News In Brief
President Corazon Aquino replaced her local-government minister yesterday, a dismissal that had been sought by the military, but retained him in her Cabinet as a special adviser on national affairs. In a nationally televised address, Mrs. Aquino said she was replacing the minister, Aquilino Pimentel, with businessman Jaime Ferrer. She said Mr. Pimentel had been appointed her adviser on national affairs with the rank of Cabinet minister. Aquino said further Cabinet changes would be announced later.
Several S. Africans held in new drive on activists
At least 13 anti-apartheid activists have been detained and restrictions imposed on 18 others in what appears to be a new government crackdown, unofficial reports said yesterday. Police took into custody 13 white members of the End Conscription Campaign, an antidraft group, in Cape Town and Johannesburg Tuesday, a campaign member said. Twelve other people from the group were given government restriction orders effectively barring them from working for the End Conscription Campaign, the group's spokesman said.
Six others, including the only executive committee member of the United Democratic Front coalition who was still operating openly, were issued similar restriction orders earlier Tuesday. The new government measures seem to target those involved in the United Democratic Front's ``Christmas Against the Emergency'' program Dec. 16-26, which includes calls for a boycott of white-owned stores.
Korean opposition plans all-day rallies for reform
The opposition New Korea Democratic Party said yesterday it will hold rallies across the country on Dec. 13 to push demands for constitutional reform. The announcement said it had not yet been determined whether Seoul would be included in the sites for party rallies. Some party leaders were said to have expressed caution because of the massive police action mounted to thwart an opposition rally in the capital last Saturday.
Shortly after the opposition statement, the ruling Democratic Justice Party issued a statement saying such opposition rallies would be blocked by force.
Spanish conservative makes way for new people
Spanish opposition leader Manuel Fraga Iribarne resigned Tuesday after a political career spanning dictatorship and democracy, saying the time had come for him to make place for new men in the Spanish right. An spokesman for Mr. Fraga's party, the Popular Alliance, said Fraga resigned as party president and leader of the main opposition Popular Coalition grouping. Fraga said he would serve out his four-year term in parliament but would not seek reelection.
His resignation followed a party rout in last Sunday's elections for a Basque regional parliament and brought to a head a crisis simmering in the right since it lost general elections to the Socialists in June.
5 Argentine ex-officers convicted in rights case
Five former officers were convicted Tuesday of violating human rights during the Argentine military's ``dirty war'' against leftists in the 1970s. They were given sentences ranging from four to 25 years. The Federal Criminal Court of Appeals imposed the 25-year sentence on retired Army Gen. Ram'on Camps. He ran the Buenos Aires provincial police department under the early period of military rule when at least 9,000 people disappeared and were presumed killed.
4,500 in reserves, guard slated for Honduran stint
In a move expected to draw protests from some state governors, the Pentagon said Tuesday it would send 4,500 National Guard and Army Reserve troops to Honduras for a new training exercise next year. The guard and reserve troops from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico will be rotated into Honduras between January and May for an engineering exercise with Honduran forces, the Pentagon said. No more than 600 of the US troops will be in Honduras at one time for the road-building and training exercise in the remote north central area of the country near Puente Grande, the Defense Department said.
US concedes that Presser was an informant for FBI
For the first time, the federal government is on record saying that Teamsters union President Jackie Presser was an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A Justice Department attorney, Richard M. Rogers, testified in a Federal District Court hearing that both Mr. Presser and Anthony Hughes, recording secretary of Cleveland Teamsters Local 507, had informed for the FBI.
Presser was indicted last May in Cleveland for paying ghost employees with funds of two local unions, Teamsters Local 507 and Bakery Workers Local 19.
Iran-contra update. CIA called Iran-to-rebels conduit
Millions of dollars diverted from Iranian arms sales to Nicaraguan contra rebels went through a Swiss bank account controlled by the Central Intelligence Agency and were used to handle covert assistance to the Afghan rebels, the Washington Post reported yesterday. The newspaper said that funds from the account, totaling $500 million deposited by the United States and Saudi Arabia, were used for the purchase of Chinese, Soviet, and other arms from dealers in countries such as Israel. The weapons were then sent to rebels in Afghanistan and Nicaragua. This would conflict the statement Nov. 25 by Attorney General Edwin Meese that the Swiss account was controlled by the contras, an assertion denied by guerrilla leaders. The New York Times reported that some of the money from the account may have also been diverted to insurgents in Angola.
In other developments yesterday:
Vice-President George Bush, conceding that the administration's ``credibility has been damaged,'' said he supported the secret arms sales to Iran but knew nothing of the fund diversions to the contras.
Senate majority leader Robert Dole (R) of Kansas said that convening an extraordinary session of Congress to launch a special Watergate-style committee to look into the affair was ``a very real possibility,'' but President Reagan would have to convene such a session over the objections of Democrats. Mr. Dole said he thought it was unlikely the committee would begin its formal inquiry before the start of the 100th Congress in January. Meanwhile, he said, Democratic and Republican Senate leaders might begin selecting staff aides for the panel.
White House spokesman Larry Speakes said President Reagan has not asked Donald Regan to resign as chief of staff, nor has Mr. Regan indicated he intends to step down. Mr. Speakes's comments came as House minority leader Robert Michel became the second Republican congressional leader in two days to suggest that Regan step down.
Congressional sources said members of the Senate Intelligence Committee were considering granting Lt. Col. Oliver North, the former National Security Council staff aide, immunity from prosecution for his testimony before the committee.