News In Brief

There were conflicting reports from China yesterday on the number of casualties resulting from Sunday's earthquake. The quake, measuring 7.6 on the open-ended Richter scale, was centered in sparsely populated Yunan Province, along the Burmese border. The official New China News Agency put the death toll at 37. It said that more than more than 100 people were injured and over 70 percent of homes at the epicenter destroyed. Other unconfirmed reports placed the number of casualties as high as 600.

On Saturday, a quake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale shook northern Tibet and Qinghai Province, in far western China.

Palestinian kills soldier and is shot by Israeli

A Palestinian worker angry over unpaid wages killed a soldier on guard duty at a Jewish settlement yesterday and an Israeli farmer shot and killed the assailant, witnesses reported. The incident occurred at the Massua cooperative farm 26 miles northeast of Jerusalem. The Arab attacker was among about 100 seasonal laborers working there.

Separately, a woman shot and wounded Gen. Antoine Lahd yesterday, head of the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army, in the Lebanese town of Marjayoun, Israeli television reported.

Typhoon Skip lashes Philippine Islands

Typhoon Skip lashed central Philippine islands yesterday with 108 m.p.h. winds and torrential rains. Storm warnings were posted in Manila. Mud slides and flooding from heavy downpours that preceded the storm forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. Storm warnings were announced for Samar, Leyte, Mindanao, and other islands in the central Visayas chain.

There were few reports of damage or casualties from Skip because of poor communications with affected areas.

Official Polish media attack Lech Walesa

The official media launched an attack on Lech Walesa yesterday in response to the Solidarity leader's threat of strikes. An editorial in the Communist Party daily Trybuna Ludu criticized Mr. Walesa for threatening to hold strikes unless authorities suspended the decision to close the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk.

The commentary was unusual, because the official press had recently avoided criticizing Walesa by name while the government and the opposition prepared talks on Poland's future.

British civil servants strike over firings

Tens of thousands of civil servants in government offices, ports, and prisons went on strike yesterday to protest the firing of union workers at Britain's intelligence-gathering headquarters. A spokesman for the Council of Civil Service Unions, an umbrella body for eight such unions, estimated that 200,000 workers took part in the one-day walkout.

Dozens of rallies were held to protest the recent firings of five men at the Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham. The five men have been fired for defying a 1984 ban on unions at the facility.

Poisoning is suspected in Haitian officer's death

A once-powerful Haitian Army colonel indicted in the US on cocaine trafficking charges died Sunday of suspected poisoning at his home here, a police spokesman said yesterday. Col. Jean-Claude Paul died Sunday after eating soup at home in the suburb of Laboule, radio stations reported. Colonel Paul was indicted by a Florida grand jury in March 1988. He was alleged to have allowed one of his personal airstrips in Haiti to be used to ferry Colombian cocaine to the US.

Supreme Court rules on housing segregation

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Huntington, N.Y., officials reinforced racial segregation by confining housing for low-income families to a predominantly non-white urban-renewal area. By a 6-to-3 vote without hearing arguments, the justices upheld a ruling that could make it easier to use a federal civil rights law to challenge community zoning ordinances that limit low-cost housing.

A federal appeals court said statistical studies showing a zoning ordinance's discriminatory effects, even if unintentional, could establish a violation of the housing provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

In another development, the Supreme Court refused yesterday to reinstate an unusual racial quota system designed to prevent ``white flight'' from a housing development in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Pillsbury says it will spin off Burger King

Pillsbury Company, which is fending off a hostile $5.23 billion takeover bid from a large British conglomerate, announced yesterday that it will spin off its troubled Burger King subsidiary. Under a plan approved by Pillsbury's board of directors, the fast-food chain would be spun off to its shareholders as a separate public company.

Pillsbury said it would distribute one share of Burger King common stock for each outstanding share of Pillsbury common stock, payable on Jan. 27 or earlier for shareholders of record Dec. 2.

Red Square parade takes a warmer turn toward US

Fewer tanks and missiles, no icon-like portraits of the ruling Politburo, and warmer Soviet-American relations marked the Red Square parade celebrating the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution yesterday. Western envoys including US charg'e d'affaires John Joyce attended the festivities for the first time since the 1979 Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

The speech by Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov endorsed cooperation with the West to preserve peace and solve world problems.

Talks on Angola to resume Friday

The latest round of peace talks on Angola and Namibia will begin Friday in Geneva, the US diplomatic mission said yesterday. The mission said in a statement that consultations between officials of Angola and Cuba on the one hand and South Africa on the other would last three days, with US Assistant Secretary of State Chester Crocker acting as mediator.

The negotiations link a Cuban pullout from Angola with independence for Namibia, which is ruled by Pretoria in defiance of the United Nations.

French voters approve plan for New Caledonia

French voters have approved a program to grant more autonomy to New Caledonia and permit an independence referendum in 1998 on the South Pacific territory, but turnout was light and many white islanders voted no. The government of Socialist Premier Michel Rocard is hoping the statute, which passed Sunday, will buy 10 years of peace in the islands, which have suffered from intercommunal violence.

For the record

A Paris-bound express train struck a maintenance car yesterday in a village station in northeastern France, derailing the locomotive and nine passenger cars and killing nine people, officials said. A federal appeals court on Sunday allowed California county election officials to use a law limiting people to 10 minutes in a voting booth, saying there was no evidence it would be strictly enforced.

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