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News briefs

Israel Warns Lebanon, Syria as Mideast Talks Reopen

By John M. Goshko
The Washington Post

Israel used the resumption of the Middle East peace talks Monday to warn that it is prepared to make life intolerable in Lebanon if Shiite guerrillas there continue to launch rocket attacks against northern Israel.

Israeli sources said that Uri Lubrani, Israel's chief negotiator in talks with the Lebanese, gave that warning at a tense 30-minute meeting that marked the resumption of negotiations after a 12-day recess for the U.S. presidential elections.

"If there is no security on our side of the border, life can be made intolerable on your side of the border as well," the sources quoted Lubrani as saying. They said the threat was prompted by a barrage of Katyusha rockets fired against Israel on Sunday by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla organization.

"It must be clear to the Lebanese that calm and quiet will not be confined one side of the border while the lives of our citizens are made unbearable on the other," Yossi Gal, the Israeli delegation spokesman, said later. "Our delegation reiterated to the Lebanese our determination to do all that is necessary ... to ensure that terrorists cannot be allowed to operate with impunity."

Major, Yeltsin Sign Friendship Pact

Los Angeles Times


Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin spent almost five hours Monday with Prime Minister John Major, forging closer ties with Britain and consigning the Cold War "to history."

The two leaders signed the first Anglo-Russian friendship treaty since 1766, as Major promised Yeltsin more British aid. And in an effort to bolter Russia's crisis-stricken economy, Major and Yeltsin agreed on a package that would provide guarantees worth about $425 million in export credits for British companies to undertake projects in Russia.

Britain also will extend its expertise to help Russia move toward a Western-style, market-oriented economy, the leaders said.

Major reported that Russia intends to begin repaying the debts of the former Soviet Union, beginning with repayments to smaller companies in the United Kingdom. He also said that he offered Yeltsin help from the British with Russia's pollution problems and said a bilateral energy agreement was "close to completion."

"We are consigning the Cold War to history," Major said after talking with Yeltsin. In turn, Yeltsin, on his first official visit to Britain, added: "We believe that we shall build our relations on the basis of friendship, peace and close cooperation. The era of confrontation has been committed to the past."

New York's Top Judge Refuses to Step Down After Arrest

Los Angeles Times


A crisis in New York State's highest court continued Monday as the chief judge, charged with making threats against his ex-lover, refused to step down and the six associate judges of the Court of Appeals, following an emergency meeting, declined to remove him.

At issue is the future of a once-respected jurist caught up in a web of power, obsession and politics. Chief Judge Sol Wachtler, 62, and married for over four decades, was arrested over the weekend on federal charges of blackmailing and harassing Joy Silverman, 45, a leading Republican fundraiser, who had ended a secret affair with him.

Wachtler remained in a hospital Monday, under psychiatric care and in the custody of federal marshals. He was under 24-hour guard for fear he might kill himself, officials said.

Within the criminal justice system, there was amazement and shock as New York's tabloids headlined the tale of how a pillar of the judicial establishment and perhaps Gov. Mario M. Cuomo's strongest potential opponent in the next gubernatorial election, suddenly had fallen.

The federal complaint charged that Wachtler, suave and urbane, had committed numerous acts of harassment against Silverman after she ended their affair a year ago.

The complaint enumerated episodes of stalking and harassment in a tale rivaling the plot of a television movie. It alleged that Wachtler made obscene phone calls and sent Silverman's 14-year-old daughter a lewd letter that included a wrapped condom.

Wachtler was accused of threatening to kidnap the teen-ager. In some calls, investigators charged he used a device to disguise his voice.


Milder Times Ahead

By Michael Morgan
staff meteorologist

After a cold weekend in which up to an inch of snow fell on portions of southeastern Massachusetts and the Cape, milder weather is anticipated for the next few days. Showers will arrive late on Wednesday and continue through Friday. A peak ahead to the weekend suggests that a signifcant coastal storm may develop--threatening parts of New England with the first big winter storm of the season.

Today: Mostly sunny and milder.High 45F (7C).

Tonight: Partly cloudy and not so cold. Low near 38F (3C).

Tomorrow: Clouding up. Showers arriving toward dark. High 57F (14C). Low 47F (8C).

Thursday: Cloudy with showers. High 53F (12C). Low 45F<\p>(7C).