News In Brief

Israel's Supreme Court criticized the Army yesterday for overcrowded conditions at the Ketziot tent prison and for failing to expedite judicial review for 1,500 detainees jailed there without trial. But the three-judge panel rejected an appeal for release by 14 detainees, only five of whom are still held.

The court upheld the Army's right to imprison Palestinians from the occupied territories in Israel despite Geneva conventions against transferring prisoners across borders.

Philippine storm sweeps out to sea; toll put at 19

Typhoon Skip roared into the South China Sea yesterday after killing at least 19 people and forcing thousands to flee their homes. Skip's center passed about 100 miles south of Manila, sparing the capital from the high winds and flooding that Typhoon Ruby brought two weeks ago.

But officials said Skip triggered tornadoes, landslides, and widespread flooding across part of the country's midsection.

US doubtful about exit from Cambodia by Viets

The US is doubtful that Vietnam will keep its promise to pull 50,000 troops out of Cambodia this year, and the Soviet Union has refused to press its Vietnamese allies for a detailed withdrawal timetable, the State Department said yesterday. Spokesman Charles Redman said Assistant Secretary of State Gaston Sigur and Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Rogachev discussed the matter last week. The two met in Paris to discuss the Cambodian situation and North and South Korea, he said.

North Korea unveils reunification plan

North Korea unveiled a plan yesterday for reunifying the Korean Peninsula and said it would send letters to the US and South Korea about the proposal. The North Korean Central News Agency published a communiqu'e proposing a phased withdrawal of US forces from South Korea, arms cuts by North and South, and an easing of political and military confrontation between the two.

USSR says it will free 11 prisoners by 1991

The Soviet Union will release 11 detainees regarded by the West as political prisoners within three years, Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady Gerasimov said yesterday. The announcement was made at a conference attended by public relations experts from East and West, and is the first indication given by a Soviet official of when prisoners might be released.

Hostages from Maldives reunited with families

Eight survivors of a violent hostage drama on the high seas that followed a failed coup returned to the Maldives yesterday and were reunited with their families. In addition to the hostages, the Indian frigate Godavari brought back 65 mercenaries and two Maldivians to stand trial.

A freighter was seized by the Sri Lankan mercenaries Friday to escape Male when their coup attempt failed. The bodies of four hostages were found on the freighter. Officials said three or possibly four hostages were missing.

Leftists say they tried to kill Lebanese official

The pro-Syrian Lebanese Communist Party claimed responsibility yesterday for an attempt to assassinate the commander of an Israeli-backed militia in south Lebanon. A party statement said Suha Bshara was carrying out orders to assassinate Antoine Lahd, commander of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) militia, when she shot him twice Monday.

It said Ms. Bshara was a member of the National Resistance Movement, a coalition of pro-Syrian guerrillas fighting Israeli forces in Lebanon. Ms. Bshara was arrested by SLA militiamen, who were interrogating her.

EC says it won't lift ban on hormone meat

The European Community said yesterday it saw no reason to lift its ban on imports of meat treated with growth hormones as of Jan. 1, a move that sets it on a collision course with the US. The US, which produces hormone-treated beef, would normally export between $150 million and $160 million worth of beef products to the EC next year.

The EC block on imports of hormone-treated meat was due to go into effect last January, but it was put off in the hope of finding a compromise to avert a trade war.

Supreme Court rules on taxing oil income

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that states may tax some income from oil and natural gas extracted from the outer continental shelf. The justices upheld an Iowa tax, challenged by Shell Oil Company, that is imposed on that portion of a company's income derived from doing business in Iowa.

Justice Thurgood Marshall, writing for the court, said the state levy does not violate a 1953 federal law authorizing exploration and production of outer continental shelf oil and gas.

Burma closes courts until March over riots

Rangoon radio has announced that all courts will be closed until April in Burma, where hundreds of people have been arrested since mid-September after antigovernment rioting. The radio said travel and administrative restrictions made it difficult for people seeking redress in courts to do so within statutes of limitations.

FBI launches an inquiry on Oregon youth group

The federal government has entered the investigation into the strictly disciplined youth group led by Eldridge Broussard, with the FBI examining whether the rights of the children were violated. More than 50 of the youngsters were taken into custody by the Oregon Children's Services Division after Mr. Broussard's daughter was beaten to death Oct. 14.

Cosby gives $20 million to black women's college

Comedian Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille, have given $20 million to Spellman College, a predominantly black women's college in Atlanta. The gift, the largest in the history of the 107-year-old institution, was announced Sunday as part of the installation ceremonies for a new Spellman president. Dr. Johnetta Cole became the first black woman to hold the post.

For the record

The Soviet Union will try again in the next few days to launch its space shuttle, whose maiden voyage was scrubbed last month by a technical malfunction, Radio Moscow said yesterday. Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc., a Wall Street firm, has been negotiating with former White House chief of staff Howard Baker to become its chairman, the Washington Post reported yesterday.

In Tunisia, President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali announced Monday that presidential and legislative elections will be held April 9.

CorrectionCorrection for 10/21/88

An Oct. 21 article on alleged 1980 Reagan-Bush arms dealings misidentified William Casey. He was Ronald Reagan's campaign manager at the time.

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