News In Brief
Secretary of State George Shultz rejected a call yesterday by Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev for the United States to relax restrictions on trade with the Soviet Union, saying the Soviets must first improve their human rights record. Earlier Mr. Gorbachev had told 150 US businessmen in Moscow that trade could not improve unless Washington granted most-favored-nation trade status and stopped using trade embargoes to register political grievances.
Pentagon official discounts invasion threat by Nicaragua
A senior Pentagon official said yesterday that Nicaragua poses no real military invasion threat to its Central American neighbors, even though the Reagan administration has described Managua as a potential spearhead of communist aggression. The Pentagon source, who asked not to be identified, said he agreed with the key argument of nongovernment military critics that a Nicaraguan invasion would be hobbled by fuel shortages and by Honduras's superior Air Force, among other factors.
Farm Credit System rescue is predicted on Capitol Hill
Congressional leaders said yesterday they were confident that a rescue package for the financially troubled Farm Credit System will be completed before lawmakers recess for the year. Late Tuesday, the House passed by a 393-to-32 majority a three-part bill designed to shore up the confidence of both investors and the farmers who borrow from the $70 billion Farm Credit System. Senate and House negotiators are now working out the differences between their versions.
Meanwhile, House and Senate negotiators meeting privately on the farm bill remained in disagreement on all major commodity issues.
And President Reagan issued Tuesday another warning on federal overspending, continuing his insistence that any bill meet a target of $50 billion in commodity program spending over the next three years.
Spain and US to discuss gradual cutback of GIs
Spain has announced that it will begin negotiations with the United States next year aimed at a gradual reduction of US troops in Spain and thus easing local objections to their presence here. Socialist Prime Minister Felipe Gonz'alez, who has promised a referendum on North Atlantic Treaty Organization membership next March, hopes a cut in US troops will influence public opinion in favor of staying in the Western alliance.
There are reported to be 12,000 US troops stationed at a Navy base and three air bases in Spain.
Louisiana jury at work in Edwards fraud trial
Jurors began deliberation yesterday in the racketeering and fraud case against Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards and four co-defendants. Much of the closing arguments on both sides covered two key allegations in the case: that Governor Edwards got involved because he needed to pay off huge gambling debts, and that the alleged conspirators bribed a state health department employee for help in getting a hospital project certified in 1982.
Polygraph tests ordered by Reagan to curb spying
President Reagan has ordered that government employees and contractors seeking access to highly classified information submit to mandatory polygraph tests, the White House said yesterday. Spokesman Larry Speakes said members of Reagan's Cabinet would be among those required to take the polygraph tests.
It was not clear how many people would be covered by the order, but some press estimates cited more than 10,000 people would be covered.
Submarine contract may go with no bid from Dynamics
Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, in a statement released by the Pentagon, said the Navy may not be able to wait for the troubled General Dynamics Corporation to be cleared on fraud charges before it selects a submarine contractor. Mr. Weinberger said the Navy may have to award the contract without competitive bidding to the only other company able to make the submarines, the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company.
Ferraro reported to decide against run for US Senate
Geraldine Ferraro, the 1984 Democratic vice-presidential candidate, has decided not to run for the US Senate seat held by Republican Alfonse D'Amato, a state source said yesterday. Her decision leaves the field open for several potential Democratic candidates, including American Stock Exchange president Arthur Levitt Jr., consumer activist Mark Green, and former state power authority chairman John Dyson.
Ms. Ferraro had said earlier that intense media scrutiny of her background and finances took a heavy toll on her and her family in her 1984 campaign as Walter Mondale's running mate.
Irish, British officials hold historic meeting amid protest
Irish and British government ministers held a historic first meeting yesterday to begin carrying out last month's Anglo-Irish agreement. Outside, angry Protestant politicians scuffled with police and 32 officers were slightly injured. Thousands of Protestant shipyard and aircraft workers went on strike to protest the accord, which for the first time gives Dublin a formal consultative role in running Northern Ireland.
San Diego mayor, denied a third trial, resigns
Mayor Roger Hedgecock, prompted by a state Superior Court judge's refusal to grant him a third trial, resigned yesterday after being sentenced to a year in custody for perjury and conspiracy. The judge ordered Mr. Hedgecock to serve one year in the custody of the county sheriff and three years on probation, during which time he'll be barred from seeking public office. He also fined Hedgecock $1,000.
33% of communist officials in US have spy ties: Webster
One-third of the 4,000 diplomatic and commercial representatives of communist nations in the United States are affiliated with intelligence services, according to FBI Director William Webster. In an appearance at the National Press Club, Mr. Webster said his agency has improved its counterintelligence ability because of increased manpower and better surveillance equipment. But he added that the FBI cannot possibly keep track of all foreign agents.
The politician and the press to be examined at university
Harvard University announced that it will establish a center for the study of the news media, politics, and public policy. The university said the center's special concern will be the effect that politicians and journalists have on each other.