News In Brief

President Daniel Ortega returned from Moscow yesterday and said he had promises of continued Soviet aid to help fight the US-backed contras. Meanwhile, President Ortega was set to announce new moves toward peace in a speech set for last night, the first deadline of a peace plan to end the contra insurgency.

Separately, President Jos'e Napoleon Duarte announced yesterday El Salvador would observe a unilateral ceasefire in the war against rebels.

Filipino police arrest 24 in campus hunt for rebels

In the crackdown on communist rebels, police yesterday raided a university campus in Manila and arrested 24 refugees staying there. Meanwhile, communist rebels seized 100 workers in a raid on a Philippine logging farm and demanded $25,000 for their freedom, the military said yesterday.

And President Aquino has said there will be a corruption investigation against her sister-in-law.

Ballots for Haitian voting reported burned at plant

Arsonists yesterday destroyed the printing company preparing ballots for Haiti's presidential election later this month, radio stations said. The violence began after the Provisional Electoral Council announced it had rejected 12 of 35 candidates for polls on Nov. 29, including five former Cabinet ministers from the Duvalier era.

Rep. Biaggi gets 2 years for accepting vacations

US Rep. Mario Biaggi was sentenced yesterday to 2 years in jail and was fined $500,000 for illegally accepting free vacations from a political ally. US District Judge Jack Weinstein, however, stayed the sentence pending appeal. He said the crimes were ``bred in greed and arrogance,'' but he took into consideration Mr. Biaggi's years in public service, his health problems, and the hundreds of letters received supporting Biaggi.

Weinberger resignation and succession announced

President Reagan yesterday announced the resignation of Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and named national-security adviser Frank Carlucci as his successor. President Reagan also promoted Army Lt. Gen. Colin Powell to succeed Mr. Carlucci.

Sri Lankan village gives Indian troops stiff fight

Indian troops met fierce resistance from Tamil rebels yesterday as they surrounded the fishing village of Valvedditturai, hometown of the rebels' leader, Sri Lankan military officials said. The Indian troops also killed 12 guerrillas and captured 150 in their drive to disarm Tamil separatists, state radio said yesterday.

Meanwhile, President Junius Jayewardene began a three day visit to New Delhi, where he met yesterday with Prime Minister Gandhi.

Left rebels, Shiite militia plan Lebanese camp truce

The Marxist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Shiite Muslim militia Amal have agreed on a plan to end their 2-year-old refugee camp war, the guerrilla group said yesterday. Meanwhile, strikers in Beirut paralyzed the Lebanese capital yesterday to protest 12 years of civil war, crippling inflation, and the government's failure to bring peace.

Seoul premier rejects call for vote-watching panel

South Korean Prime Minister Kim Chung Yul rejected yesterday opposition demands for a caretaker cabinet to supervise December's presidential election in South Korea, saying the government would guarantee a fair poll. Meanwhile, South Korean police yesterday battled antigovernment students and arrested at least 30 protesters trying to disrupt a campaign rally by government presidential candidate Roh Tae Woo.

Interest rates fall in US and abroad

Interest rates around the world began dropping yesterday as central bankers acted in concert to stabilize the world stock and bond markets. White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater praised the rate reductions, calling them ``a helpful course of action.''

West Germany made the first move when the Bundesbank, the German central bank, lowered a key lending rate from 5 percent to 4 percent. The German move, which pleased the US Treasury, followed a -point reduction Wednesday in British base lending rates to 9 percent.

Major US banks reacted immediately, dropping their prime lending rate from 9 percent to 8 percent. The rate cut mainly affects home equity and other consumer loans, which are tied to the prime rate. It has less impact on business, which can borrow less expensively elsewhere.

The falling rates helped Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average was up 48.6 points to 1,993.87 at 2:30 p.m. In bond markets, lower rates and expectations of slower economic growth helped lower long-term interest rates. Ten-year Treasury bill rates fell from 9.07 percent to 8.74 percent in morning trading in New York.

The falling interest rates did not help to stabilize the US dollar, which hit record lows against the Japanese yen and West German mark in early foreign exchange trading (Japan worries about its exports as dollar falls, Page 11).

Many traders say they believe the dollar is overvalued. Only the support of the central bankers has kept the dollar stable. Now, the central banks are too busy trying to prevent a world-wide recession to defend the dollar.

South Africa frees a black nationalist

South Africa yesterday released Govan Mbeki, a former national chairman of the banned African National Congress who had spent more than two decades in prison. Mr. Mbeki, one of the nation's most prominent black leaders, was among eight ANC members, including Nelson Mandela, who received life sentences after sabotage convictions in 1964.

Mbeki, whose release is likely to heighten speculation about Mr. Mandela's possible release, was taken from the Robben Island prison off Cape Town and thought to have been put on a plane bound for the southern city of Port Elizabeth, near his family's home.

Mbeki is the second of the eight defendants - but the first black - convicted in the 1964 sabotage trial to be freed. The government also released six other men jailed for politically motivated crimes.

For the record

Spain and the US resumed talks yesterday on reducing US forces in Spain with knowledge that Madrid is determined to revoke the current defense agreement between the two countries. Uganda said Wednesday 10,000 guerrillas have surrendered under a three-month-old amnesty and announced it is extending the offer until December.

Papua New Guinea announced yesterday that it had decided to recognize Fiji's military government, headed by Col. Sitiveni Rabuka, the coup leader.

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