BRITISH REVAMP JUSTICE SYSTEM Queen Elizabeth II outlined a government anticrime program yesterday that includes the abolition of a basic tenet of British justice the right to refuse to answer police questions. Thirteen bills awaiting action comprise a program that Prime Minister John Major calls ``back to basics'': harsher sentences for criminals and reduced costs for social security programs. The Conservative Party government says plans to end defendants' right to keep silent under police questioning are aimed largely at terrorists. Home Secretary Michael Howard said recently, referring to paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, that terrorists ``ruthlessly exploited'' the right to silence. The bill also provides that persistent young offenders between ages 12 and 14 could be held for up to two years. Under current law, an offender must be 14 to be detained. (US anticrime bill, p. 4) New Zealand elections

For New Zealanders, the cliffhanger is over. After the final 200,000 special (absentee) votes were counted yesterday, Prime Minister Jim Bolger has retained his post. New Zealand has had a hung Parliament since the general election Nov. 6. Mr. Bolger made it clear that despite the close vote he would not backtrack on any of National Party's social and economic reforms. Iraqi chemical attacks

A UN team investigating allegations of new Iraqi chemical attacks on its own population has finished hearing refugee testimony in Iran and expects to enter Iraq shortly, a spokesman said yesterday. Iraqi opposition groups in Iran have reported chemical attacks taking place in September. Iraq has denied it used chemical weapons, prohibited under the Gulf war cease-fire terms. Citadel coeducation

Shannon Faulkner, a woman who won admission to the all-male military academy, The Citadel, after deleting application references to her gender, will register for classes now that an appeals court has upheld her right to attend the school. The Citadel said it will decide by Friday whether to appeal Wednesday's ruling. Japan rice imports

The first major shipload of foreign rice to enter Japan in almost a decade arrived yesterday and was greeted by protesters who fear the longtime ban on imports is being threatened. The rice was the first batch of emergency imports to make up for a poor-harvest shortfall. Despite pressures from the US and others, Japan bans regular imports of rice for table use. Germany: no UN missions

Germany's main opposition party yesterday rejected German participation in UN-backed missions like the Gulf War and Somalia, saying the nation cannot risk involvement in violent actions abroad. The Social Democrats' opposition has been attacked as irresponsible by Chancellor Helmut Kohl's conservative coalition, which wants a more powerful UN role for Germany. Yugoslavia talks

Bosnia's warring factions must end their fighting and open aid routes for nearly 3 million people whose survival is threatened by winter, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali demanded yesterday. Mr. Boutros-Ghali appealed to ``basic instincts of humanity and decency'' as leaders of Bosnia's three factions Croats, Serbs, and the Muslim-led government - met jointly for the first time since peace talks were halted in September. US defense budget

A $261 billion defense budget that endorses a more restrictive version of the White House policy on homosexuals serving in the military awaits President Clinton's expected signature. It is part of the defense appropriation bill. The House approved the legislation Monday. National Book Awards

In a ceremony in New York Wednesday night, author Gore Vidal won the nonfiction award for ``United States: Essays 1952-1992.'' E. Annie Proulx won the fiction award for ``The Shipping News.'' And A.R. Ammons took the honors in poetry for a collection titled ``Garbage.''

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