News In Brief
Peking — China sentenced a US-educated Chinese student to two years in prison yesterday for posting allegedly ``reactionary'' antigovernment slogans last year and helping incite student protests for democracy. The one-day trial in Shanghai of the student, Yang Wei, flouts a US Senate amendment passed in October demanding Mr. Yang's immediate release on grounds he ``only aspires to freedom and democracy.''
Freighter with 55 aboard sinks in Indonesian storm
A freighter carrying logs northward to Borneo sank during a storm in the Java Sea and all 55 people aboard were missing and presumed dead, the country's official news agency said yesterday. An officer of Jakarta's Search and Rescue Center said the accident was caused by a leak in the freighter.
Iranian forces stage raids on land; toll reports vary
Iran said its forces killed or wounded 1,000 Iraqi troops yesterday in an ambush on Iraqi positions on the south-central fronts. The official news agency IRNA said Iranian forces also seized 12 square miles of Iranian territory from the Iraqis and beat back five Iraqi counterattacks.
Iraq said, however, that its forces killed more than 2,000 Iranians in the attack, and that only 15 Iraqis were killed.
Several killed as Shiites in Lebanon attack militia
Shiite Muslim guerrillas attacked Israeli-backed militiamen in south Lebanon yesterday, and 12 people were killed and 11 wounded, security said. In Sidon, thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese marched through the streets Sunday and vowed to step up the fight against Israel to avenge the clampdown on Arabs in the occupied territories.
Turkish Cabinet altered to tackle domestic issues
Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Ozal announced a new Cabinet yesterday to grapple with pressing economic and other domestic issues. He also enlarged the Cabinet's size to 25, adding two state ministerial posts. Mr. Ozal has made continued economic reform and Turkish entry to the European Community major goals of his new administration.
Egyptian chemical blast kills 6 at storage depot
An explosion at a military chemical depot yesterday started a fire and sent a cloud of smoke over a neighborhood in Alexandria. Authorities said six people were killed and about 450 injured.
Arab League official hit by a gunman in Athens
A gunman shot and wounded a senior Arab League diplomat in Athens yesterday, prompting the league to ask the Greek government to step up security measures for Arab diplomats. Midhat Nouri al-Hiyali, an Iraqi who is charg'e d'affaires of the Arab League mission in Athens, was driving to work when the unidentified gunman fired seven shots at him.
Navy Secretary increases jobs for women at sea
Navy Secretary James Webb, prodded by an internal study, yesterday increased the number of seagoing combat support jobs open to women and ordered a new crackdown on sexual harassment. Secretary Webb also strictly defined the Navy's use of the term ``combat missions,'' saying that unless a ship or aircraft has as its primary objective ``to seek out, reconnoiter, and engage the enemy,'' the jobs on that vessle should be open to women.
The new policy should almost triple the number of seagoing jobs open to women - to a new total of almost 15,000, he said.
1,500 missing in Philippine collision
Nearly 1,500 people were missing and thought to be drowned yesterday after a passenger ship packed with Christmas travelers collided with a Philippine oil tanker and sank in flames, shipping sources said. The oil-laden tanker also caught fire and went down after the collision Sunday night. Eight ships, including a passenger vessel that rescued 26 people, and three US Air Force helicopters reported seeing no other survivors. It may be one of the century's worst maritime disasters.
Some survivors told reporters that both ships had lights on when the accident occurred but that neither blew its horns in warning. Some others said the tanker may have struck the passenger vessel near the center.
The crash occurred off Mindoro island, 110 miles south of Manila, in a well-used shipping channel.
Overloading has been a problem in Philippine shipping for years. Shipping sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 1,490 people were listed as missing, but unofficial estimates ranged upward in the hundreds from 1,500.
Sandinistas downplay offensive
The Sandinista Army said yesterday it had repelled contra attacks on two mining towns in eastern Nicaragua but said fighting was continuing in a third. The rebels described the coordinated offensive Sunday as their largest operation ever, involving more than 7,000 men. A Sandinista Army spokeswoman also claimed two people had been killed and two injured Sunday when a Nicaraguan civilian plane crashed after being hit by a ground-to-air missile over Bonanza. She said, however that fighting continued only in Bonanza. The rebel claim to have seized airstrips in all three towns was also contradicted by a priest contacted by radio in Rosita.
Observers here believe the contras launched their attack, on the eve of cease-fire talks with the Sandinistas that opened yesterday in the Dominican Republic, in order to display their military capacity and strengthen their negotiating position.
In Washington, the Reagan administration praised the rebels for launching the attack.
For the record
Pacific Southwest Airlines denies it failed to act on two security violations warnings at the Los Angeles airport before a PSA jet crashed, thought to have been downed by a gunman intent on killing his former boss. An Air France plane crashed yesterday on its approach to Bordeaux airport and all 16 people aboard were killed, officials said.
Hungary announced yesterday it would participate in the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, the first Soviet-bloc ally to confirm it would take part.
The Arab mayor of Bethlehem said yesterday he was canceling the annual Christmas Eve reception following killings by Israeli troops in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
CorrectionCorrection for 12/21/87
On Monday, the Monitor reported that the proposed US aid package to the Nicaraguan contras totals $8.1 billion. It should have read $8.1 million.