tracking plane took control of the missile when technicians discovered a problem shortly after it headed over land. No injuries or property damage was reported.

Argentina ends emergency as extremist threat eases

The Argentine government lifted nationwide state of siege yesterday declared in October to combat an alleged effort by extreme rightists to undermine democratic rule. The Argentine Federal Appeals Court was expected to rule in the trial of nine former military leaders accused of kidnapping, torturing, and killing thousands of citizens. It is the first time Latin American military personnel have been tried in court for alleged human rights violations.

South African official warns of step-up against rioters

South African Defense Minister Magnus Malan, in a hard-line speech yesterday, warned rioters in black townships that they had not seen even a fraction of the government's firepower. Mr. Malan repeated the government's threat to raid neighboring countries in pursuit of guerrillas seeking to overthrow white rule in Pretoria.

He also ruled out talks with the African National Congress guerrilla group.

East and West Germany trade intelligence agents

East and West Germany exchanged a ``limited number'' of jailed intelligence agents last week, the chief Bonn government spokesman said yesterday. The spokesman refused to elaborate, but sources said one convicted Communist East German agent, G"unter Wiedemann, was released from a West German prison in exchange for two West German intelligence agents who were jailed in East Germany. They did not name the two West Germans.

Limit on police search among high court actions

The Supreme Court in several decisions yesterday: Let stand a ruling which prohibits police armed with a court warrant authorizing the search of private premises to search everyone found in those premises.

Agreed to consider giving the Commodity Futures Trading Commission broad power to settle disputes between commodity brokers and their customers.

Said it would referee a federal-state dispute over the setting of electric power rates that affect customers from more than one state.

Agreed to decide whether federal regulators must tighten their control over some poisons in food.

Israeli soldiers killed in fire in a barracks near Jordan

Eight soldiers died and seven others were injured early yesterday morning when fire engulfed an Army barracks near the Jordanian border, the military command announced. Investigators and trackers who searched the base said they found no signs of guerrilla infiltration, Israel Radio reported.

Foes of separate Bangladesh to be resettled in Pakistan

All 200,000 Urdu-speaking Muslims, known as Beharis, stranded in Bangladesh since opposing its 1971 war of independence are to be resettled in Pakistan, Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq said, but he gave no timetable for the move. About 160,000 Beharis have been accepted by Pakistan since Bangladeshi independence. But 200,000 others are still in 68 refugee camps across the country waiting for admission.

200,000 Ethiopians expected in Sudan after bad harvest

Sudanese officials expect another 200,000 Ethiopian refugees to flood across the border from Tigray after another poor harvest there. A military governor of Sudan's eastern region told reporters accompanying Britain's Princess Anne on a visit to Safawa camp, the home for earlier Tigrayan refugees, that the new influx from northern Ethiopia had already begun.

West Virginia flood victims get help in Reagan telethon

Actors, singers, and President Reagan joined to help a telethon raise almost $950,000 for victims of last month's floods. The telethon, which ran about five hours Saturday night and Sunday morning, was broadcast on every television station in the state and about 50 radio stations.

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