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Latin American countries have injected an unusually confrontational note into the 40th session of the UN General Assembly. Brazilian President Jos'e Sarney said his country's foreign debt ``would not be repaid with recession, unemployment, or hunger.'' He denounced threats to Latin America ``by totalitarians and by the greed of those who see only with the eyes of exploitation.''

Peruvian President Alan Garc'ia P'erez was even tougher. He threatened to withdraw Peru from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if changes were not made to relieve the burden on debtor countries.

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[In a press conference yesterday, President Garc'ia accused the IMF of being neither impartial nor just and of serving the interests of the US. He said there were grave irregularities how US banks managed international debt, Reuters reports.]

Observers see growing solidarity among Latin Americans in denouncing what they call ``US protectionism'' and ``US usurers' interest rates.''

``This is not utopian or unrealistic talk about a New Economic World Order,'' a US diplomat said. ``It is a revolt by some of our closest partners that could lead to an international financial catastrophe if we don't move quickly to ease their burden.''

Reagan says he'd like to have Soviets' plan at Geneva talks

President Reagan said yesterday he wanted to see a reported Soviet plan for large reductions in US and Soviet nuclear missiles on the superpower negotiating table in Geneva. Mr. Reagan was in Tennessee to campaign for domestic tax reform, which he said would sharply boost economic growth, create millions of new jobs, and produce an average economic gain of $600 for American households.

US envoy to UN went to Syria to gain Weir release, US says

Vernon Walters, the US ambassador to the United Nations, was sent to Syria in an effort to gain the release of the Rev. Benjamin Weir and other American hostages in Lebanon, US officials said yesterday. Earlier, NBC News said Mr. Walters met in secret for four hours with Syrian President Hafez Assad. The Rev. Mr. Weir, who was held by Shiite captors for 16 months, was released Sept. 14.

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Soviets and Afghans launch surprise drive in border area

Soviet and Afghan forces began a surprise counteroffensive yesterday against rebel positions southeast of the Paktia Province garrison town of Khost, Afghan guerrillas said. Rebels based just across the border in Pakistan rushed into Paktia to fight several thousand Afghan troops backed up by 600 to 700 Soviet soldiers, the guerrillas in the Pakistani frontier town of Miranshah said.

Communist and guerrilla forces retreated from the area only last Friday after a month of heavy fighting aimed at sealing rebel supply lines coming in from Pakistan.

Le Monde reported Tuesday that financial records of the French undercover operation to blow up the Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand had been destroyed or faked to conceal the truth from Bernard Tricot. an investigator. (Related story, Page 9.) Official sources said that investigators for France's external-security agency have detained two agents accused of leaking information on the third team of French spies.

Estimates of S. African shift of Zulus called far too low

Civil rights workers said yesterday that almost a quarter-million blacks would have to be uprooted to reshape the Zulu tribal homeland -- six times the number estimated by a government commission. The commission published plans Monday for consolidating the fragmented homeland, set up in Natal Province under apartheid (race segregation). It said more than 40,000 black people should move into KwaZulu out of ``white'' areas.

Import restrictions to protect jobs spell trouble, IMF says

The International Monetary Fund's annual report warns that import curbs to protect jobs in troubled industries could threaten the entire world trading system. The report of global economic conditions noted that recovery in the industrial countries had been under way for some 21/2 years, but fundamental problems, such as high unemployment, remain. (Related story, Page 19.)

Britain, Soviet Union agree to consider spy row closed

Britain and the Soviet Union have agreed to consider as closed a spying row that led to 31 expulsions from each country, the British foreign secretary, Sir Geoffrey Howe, said yesterday. He met his Soviet counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, Monday night, their first meeting since expulsions earlier this month.

Three Mile Island restart blocked by Justice Brennan

A Supreme Court justice temporarily blocked today's scheduled restart of a nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, site of the nation's worst commercial nuclear plant accident, in 1979. Justice William J. Brennan postponed the restart until he could fully study an emergency request from a citizens' group that said it is too risky for operations at the plant to resume.

Teamster officials were aided by Mafia families, FBI is told

A reputed mob figure told the FBI that Mafia families in Chicago; Cleveland; New York; and Kansas City, Mo., were instrumental in helping Teamsters president Jackie Presser and former president Roy L. Williams get elected, according to reports in the Plain Dealer Tuesday. The statements by Angelo A. Lonardo were contained in documents relating to a federal trial in Kansas City of nine men accused of skimming profits from Las Vegas casinos. The trial began Monday.

Monitor writer wins award for world population series

The Monitor's third-world correspondent, David K. Willis, has won the Population Institute's award for best global series of 1984. The institute announced the winners of its fifth annual Global Awards for Media Excellence in Population Reporting on Monday. The awards will be presented Nov. 5 at the Great Hall of the People in Peking. Mr. Willis's entry, a five-part series on world population, appeared in the Monitor in August 1984. The Washington-based Population Institute, which was founded in 1969, seeks a more equitable balance between the earth's population and its resources. It says it is the largest grass-roots organization of its kind.

Guidelines on gene therapy OK'd by US health agency

The National Institutes of Health have approved guidelines for experimental genetic therapy that may offer hope for treating rare hereditary diseases. The guidelines, announced Monday, open the way for researchers to submit proposals for beginning trials of gene therapy.

Apple Computer sues its former chairman

Apple Computer Inc. filed suit Monday against Steven P. Jobs, who recently resigned as the company's chairman, saying Mr. Jobs had breached his contract by planning a new computer company and hiring employees away from Apple. The lawsuit alleges that Jobs's plans could lead to the ``misappropriation of confidential and proprietary information.''

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