News In Brief

Sri Lankan and Indian leaders held three rounds of talks over the weekend in an intensive search for a solution to Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict. Sri Lankan President Junius Jayewardene and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi were scheduled to hold a fourth meeting last night, diplomatic and official sources said. Leaders of the Tamil ethnic minority joined the talks yesterday, officials added.

The main issue dividing the Sinhalese government and the Tamils was a Tamil demand for a merger of Sri Lanka's Tamil-dominated Northern Province with the Tamil-minority Eastern Province, the officials said. Guerrillas are fighting for an independent Tamil state on the island. Tamils comprise 13 percent of Sri Lanka's 15 million people.

Japanese businessman kidnapped in Philippines

Military and police units continued to search for a Japanese business executive kidnapped by gunmen over the weekend. Police said yesterday they had no suspects and had not yet received any demands from the kidnappers of Nobuyuki Wakaoji, general manager of Mitsui in the Philippines.

Mr. Nobuyuki was abducted Saturday afternoon by heavily armed men after playing golf at a club 30 miles south of Manila, security officers said.

The kidnapping followed Philippine President Corazon Aquino's return Thursday from a four-day business trip to Japan.

Israel bombs bases in southern Lebanon

A squadron of Israeli warplanes attacked three Palestinian guerrilla bases near south Lebanon's port city of Sidon yesterday, destroying a command post and wounding at least three people, police reported. The attack came a day after an Israeli seminary student was killed in Jerusalem. The raid was Israel's 14th air attack in Lebanon this year.

Sarney's party seems set for landslide in Brazil

President Jos'e Sarney's Democratic Movement Party appears to have won a landslide victory in Saturday's national elections, according to early returns yesterday. The party looked poised to win at least 19 of the 23 state governorships, as well as majorities in both houses of the national legislature. Opinion polls said the other four governorships could go to Mr. Sarney's party, to the right-wing Social Democrats, or to the Liberal Front, a breakaway group of Social Democrats.

The national election was the first since Brazil returned to democracy in 1985 after 21 years of military rule. Stakes in the election were high, in part because the new National Congress will rewrite Brazil's Constitution. Electoral board officials reported a large turnout among the 69 million eligible voters.

Workers finish `tomb' around Chernobyl reactor

Soviet workers have completed the concrete encasement around the stricken Chernobyl nuclear reactor, the Communist Party daily Pravda said Saturday. Designed to contain radiation from the reactor core, the 195-foot-high ``tomb'' was begun after the April 26 fire and explosion at the Chernobyl reactor complex. Two of the four reactors have since been brought back into operation; a third is undergoing extensive repairs.

Irish pact's anniversary marred by riots in Belfast

Rioting broke out in Belfast Saturday at a Protestant rally called to show defiance of the year-old Anglo-Irish accord. Officials said more than 44 police men and 27 civilians were wounded in the weekend violence.Two people were killed, and looting was reported to be widespread.

The Anglo-Irish agreement gives the Irish government a consultative voice in running the province of Northern Ireland.

Reagan gives Thatcher assurances on arms cuts

President Reagan assured British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that any cuts in nuclear arms would be balanced by reductions in Soviet conventional forces and that Britain would have an effective nuclear deterrent. A joint statement released Saturday after a day of talks at Camp David said Mrs. Thatcher had been reassured on these issues.

Thatcher came to Washington to voice her concerns that the American Trident missile system that she had ordered to replace Britain's Polaris missile might be dismantled under new arms controls agreements.

Earthquakes in Taiwan raise questions of safety

A pair of quakes leveled homes and jarred office buildings in Taiwan Saturday, and raised questions about construction safety standards. Rescuers, using bulldozers and dogs, searched for survivors. At least 12 people were killed. Weather bureau officials in Taiwan said the quakes were felt throughout the island, but that Chungho, a Taipei suburb, and Hualien, a resort city 180 miles southeast of the capital, were the hardest hit. The two quakes measured 6.8 and 6.3 on the Richter scale.

Meanwhile, the China Post newspaper reported that 68 percent of Taipei's government buildings failed to meet official safety standards and hinted at corruption among government officials and building companies.

Kirkpatrick tapped for contra-aid commission

Jeane Kirkpatrick, former US ambassador to the UN, was appointed Saturday to a congressional commission to monitor US military aid to contra rebels fighting to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. Outgoing Senate majority leader Robert Dole (R) of Kansas, who made the appointment, praised Mrs. Kirkpatrick for her ``intellectual capabilities and foreign affairs credentials.'' The commission was established at the same time Congress approved the Reagan administration's request for $100 million in aid to the contras.

The three other commission members are Edward King, a former Army colonel; Kirk O'Donnell, former general counsel to House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill, and the Rev. Ira Gallaway, a Methodist minister from Peoria, Ill. The panelists will select a fifth member, who will serve as chairman.

US troops end Bolivian anticocaine assignment

The last of a group of US soldiers sent here in July to help in a crackdown on cocaine trafficking left Bolivia Saturday. The soldiers provided logistical support to Bolivian antidrug agents in raiding cocaine-processing laboratories in the tropical flatlands of the northern Beni region. US officials said the crackdown would continue with US-trained Bolivians replacing the Americans.

China's largest money market opens

China's largest money market has opened Saturday in the northern city of Taiyuan, the offical Xinhua News Agency said yesterday. As part of a program to modernize its economy, China has moved to establish monetary markets to finance enterprises with private savings. The government recently set up a stock market in Shanghai and a bond market in Shenyang.

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