News In Brief

The administration is ``extremely concerned'' about Libya's chemical weapons factory and hasn't ruled out using military force against it, President Reagan's spokesman said yesterday. White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater made the statment in answer to reporters' questions about a comment President Reagan made in a television interview.

Mr. Reagan, in an interview taped for broadcast yesterday on ABC-TV, said military action against the site has been discussed by the US and its allies.

Alien deportation law ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled yesterday that portions of a 1952 law allowing deportation of aliens for advocating world communism are unconstitutional, on grounds they violate immigrants' First Amendment rights. US District Judge Stephen Wilson also threw out a congressional exception to a subsequent law, which gave free-speech rights to all immigrants except members of the PLO.

Judge Wilson addressed both the 36-year-old McCarran-Walter Act and a 1987 statute.

US Army warrant officer is arrested in spy probe

US defense officials said yesterday an Army intelligence officer boasted to undercover agents that he sold secrets to East Germany and the Soviet Union while working in West Germany and the US. Warrant Officer 1st Class James William Hall III was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of espionage beginning in 1982 in West Berlin, officials said.

The Army also said a man identified as Huseyin Yildirim was arrested by FBI agents in Florida. Published reports said the man, believed to be a Turkish national, funnelled secrets from Mr. Hall to East-bloc agents and was the conduit for Hall's payments.

Algerians reelect Chadli in support of his reforms

Algerians turned out in force yesterday to reelect President Chadli Benjedid in a vote seen as a public verdict on political reforms launched after riots last October. Mr. Benjedid is guaranteed election to a third term after being chosen as sole candidate of the National Liberation Front, the country's only official political party.

With the lack of competition, interest has focused on the turnout and size of the ``yes'' vote in a vote portrayed by the press as a referendum on the President's political liberalization program.

Gulf council leaders urge cooperation for accord

Leaders of the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concluded four days of talks with an appeal to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to push for a comprehensive peace settlement between Iran and Iraq. They also urged oil-producing countries to cooperate in stabilizing world oil prices, and expressed hope that the new dialogue between the US and the PLO will result in measures to hold an international peace conference.

Sudan, Ethiopia sign peace agreement

An agreement has been signed between Sudan and Ethiopia to respect each other's sovereignty, according to a report yesterday by the British Broadcasting Company from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The agreement almost certainly means that the two neighboring East African countries will begin to reduce the assistance each gives to rebels fighting the other's government. ``It means both sides realize they're reaching dead ends in their [civil] wars,'' says Paul Henze of the RAND Corporation, an expert on the area. This could signal a move by the Ethiopian government toward negotiations with rebels in its north, Mr. Henze says.

The Soviet Union has been pressuring Ethiopia to end its internal war, a conflict the Soviets are financing. Such pressure might account for Ethiopia's willingness to sign the deal with Sudan - an arrangement from which the Sudanese government stands to gain more.

The accord is more likely to weaken the rebels in Sudan than hurt the rebels in Ethiopia. Ethiopia's active support for the rebels in Sudan has been quite damaging to the Sudanese government. Sudan's allowance of supplies for rebels in Ethiopia to pass through its territory, on the other hand, has not been as damaging to Ethiopia, most analysts agree.

Knowledge that this agreement was in the making may explain the Sudanese rebels' recent willingness to sign a draft cease-fire accord with one of Sudan's main political parties. That is currently under consideration by the Sudanese government.

For the record

In Taiwan, workers demanding higher bonuses and more vacation time launched the country's first legal strike since 1949 yesterday, shutting down a chemical factory, organizers said. Pope John Paul II said yesterday the decision by Anglican Church leaders to allow women to become bishops would badly affect Christian unity.

The US Commerce Department reported yesterday that orders for ``big ticket'' durable goods, excluding the defense category, shot up 1.8 percent in November, the best showing since August.

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