News In Brief

The Soviet Union has stopped jamming broadcasts by the Munich-based organization Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, according to station officials. The move was first detected Tuesday by monitors in Western Europe and confirmed yesterday. The organization's native-language programs have been jammed constantly since they went on the air in 1953. The move appears aimed at reinforcing Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost, or openness.

Cyclones lash coast strip of Bangladesh and India

A cyclone battered low-lying coastal areas of southern Bangladesh and eastern India, killing at least 317 people, officials and news reports said yesterday. The casualty toll was expected to rise after reports arrived from hundreds of tiny islands and remote villages cut off after communication lines snapped during Tuesday's storm. Food Minister Amjad Hossain said, however, that timely evacuation of thousands of people had diminished loss of lives.

Eleven reported killed in Soviet ethnic clashes

Eleven people were killed in clashes between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in ethnic violence in at least five cities in Armenia, official sources said yesterday. The deaths reported by the official Armenian news agency Armenpress on the basis of official government information raised the death toll in more than a week of ethnic violence to at least 18.

Israeli Labor Party votes against Likud coalition

Leaders of the left-leaning Labor Party voted yesterday to turn down a bid to enter into talks with the rival Likud bloc on forming a coalition government. The vote of 61 to 57 by the party's executive bureau came after the party's leader, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, argued in favor of entering into negotiations with the right-wing Likud headed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. There was one abstention.

Judge Gesell considers use of secret documents

A closed court hearing on secret documents that Iran-contra prosecutors want to use as evidence against Oliver North was convened yesterday after security officers checked the courtroom for electronic bugs. US District Judge Gerhard Gesell, who on Tuesday upheld conspiracy and embezzlement charges against Mr. North, was to consider yesterday defense objections to deleting sensitive references from 350 classified government documents independent counsel Lawrence Walsh wants to use as evidence.

RJR Nabisco managers boost takeover offer

The management of RJR Nabisco yesterday boosted its thrice-revised takeover offer to more than $24.3 billion in a stunning last-minute tactic to triumph over rivals in the record battle for the food-and-tobacco giant. The fatter offer from the group led by chief executive F. Ross Johnson topped its $22.7 billion proposal submitted at the deadline for altered bids Tuesday. There was no immediate response from RJR's directors or the two other bidders in the struggle, Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co. and First Boston Corporation.

Bush holds meeting with Jesse Jackson

Election-year political foes George Bush and Jesse Jackson exchanged compliments yesterday as they sat down to lunch, with the President-elect declaring they had a ``relationship that transcends politics.'' Vice President-elect Dan Quayle, meanwhile, said yesterday he would make no recommendation to his home-state governor on whom to appoint to his Indiana Senate seat, although he did not turn aside suggestions that he favors Rep. Dan Coats (R) of Indiana for the post.

Problem with bolts may delay Atlantis

Despite threatening weather, NASA pressed ahead yesterday toward a Thursday launching of Atlantis's secret satellite mission, but a new problem cropped up - two stripped bolts on the spaceship. A reliable source reported that the 21-man Mission Management Team decided that two bolts had been stripped on an access panel leading to a cluster of small engines used to steer the shuttle in orbit.

He said the stripped bolts were replaced by studs that were glued down. If the glue does not hold, he said, the launch might have to be delayed a day or two.

West German guerrilla pardoned from sentence

A West German former leftist guerrilla who has renounced terrorism was pardoned yesterday from a life sentence for bank robbery and the murder of a policeman. The pardon of Manfred Grashof, the second of its kind, was signed by Rhineland-Palatinate Premier Bernhard Vogel. Mr. Grashof was arrested in 1972, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison for his part in a 1971 bank robbery by the Red Army Faction in which a police officer was killed.

Kuwait expected to free 2 of '83 terrorist convicts

Two of the 17 terrorists convicted in the 1983 car bombings of the US and French Embassies are expected to be released quietly when their prison terms end shortly, informed sources said yesterday. The embassy bombings left five dead and 86 injured. The two were sentenced to five-year prison terms in 1984 after being found guilty of possessing arms and explosives without a license.

All the defendants were believed to be members of the underground Islamic ``Al-Daawa party,'' a pro-Iranian group. The rest of the 17 are still in prison.

Australia may close Yugoslav consulate

The government threatened to close the Yugoslav Consulate yesterday after a four-day diplomatic row over the shooting of a Croatian teen-ager during a demonstration. Prime Minister Bob Hawke demanded ``full cooperation'' from Yugoslav authorities after Joseph Tokic was wounded Sunday when a security guard inside the consulate fired on hundreds of demonstrators.

Yugoslavia lodged a strong protest over what it called a lack of police protection during the incident and has not issued a formal apology for the shooting.

UN committee faults US on refusing Arafat

A UN committee overwhelmingly denounced the US refusal to let Yasser Arafat into the country and urged a reversal of the decision in a harsh resolution sent to the General Assembly yesterday. The 121-to-2 vote Tuesday by the Assembly's legal committee indicated how lopsided the vote in the full Assembly is likely to be.

The US and Israel opposed the resolution, which recommended the State Department issue a visa to the PLO leader so he can address the General Assembly on the Palestinian issue.

For the record

On the USS Nimitz, stationed in the Arabian Sea, a sailor was killed yesterday when an aircraft gun accidentally fired shots and set another plane on fire, military officials said. South Korean riot police broke up a march yesterday by hundreds of students who tried to reach the presidential palace to demand the arrest of former President Chun Doo Hwan.

Americans' personal incomes rose 1.8 percent last month as consumer spending increased a strong 0.8 percent and savings also swelled, the Commerce Deparment said yesterday.

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