News In Brief
Details of new election procedures were published yesterday along with the first reports of student demonstrations in Nanking. In an interview published in People's Daily, the Communist Party's newspaper, Wang Hanbin, secretary-general of the parliament, said the changes, which are effective next year, will allow more candidates per seat at the county and village levels of government. He said any political group of at least 10 people can nominate candidates for a preliminary list from which the final candidates are chosen.
Meanwhile, state-controlled newspapers reported on five days of demonstrations last week in Shanghai, the biggest in China in a decade, but nothing was said of demonstrations in at least nine other cities, including Peking.
Israeli A-plant worker, enters not guilty plea
Nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu pleaded not guilty yesterday to treason and spy charges in an Israeli court. Security was tight at the opening of the closed-door trial of Mr. Vanunu, a former employee at the Dimona nuclear reactor in southern Israel.
Vanunu disappeared in London Sept. 30 and resurfaced in Israeli custody Nov. 9. In October, Vanunu was quoted by the London Sunday Times as saying that Israel has produced atomic weapons at the Dimona reactor for 20 years.
Lebanon's leader said to favor Shiites over PLO
In a shift of alliances, Lebanese President Amin Gemayel has offered to back Shiite Muslims in their war against Palestinian guerrillas in Lebanon, the Al-Ittihad newspaper reported yesterday. The newspaper said President Gemayel offered to send Christian Army units to back the Amal militia, the military arm of Lebanon's Shiite community, in its fight against Palestinian guerrillas. Gemayel has previously been said to back Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and facilitating the return of PLO guerrillas to Lebanon.
Reports say 47 arrested in Afghan drug smuggling
At least 47 people have been arrested in Kabul, Afghanistan, for involvement in drug smuggling, state-owned Radio Kabul and Western diplomats say. Radio Kabul said yesterday that Afghan security forces broke up a hashish-smuggling ring, arresting 17 people who it said were members of an anticommunist guerrilla group. Meanwhile, Western diplomats said 30 Afghan airlines workers were arrested in Kabul for drug trafficking. It was not clear if the cases were related.
Marcos loyalists stage anti-Aquino protests
Hundreds of supporters of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos burned back issues of Time magazine yesterday after the US periodical named President Corazon Aquino ``Woman of the Year.'' The Marcos loyalists also staged a noisy motorcade through the capital to urge a ``no'' vote in the Feb. 2 plebiscite on a new national constitution that the Aquino administration backs.
Sakharov says he will not lead Soviet dissidents
Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov said he would continue to push for freedom for political prisoners but would not serve as a leader of the Soviet human rights movement. Dr. Sakharov told the New York Times and three other US publications that health concerns and a desire to return to his research would constrain his activism.
Mubarak in Jordan for talks with Hussein
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrived in the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba yesterday for talks with his chief Arab ally, King Hussein, sources said. An official Egyptian statement said Mubarak and Hussein would discuss Middle East peace developments and bilateral issues and would coordinate policies in preparation for next month's Islamic summit in Kuwait.
The two leaders have met several times, with increasing frequency, since Jordan restored diplomatic ties with Egypt in 1984.
South Korea plans to limit US trade surplus
South Korea plans to increase imports from the United States in 1987 in an attempt to keep the trade surplus from rising above this year's level, the government says. Officials at the Trade and Industry Ministry said Saturday the plan is aimed in part to avoid protectionist moves by the US. The officials said South Korea's trade surplus with the United States is expected to reach $7.2 billion this year, up from $4.2 billion in 1985. The US is South Korea's biggest trading partner.
Worldwide `Instant of Cooperation' Wednesday
Thousands of people are expected to take part Wednesday in the ``World Instant of Cooperation,'' an hour-long, worldwide gathering to pray, meditate, or contemplate peace and cooperation. Starting at 7 a.m. Eastern time, organizers say participants from 50 nations and from all 50 states will gather in places ranging from homes to huge stadiums including the Houston Astrodome.
The idea for the meeting comes from a 1983 book by John Randolph Price titled ``The Planetary Commission,'' which advocates bringing 50 million people together simultaneously to witness for peace.
Most of the gatherings will include silent meditation, inspirational music, and readings from religious texts.
NSC begins work on Iran policy
The National Security Council has begun work to help revise national policy toward Iran, the New York Times reported yesterday. The Times said outside experts are being called on to help draft a new policy, which it described as a ``top priority'' of incoming national-security adviser Frank C. Carlucci.
Named as participating in a discussion on US-Iran policy were William B. Quandt, Harold H. Saunders, and Gary Sick. The three men were NSC staff members under Presidents Nixon and Carter and have special background on Iran and Middle East affairs.
Mr. Saunders said he, Mr. Sick, and Mr. Quandt support improved relations with Iran, but said future arms sales should not be considered until substantial ties have been established.
Among other developments over the holiday weekend:
Outgoing NATO envoy David Abshire will have direct access to President Reagan in his role as coordinator of White House responses to investigations into the Iran-contra arms affair, a spokesman said. Mr. Abshire said he saw no conflict with the responsibilities of White House chief of staff Donald Regan. Abshire, a foreign policy veteran, was appointed to the Cabinet-level post Friday.
President Reagan made only brief mention of the arms controversy in his weekly radio address, referring to the affair as ``a disappointment for all of us.'' Reagan left for a week-long vacation in California Saturday.
A former CIA agent said he discussed an arms-for-hostages deal with an Iranian arms dealer nearly a year before the date the Reagan administration has given for the first contact, a British newspaper reported yesterday. William Herrmann, serving an eight-year sentence in Britain for his part in a counterfeiting operation, told the Sunday Telegraph he met with an Iranian agent in October 1984, 10 months before the administration has said contacts began.