News In Brief

Nicaraguan Interior Minister Tom'as Borge said Sunday the Sandinista government would push for peace in 1988 even if US-backed contra rebels step up fighting. Mr. Borge's speech was seen here as a signal to the US Congress that the Nicaraguan government was committed to the August 1987 peace plan signed by five Central American presidents.

Borge is one of the most influential of the nine Sandinista leaders and considered one of the most hard line. There had been skepticism over his commitment to the plan.

Caribbean summit called to discuss Haiti vote

Trinidad and Tobago called for an emergency summit yesterday of the 13-nation Caribbean Community to discuss possible joint initiatives regarding Haiti's general elections next month. External Affairs Minister Basdeo Panday said Trinidad sought the meeting in the first week of January in advance of the Jan. 17 elections.

Tunisia and Libya restore diplomatic ties

Tunisia and Libya restored diplomatic relations which were broken off more than two years ago, the official news agency TAP said yesterday. Consular relations between the two countries were resumed in October, when Libya agreed to pay indemnification more than 30,000 Tunisian workers it had expelled in 1985.

Gary Hart campaign gets $100,000 matching funds

Gary Hart's reborn campaign for the White House won approval yesterday for $100,000 in federal matching money, the first installment of what could be nearly $1 million from the US Treasury. The Federal Election Commission voted 6-0 to certify the Democratic presidential hopeful as eligible for matching funds, based on money he raised last spring before dropping out of the race the first time.

Eligibility for matching funds is one criterion used in some states in deciding which candidates are listed on the primary ballots.

Spain police investigate Mideast link to bombing

A witness heard a terrorist shout ``Long Live Lebanon'' before lobbing two hand grenades into a USO club, police said yesterday. A US sailor was killed and nine others wounded in the Barcelona attack Saturday. Witnesses described the assailant as young and dark-skinned with curly hair, according to a police official. The Barcelona daily La Vanguardia reported that police were investigating the possibility that he belongs to an Islamic terrorist group.

Soviet and Afghan claims on heavy fighting conflict

The Soviet news agency Tass claimed Monday ``at least one American adviser'' had been killed in Afghanistan during fighting between Afghan government troops and Muslim guerrillas around the southeastern garrison town of Khost. At press time, the report could not be verified. The US has not reported sending any American advisers inside Afghanistan. In Pakistan, the anti-Soviet guerrillas said Sunday they had trapped up to 1,500 Soviet paratroopers and 20,000 Afghan soldiers in the city of Khost.

S. Korean oppositionist blames self for losing vote

Opposition leader Kim Young Sam yesterday blamed himself for losing the presidential election, and said he will seek a vote of confidence on whether to resign as head of the main opposition party. The leader of the Reunification Democratic Party said a special party convention would be held next week on the opposition's defeat in the Dec. 16 presidential election.

Philippines postpones vote in two provinces

The Commission on Elections yesterday postponed next month's regional elections in two southern provinces after the military warned of possible violence during the balloting. Elsewhere, gunmen killed Sergio Biolango, a candidate running on the Aquino administration ticket, in the latest incident of violence related to the Jan. 18 elections for local officials.

US pressure leads Japan to buy less Iranian oil

Japan plans to slash the amount of oil it buys from Iran under long-term contracts after coming under heavy US pressure to join a full-scale embargo against Tehran, oil industry sources said yesterday. Acting on advice from the powerful International Trade and Industry Ministry, Japanese refiners and traders have decided to reduce their daily purchases of Iranian oil by about 30 percent from close to 300,000 barrels per day in 1987.

Iran claims it set ablaze an Iraqi munitions ship

Iran said yesterday it shelled and set ablaze a large Iraqi munitions ship in the northern Persian Gulf. The national news agency said the vessel was hit near Iraq's al-Amaya terminal 15 miles south of the Shatt al-Arab border between the two warring states.

Separately, Kuwait yesterday laid its grievances against Iran before a Gulf Cooperation Council conference of Arab leaders from the Gulf, conference sources said.

Social security tax rate going up in New Year

The social security payroll tax rate is going up on New Year's Day for the 13th time in the past quarter-century as workers pay a price for the 1983 bailout of the retirement program. This latest rate increase will boost the tax to 7.51 percent from 7.15 percent. It means employees will pay an extra $36 to social security from each $10,000 they earn.

Congress voted in 1977 during an earlier pension crisis to raise the tax to 7.65 percent in 1990. Originally, no tax increase was scheduled for 1988, but the lawmakers changed that in 1983.

Snow, flooding pummel America's midsection

A slow-moving snowstorm that paralyzed Denver and stranded holiday travelers headed east yesterday. The storm whipped the Midwest with snow, while continued flooding kept thousands of Arkansas and Tennessee residents from their homes. Up to 34 inches of snow were dumped Sunday in the foothills on the western edge of the Plains, shutting Denver's airport for the first time since 1983 and closing interstate highways in Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado.

Release sought for pilot in Red Square landing

Bavarian premier Franz-Josef Strauss left for Moscow yesterday to make a plea for the release of teenage West German pilot Mathias Rust who landed a plane near Red Square last May. The Bavarian Chancellery said the self-styled diplomat and right-wing pilot flew off with leading members of his Christian Social Union (CSU) party for three days of talks with Kremlin leaders.

For the record

Vietnam is allowing 382 children to leave for the US Friday as part of a resumed emigration program, a US Embassy spokesman in Bangkok said yesterday. An investigation was launched into why the fuselage of an Eastern Airlines DC-9 carrying 104 people cracked open when it made a hard landing in Pensacola, Fla., Sunday.

Chile's military government Sunday accused the Reagan administration of intruding in Chile's internal affairs by suspending duty-free status for some Chilean imports.

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