News In Brief

President Reagan said yesterday Soviet leader Gorbachev pledged during their summit meeting to withhold all military aid from Nicaragua's government in order to move forward with peace plans. Meanwhile, Nicaraguan President Ortega said yesterday a statement describing a government plan to build up the country's defense to 600,000 men referred to a reserve force, adding the Army would not exceed 80,000 troops.

Shultz calls for slash in superpowers' arsenals

US Secretary of State Shultz called yesterday for a 50 percent cut in the superpowers' strategic arsenal, but said the West will have to continue to rely on the nuclear deterrent. Secretary Shultz also told a news conference the Western allies had started an initiative to improve life in West Berlin.

Israeli troops in Gaza raid hospital as protests go on

Israeli soldiers stormed into Gaza City's main hospital yesterday during another day of protests in which at least one Arab youth was killed. Palestinian news reports said two other Arabs died yesterday and 15 were wounded in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip. Demonstrations also swept through major towns in the occupied West Bank.

The Arab League called an emergency session to assess the Israeli action.

Separately, top Israeli and US defense officials opened talks Monday aimed at setting new priorities for American military aid in the wake of Israel's agreement to cancel the Lavi jet fighter program.

Israeli troops and Arabs clash in south Lebanon

Israeli soldiers and Arab fighters battled in southern Lebanon yesterday, and Israel sent in an armored mechanized unit to rescue wounded troops, a Western diplomat in southern Lebanon said. The entrance into Lebanon of the Israeli mechanized unit sparked concerns about a possible Israeli invasion of south Lebanon, the diplomat said.

Suspect confesses guilt in '85 airport massacre

The only Palestinian commando to survive the Dec. 27, 1985, attack on a Rome airport told a court yesterday that he was guilty. Two defendants are being tried in absentia. One is Abu Nidal, who authorities say masterminded the act.

OPEC remains with $18 for oil, with Iraqi dissent

OPEC, with the single but significant dissent of Iraq, agreed Monday night to try to peg the price of oil at $18 a barrel for six more months. Iraq refused to accept its quota of 1.54 million barrels a day because it wants one equal to that of Iran, its Gulf war foe. Iran is allowed 2.369 million barrels.

The final accord was a trade-off between Iran, which wanted $20 a barrel to compensate for the slide in the US dollar, and a Saudi-led bloc which feared that higher prices would drive customers to alternative supplies.

Iranian warship fires on Greek tanker in Gulf

An Iranian frigate fired on a Greek tanker that failed to respond to a radio warning in the Gulf yesterday and sparked a massive blast that forced the crew to abandon ship, shipping sources said. They said the frigate warned the captain of the Ariadne three times that it would open fire unless he replied. The sources said there was no response to the warning.

Mayoral candidate killed in Philippines

A gunman yesterday killed Filipino mayoral candidate Valerio Layug, the Philippine military said. Mr. Layug was the second mayoral contender killed in the past week and the 22nd person to die in political violence since campaigning for the January elections started two weeks ago.

Iranian television shows Ayatollah meeting guests

Iranian television yesterday showed Ayatollah Khomeini receiving the families of war victims and Iraqi-held prisoners. The move appeared designed to refute reports he is seriously ill. The Ayatollah was shown seated in a chair on the balcony of his north Tehran home during the meeting. At the end of the meeting, Khomeini waved at the audience and walked into his house unaided.

Brazilian Air Force plane crashes in the Atlantic

A Brazilian Air Force Hercules transport plane with 29 people on board crashed into the Atlantic Ocean Monday night and no survivors have been found, an Air Ministry spokesman said yesterday. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

Sunbelt storm roars into the Midwest

A storm that socked Sunbelt cities with record snow howled over the Midwest yesterday, snarling highway and air traffic, after unleashing tornadoes across four Southern states. At least 15 deaths were blamed on the weather. Worst hit was West Memphis, Ark., where a tornado killed at least five people, injured dozens, and left about 4,500 people homeless.

Asian allies bolstered US on INF

China, Japan, and South Korea gave Washington essential support in persuading Moscow to scrap its medium-range nuclear missiles in Asia, a senior US arms negotiator said yesterday. And Washington expects to muster another concerted diplomatic effort in coming negotiations with Moscow over long-range nuclear arms reductions, said Edward Rowny, a special adviser for arms control, at a press conference. ``Without the help of our Asian allies we could not have achieved the `global zero' result of the INF treaty,'' he said.

``We're continuing to consult with them [the Asian powers] and looking for their support and have every reason to believe we will get it'' in talks next year with the Soviet Union over reducing intercontinental ballistic missiles, he said.

Asian powers have overwhelmingly backed the accord, with some strongly urging Moscow to dispose of its 630 warheads aimed at the region. Diplomats from China, Japan, and South Korea proved invaluable in persuading the Soviets to accept the ``global zero'' concept and go beyond their proposal after the Reykjavik meeting to merely cut back to 100 SS-20s missiles in Asia, Mr. Rowny said.

Moreover, the strong diplomatic support bolstered the weaker position of the US in negotiations on Asia, helping it to persuade the Soviets to drop a demand for a quid pro quo and relinquish its monopoly on medium-range missiles in the region, Rowny said.

For the record

US Supreme Court nominee Anthony Kennedy defended his commitment to equality for women, minorities, and union members yesterday as he faced tougher questioning in his second day of confirmation hearings. Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite, one of four kidnapped college educators, and all three remaining French hostages soon will be freed, the Sunni Muslim newspaper Al-Liwaa reported yesterday.

The US foreign trade deficit rose 5.3 percent to a record $43.4 billion from July through September.

The dollar closed at 126.95 yen yesterday - a record low against the Japanese yen.

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