News In Brief

The four member states of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council that still do not have full relations with Egypt have agreed to restore ties soon, a senior Gulf Arab minister said yesterday. The UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Rashid Abdullah al-Nuaimi, said after talks with President Hosni Mubarak here Thursday that all GCC states would normalize ties soon.

Sikh attacks kill seven in Punjab State

Sikh extremists killed seven people in shooting attacks in Punjab State, police said Wednesday. In London, one of the leaders of a Sikh sect was killed and three other men injured when assailants opened fire at a religious meeting Wednesday night, police reported.

Antigovernment protests continue in Bangladesh

Protesters killed two policemen with grenades and paramilitary police killed two protesters in continuing antigovernment riots here yesterday, witnesses said. Meanwhile, police said about 60 people were injured and 33 arrested as protesters showed their anger over the house arrest Wednesday of their leaders Sheikha Hasina and Begum Khaleda Zia.

Castro said willing to pull advisers from Nicaragua

Cuban President Fidel Castro says Cuba is ready to pull its military advisers out of Nicaragua if the Sandinistas request it, the Swedish foreign minister said Wednesday. Foreign Minister Sven Andersson said Dr. Castro also said that Cuba supports the Central American peace treaty and backs Nicaragua's call for talks with the contras through a mediator.

Peru's Garc'ia calls rebels to halt violence in jungle

Peruvian President Alan Garc'ia Wednesday called on leftist rebels who have extended their insurgency to Peru's northeast jungle to lay down their arms. President Garc'ia said his government imposed 60 days of emergency rule in seven jungle provinces and extended it in three others Wednesday to ``defend social values and democracy.''

Sri Lanka approves say for Tamils at local level

Amid widespread protests, Sri Lanka's Parliament yesterday approved two bills to establish provincial councils giving minority Tamils greater say in local government. Meanwhile, a land mine planted by Tamil rebels blew up a bus in northwestern Sri Lanka, killing all 25 people aboard, a military official said. All the victims were Tamils.

El Salvador releases 150 political prisoners

One hundred thirty-nine men and 11 women were freed from prison Wednesday in El Salvador under an amnesty for political prisoners that is part of a regional peace plan.

Nicaraguan talks to be held in US

The Nicaraguan church primate, Miguel Cardinal Obando y Bravo, flew to Washington yesterday to begin mediating a cease-fire between Nicaragua's government and US-backed contras, a Roman Catholic Church spokeswoman said. Nicaragua's bishops gave the go-ahead late Wednesday for the cardinal, a staunch critic of Managua, to act as middleman in the first peace talks between the two sides since fighting began in 1982.

The spokeswoman did not rule out a separate meeting in Washington between Cardinal Obando y Bravo and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. Mr. Ortega was in Washington for a meeting of the Organization of American States, which he addressed Wednesday.

In his speech, Ortega said he was ready to comply 100 percent with the Central American peace plan. He also insisted on talks with Washington and suggested a three-way dialogue with the White House, Nicaragua, and the contras. Washington refused the proposal but has offered to meet Nicaragua's foreign minister jointly with other regional foreign ministers, once mediated government-rebel negotiations begin. Ortega has made it clear that the mediator would be used to ferry messages between the two sides.

Ortega said yesterday that President Reagan broke a promise he made in August to open direct peace talks with the Sandinistas.

For the record

Switzerland yesterday expelled three Libyans on grounds they were involved in a plot to assassinate Libyan dissidents and other foreigners. Michael Deaver's perjury trial was postponed yesterday until next Wednesday so the former presidential aide can undergo surgery.

``Irises,'' a masterpiece by Vincent van Gogh, has been bought for $53.9 million, becoming the most expensive painting ever sold at an auction.

Eastern Airlines began a layoff yesterday of 9 percent of its 38,000 employees to help offset the carrier's mounting losses.

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