News In Brief

Spain was coping with a general strike yesterday that virtually halted public transportation and industry, unions said. As many as 8 million strikers were reported participating in the protests. The strike, the first called by the two main unions against the socialist government's wage restraint policies, severely affected international air and rail traffic.

The socialist General Workers Union and the Communist-dominated Workers' Commissions union called the strike last month after talks on wage increases, jobless benefits, and increases for pensions ended without progress.

Swedes hold a suspect in Olof Palme murder

Police yesterday detained a Swede with a history of psychiatric illness and a previous manslaugher conviction on suspicion of assassinating Prime Minister Olof Palme, officials and news reports said. The Stockholm district court named a defense lawyer for the suspect, a court clerk said, an indication that he could face arrest after questioning in the 1986 slaying.

The suspect had been questioned early in the case and admitted he was close to the scene of the murder on the night Mr. Palme was shot, reports said.

Architect of radical shift is ousted in New Zealand

New Zealand Finance Minister Roger Douglas was removed from the Cabinet yesterday after a bitter attack on Prime Minister David Lange. Mr. Douglas is the architect of dramatic reforms that have reshaped the economy. Prime Minister Lange, however, has shown increasing anxiety about the tight monetary policies, which have slashed inflation but boosted unemployment.

The shattering of government unity sent financial markets into chaos and left Mr. Lange facing a challenge to his leadership of the ruling Labor Party.

Bonn official steps down over ruling on test flights

West Germany's No. 2 Defense Ministry official said yesterday he is resigning because of a row with his boss over a decision to suspend military training flights following the crash of a US attack jet. The clash between Defense Minister Rupert Scholz and his chief deputy, Peter Kurt W"urzbach, occurred after the crash of a US Air Force jet in the city of Remscheid last week.

West German newspaper reports said Mr. W"urzbach's decision to suspend flights below 10,700 feet until the end of the year was made over the objection of Mr. Scholz. The resignation was widely expected.

US trade representative to be agriculture chief

President-elect George Bush yesterday named Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter to be his secretary of agriculture. Mr. Yeutter has served as President Reagan's senior trade negotiator since 1985. Before that he was chief executive officer of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the nation's second-largest futures market.

The appointment must be confirmed by Congress.

CBS outbids NBC for baseball rights

CBS won exclusive network rights yesterday to televise major league baseball, outbidding NBC, which has prided itself on its baseball coverage since 1947. CBS won a four-year contract to televise the World Series, the All-Star Game, the playoffs in both leagues, and a 12-game regular-season package beginning in 1990, industry sources said.

Cost to CBS is estimated to be $1.1 billion, and will mark the return of CBS to major league baseball after a period of 25 years.

The network has not televised big league baseball since the mid-1960s, while NBC and ABC have shared TV rights since 1975.

Home of guerrilla suspect destroyed by Israeli Army

The Army yesterday blew up the home of a Palestinian shepherd accused of killing two Israelis in the occupied West Bank. The Army also clamped a curfew on the shepherd's village of Burin, near the religious Jewish settlement of Berakha and the city of Nablus. Also yesterday, soldiers shot and wounded a Palestinian youth in the Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Arab reports and hospital officials said. The Israeli Army said it was checking the report.

Yugoslav rights body appeals for amnesty

Communist Yugoslavia's only official human rights monitoring body has appealed for all prisoners convicted of ``verbal offenses'' to be set free, official Belgrade newspapers said yesterday. The majority of prisoners are jailed under article 133 of the Penal Code, a catchall curb on freedoms to criticize the state or politicians or to voice unorthodox political views either orally or in writing.

The newspaper Politika quoted the appeal by the Human Rights Forum as saying the Yugoslav state presidency should free all prisoners serving jail terms under the article.

Sri Lankan forces try to round up escapees

Security forces scoured the Sri Lankan capital yesterday in efforts to round up 225 prisoners who escaped from the city's maximum-security jail in a mass breakout engineered by left-wing rebels. Thirty rebels were killed in a shoot-out with security forces during Tuesday's escape, which military sources said was organized with the help of some prison officials.

Suspected gunmen of the left-wing Marxist People's Liberation Front attacked the Welikade Prison in Colombo, the sources said.

US vetoes UN resolution against Israeli incursion

The US vetoed a Security Council resolution yesterday strongly deploring an Israeli land, air, and sea attack last Friday against Lebanese territory. The vote on the resolution was 14 in favor, 1 against, with no abstentions.

Lebanon requested the Council meeting after Israel attacked a base of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, south of Beirut.

Amnesty report charges abuses in Philippines

Consistent and apparently reliable reports of torture increased when the Philippine government stepped up its counterinsurgency campaign against communist rebels, Amnesty International said yesterday. This ``pattern of torture'' has re-emerged despite constitutional and legal measures by President Corazon Aquino's government to outlaw brutality, Amnesty International said in a report.

The organization said it knew of no instance of a military or police officer being convicted of a serious human rights offense since Mrs. Aquino came to power in 1986.

For the record

South Korea's largest shipyard, Hyundai Heavy Industries Company, remained closed for the third straight day yesterday as about 18,000 workers continued striking. President Reagan said yesterday he is confident that in the coming years the US and China will ``forge even stronger ties and build a safer and more prosperous world.''

More than 200 people have been charged with hunting violations after a probe of bird-hunting clubs along the Texas Gulf coast, federal officials said Tuesday.

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