News In Brief
The Air Force has declared its first 10 MX nuclear missiles operational, marking the first time in 16 years the United States has added a new intercontinental ballistic missile to its land-based arsenal, the Pentagon said yesterday. The Air Force has been installing the first batch of MX missiles -- dubbed the Peacekeeper by the Reagan administration -- at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming since last fall. Each missile is equipped with 10 nuclear warheads and poised for launch at full alert.
The Pentagon also said Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger will authorize money next year to begin construction of two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that will ensure the Navy's ability to maintain ``15 deployable carrier battle groups beyond the year 2000.''
South Africa is barring US legislators over curbs
South Africa has barred two groups of US congressmen who planned to visit the country in January, Foreign Minister Roelof Botha said yesterday. The US congressmen, including Howard Wolpe, chairman of a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs subcommittee, planned to make a fact-finding mission next month. Mr. Botha told state radio that only congressmen who did not vote for a tough sanctions package against South Africa in October would be welcome.
Greyhound is nearing end of the line in bus business
Greyhound Corporation, after 60 years in the interstate bus business, said Tuesday it plans to sell almost all of its Greyhound Lines bus operations to an investor group for more than $350 million in cash, securities, and royalties. John W. Teets, Greyhound chairman and chief executive officer, has been saying for several months that the bus line would be sold or liquidated if a satisfactory labor agreement for a new contract was not ratified by the union that represents more than 6,000 Greyhound drivers and other employees. In a statement released Tuesday, Greyhound said prospects for reaching a timely settlement with workers appear ``very remote,'' and this brought on the decision to sell.
Solidarity committee to monitor legal abuses
Poland's outlawed trade union Solidarity has set up a special group to monitor legal abuses by communist authorities, opposition sources said yesterday. The Intervention and Legality Commission, which has representatives in 11 Polish cities, will review the existing legal system and help victims of injustice, a communiqu'e released by group said. The commission was set up at the urging of Solidarity leader Lech Walesa and will be headed by activist Zbigniew Romaszewski.
Spy in Nicaragua tells of `Foreign Legion' plan
Self-confessed spy Sam Hall said Monday his intelligence-gathering mission in Nicaragua originated from an operation conceived two years ago by the Pentagon. Mr. Hall, who was detained on Dec. 12 outside the Punta Huete air base north of Managua, told reporters the plan to recruit an ``American Foreign Legion'' of spies and counterterrorists was dropped by the US government because it was too expensive. It was picked up by private backers, he said, adding that he knew his contacts only by the code names Tinker, Evers, and Chance - the famous baseball players.
Dissident Orlov to take Cornell research position
Yuri Orlov, a physicist and human rights activist freed in October after eight years of imprisonment and internal exile in the Soviet Union, said yesterday he will join the faculty of Cornell University as a research scientist. Mr. Orlov accepted a three-year appointment in the school's Laboratory of Nuclear Science after considering offers from several other American universities and European laboratories.
New Zealand newsman faces ouster from Zambia
Zambian authorities issued a deportation order yesterday for an Associated Press correspondent arrested four days before, a New Zealand diplomat said. The reporter, John Edlin, has been held in a prison outside Lusaka, the Zambian capital, since Friday. He is a New Zealander who is based in Harare.
A newspaper published by the Zambian ruling party said Tuesday that Mr. Edlin was being detained for ``flouting'' immigration laws.
Najibullah takes over as Afghan President
Afghan ruling Communist Party leader Najibullah became the President of the country yesterday in place of Babrak Karmal, who resigned the office last month, according to the official Kabul radio. The radio said a meeting of the Revolutionary Council Presidium in the capital, Kabul, elected Najibullah as council President, an office that will make him head of state in addition to being party leader. The Christian Science Monitor will not be published on Dec. 25, a national holiday in the United States.
Iran-contra update. General takes the Fifth on Hill
Retired Maj. Gen. Richard Secord, a key figure in the Iran-contra controversy, evoked his Fifth Amendment rights in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday, while Saudi Arabian arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi denied reports that Canadian investors were involved in financing the US arms sales to Iran. Mr. Khashoggi, speaking on NBC's ``Today'' program, contradicted the assertions of New York businessman Roy Furmark, who has reportedly said in congressional testimony that two Canadian businessmen put up financing for a May 1986 arms shipment. ``There's no Canadians involved,'' he said; ``I went to a bank in the Cayman Islands.''
Meanwhile, in an interview published in the Boston Globe yesterday, Mr. Furmark said he had been mistaken in stating that Khashoggi had financed arms deals with funds provided by Canadians.
Among other recent developments:
A Senate Intelligence Committee spokesman said efforts are under way to draft a report that could be released to the public and would summarize the panel's three weeks of closed-door investigations.
The National Security Council's senior director for Latin American affairs, Raymond Burkhardt, is leaving to return to the State Department, White House spokesman Larry Speakes announced. He also confirmed the long-expected transfer of Jack Matlock, the NSC's top specialist on the Soviet Union, to the State Department. Mr. Matlock has been mentioned as a possible successor to Arthur Hartman, who is stepping down as US ambassador in Moscow.
Canadian officials said Monday they have no record that Mehdi Bahremani, the son of Iranian parlianment Speaker Hashemi Rafsanjani, entered the country legally, if at all. The Observer of London reported Sunday that Mr. Bahremani had fled to Canada with $6 million allegedly received from US arms sales to Iran.
State Department officials said Iran has apparently decided to continue negotiations for the return of $500 million owed by the United States, even though the Tehran government now has the right to ask an international tribunal to order an immediate payment.
Attorney General Edwin Meese III missed a deadline Monday for a House Judiciary Committee request for documents related to the Iran-contra affair, according to a Justice Department spokesman. In a response to the committee chairman, Mr. Meese told the committee he had already provided the documents it wanted.