News In Brief

Britain has won two contracts for work on the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program, Pentagon officials said yesterday in announcing the first major awards given to foreign organizations since President Reagan launched the project more than three years ago. The largest award is a $9.9 million contract to the British Defense Ministry to study possible designs for using SDI technology against ballistic missiles in Europe.

Also reported yesterday was a plan by Air Force officials to build a new, mid-size rocket to lift military payloads grounded since the loss of the space shuttle Challenger.

Nuclear-free zone in Asia ill advised, Shultz says

Secretary of State George Shultz said yesterday that nuclear weapons are important elements in the US deterrent against the Soviet Union and that the creation of a nuclear-free zone in Asia would be a mistake. Mr. Shultz also said he planned to meet with New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange in Manila to discuss the recent move to ban visits by US Navy ships that might be carrying nuclear warheads, which has disrupted the Australia-New Zealand-US defense pact.

S. African black leader to meet British official

Oliver Tambo, president of the outlawedAfrican National Congress, has accepted an invitation to hold talks with an official of the British Foreign Office, the ANC announced yesterday. The British government, reversing a policy of refusing to talk to the ANC, announced Monday that it had invited Mr. Tambo to meet with Foreign Office minister Lynda Chalker this week while Tambo is in London.

Dominican chief ousts general over killings

Dominican Republic President Jorge Blanco dismissed his commanding general Tuesday following the deaths Monday of five people killed when troops opened fire on demonstrators protesting the outcome of the May 16 general elections, a presidential spokesman said.

It's official: US became debtor nation last year

The United States became the world's largest debtor country in 1985, the first time it has slipped into the status of a net debtor since the early part of the century, the Commerce Department reported yesterday. The US international investment position was a negative $107.4 billion at the end of the year. Foreigners now own more US investments than Americans have in foreign investments.

Protestant politicians ousted in Ulster sit-in

Yesterday police ejected 22 Protestant politicians who staged a 10-hour sit-in at the Northern Ireland Assembly to protest an order from the British government dissolving the legislature. The 78-member Assembly was established in 1982 to return responsibility for local government to the province in a way that would allow both Roman Catholics and Protestants to take part.

Court refuses clemency for Georgia murderer

The Supreme Court yesterday cleared the way by a 7-to-2 vote, and Jerome Bowden was executed after the court refused the appeal for a stay of execution for the convicted killer. Justices William J. Brennan Jr. and Thurgood Marshall dissented. Patricia Smith, president of the Association of Retarded Citizens in Georgia and one of Mr. Bowden's attorneys, questioned the validity of the review board's psychological evaluation of Bowden, conducted by a psychologist under contract to the board.

N. Korea rebuffed on call for 3-way defense talks

The US-led United Nations Command (UNC) yesterday rejected a North Korean proposal for three-way defense talks among North Korea, South Korea, and the UNC, saying there were already proper forums for such discussions. North Korea suspended talks early this year before the start of an annual US-South Korean military training exercise, charging that the maneuver was provocative and offensive.

House panel votes ouster for Nevada federal judge

A House panel recommended yesterday that imprisoned federal judge Harry E. Claiborne be removed from office because he falsified his tax returns. The Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts approved articles of impeachment against the chief US district judge for Nevada and sent them to the full House Judiciary Committee.

US, Italy sign pact to join in fight against terrorism

The United States and Italy signed an agreement yesterday to pool intelligence resources in the fight against international terrorism. The agreement, signed by US Attorney General Edwin Meese and Italian Interior Minister Oscar Luigi Scalfaro after two days of talks, extended a 1984 accord on collaboration against drug trafficking and organized crime to cover terrorism.

Disbarment of Roy Cohn on cheating clients

The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court disbarred flamboyant lawyer Roy M. Cohn on Monday for unethical conduct, ruling that he cheated clients and lied. Mr. Cohn has been one of New York's most influential lawyers since he gained prominence with his work for Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy 30 years ago.

Chinese operagoers swoon to Pavarotti

Opera star Luciano Pavarotti took Chinese opera fans by storm yesterday. Hundreds of cheering Chinese swarmed into the aisles waving hands and programs in the air as the tenor sang operatic arias and Italian folk songs before 2,700 people.

Beverly Hills shoot-out kills three hostages

Three hostages were killed and two wounded late Monday after a gunman held the five hostage in an exclusive jewelry store for 13 hours. Between 12 and 15 other customers in the Van Cleef & Arpels store at the time of the incident managed to escape.

Royal wedding hot line cools curious US callers

Callers from the Colonies trying to get through to a special London phone line for the latest on the royal wedding were thwarted yesterday when the American Telephone & Telegraph Company got its wires crossed. AT&T had set up a ``Royal Wedding Line'' on which the BBC's Buckingham Palace correspondent, Godfrey Talbot, presents tidbits about July 24 wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. The phone number, 011-44-81-LOVE-818, was widely printed and broadcast, but the telephone company did not anticipate the routing problem that developed because of the large number of calls.

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