News In Brief

The space shuttle Columbia and her seven-member crew finally made it into orbit yesterday morning, after seven postponements. During a five-day mission, the astronauts are to release an RCA communications satellite, perform more than a dozen experiments, and make the first extensive observations from space of Halley's comet.

Nakasone visits Canada to strengthen economic ties

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone will seek to strengthen economic links with Canada on a four-day official visit which begins today, amid deep concern in Tokyo over rising protectionist sentiment in North America. Mr. Nakasone will hold extensive trade talks with his Canadian counterpart Brian Mulroney during stops in Toronto and Ottawa before traveling to Vancouver.

Current fiscal-year deficit likely to shatter '85 record

The federal government's Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office have determined that the federal deficit this fiscal year will likely shatter last year's record, the Washington Post reported yesterday. The government's new deficit estimate, to be formally announced on Wednesday, could be nearly $220 billion, the newspaper said. The deficit for fiscal 1985, the highest in history, was $212 billion.

Standoff simmers between coca growers, drug officers

A standoff between an estimated 17,000 coca leaf farmers and 245 government narcotics officers was slowly dying down Saturday, officials said. Washington's adviser to the US-financed narcotics unit said fewer than 100 growers still surrounded the elite ``Leopards'' police camp, although roads to the camp remained blocked and farming leaders threatened violence if the police did not leave the area.

The officers have been trapped since Tuesday in their remote camp by coca farmers angered by the government campaign to disrupt cocaine production.

Louisiana governor, three others to face retrial

The government will seek to retry Gov. Edwin Edwards, his brother, and three other people on federal racketeering and fraud charges stemming from a $10 million hospital investment scheme, a prosecutor said Saturday. The first trial ended in December with three defendants freed for lack of evidence, and a mistrial declared for Edwards and the other four.

US denies Libya shot down missing aircraft

The Defense Department said yesterday that a carrier-based American plane was missing in the Mediterranean but denied reports from the Middle East that Libyan antiaircraft fire shot the plane down. The FA-18 aircraft from the USS Coral Sea, with one man on board, disappeared during a routine training mission on Wednesday, a Defense Department spokesman said.

The spokesman called a Kuwaiti News Agency report that Libyan antiaircraft missiles shot down the aircraft ``totally without foundation.''

Riot at Indiana reformatory brought to halt quickly

One prisoner was killed (apparently by fellow inmates) and 19 other people, including five guards, were injured when inmates took over a cellblock and a gymnasium Saturday night at the Indiana State Reformatory. Reformatory officials subdued the disturbance, the second here in less than a year, within two hours, officials said. Inmates in the maximum-security prison issued no demands, and officials did not immediately cite a cause for the uprising.

Texaco gets its first good news in Pennzoil case

Oil giant Texaco won a major tactical victory in its landmark court fight with Pennzoil when a federal judge ruled Texaco did not have to post a crippling $11.1 billion bond. Federal Judge Charles Brieant extended a Dec. 20 order barring Pennzoil from placing liens on Texaco assets so long as Texaco posts a $1 billion bond within 20 days .

Polish police capture Solidarity leader

Police in Gdansk have captured Bogdan Borusewicz, one of the three most senior underground leaders of the outlawed Solidarity movement who had been on the run since the government imposed martial law and crushed the trade union in 1981. No charges have been filed against him.

Lech Walesa, leader of the outlawed trade union, condemned the communist authorities for using force and repression, and described Mr. Borusewicz as one of Poland's outstanding fighters for the cause of Solidarity.

Gambino crime family reportedly picks new leader

The Gambino organized-crime family has replaced its former leader, Paul Castellano, who was slain last month, with John Gotti, who has been convicted of manslaughter and accused of racketeering, according to a report published Sunday in The New York Times.

Adventurers reach S. Pole, now must find way home

Three Britons retracing the 833-mile antarctic journey of explorer Robert F. Scott reached the South Pole on Saturday, but the ship which was sent to take them home sunk after being crushed by ice, the expedition's London organizer said. The ship's crew was rescued by a US helicopter, and a plane will ferry the expedition members back to their basecamp.

Scandinavia and the Netherlands on alert after warning on terrorism

Interpol's warning that the renegade Abu Nidal faction has targeted Jewish and Israeli institutions in Scandinavia and the Netherlands has sent security forces into high alert, police and government sources said Saturday. Interpol is the Paris-based international police organization. World response to President Reagan's Jan. 7 call for measures against Libya's Muammar Qad-dafi regime has been mixed.

Only Canada and Italy have joined the United States in imposing sanctions against Libya.

Most European governments have ruled out economic sanctions. They say sanctions would damage their economies at a time of high unemployment without changing Libya's behavior.

European Community foreign ministers plan a special meeting Jan. 21 to discuss the US's embargo call, but the EC president said it was ``highly unlikely'' that the response would be positive.

A trade mission in which 14 companies from Belgium and Luxembourg are representated will go ahead with a planned visit to Libya starting Jan. 30.

Britain and West Germany have ruled out economic sanctions. But West Germany said that its companies must not profit from US economic sanctions by taking over contracts that US companies are forced to give up.

Greece said that it proceed with negotiations to sell Libya a Greek-built antiaircraft system.

Sweden's foreign minister said Friday his country would not take any action.

The US hinted Friday that there was a possibility it might impose economic sanctions against Syria if Syria's support for the Abu Nidal Palestinian group could be traced to future terrorist actions. But US said that there were no active plans at this time.

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