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News Briefs 1

Rabin Visits Ambush Site; Major Retaliation Not Expected

Los Angeles Times

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on Monday visited the site in southern Lebanon where six Israeli soldiers were ambushed and killed the day before by Lebanese guerrillas, as government ministers here predicted that Israel will refrain from unleashing a massive retaliatory attack.

Rabin took the unusual step of traveling on a Jewish holiday, going by helicopter to inspect the scene at the village of Aishiyeh as Israelis observed the one-day festival of Simhat Torah. A nearby outpost of Israel's ally, the South Lebanon Army, came under attack a few hours after Rabin left.

Sources in southern Lebanon said that Muslim guerrillas fired rocket-propelled grenades into the Sojod outpost, in the eastern part of Israel's self-proclaimed security zone. Israel Radio said that two SLA militiamen were wounded and that Israeli and SLA troops returned fire. There were no reports of Lebanese casualties.

Rabin called an emergency Cabinet session for Tuesday to discuss the situation in southern Lebanon. But two ministers believe the session is not intended to authorize any large-scale assault.

"Nothing dramatic, no," said Health Minister Ephraim Sneh, a former commander of Israeli forces in southern Lebanon. "The name of the game is not retaliation. It is ongoing combat, not a game of hit and counterhit. Whenever we can hit them, we do."

Ruling Party, Leftists Lose Ground in Chiapas Voting

Los Angeles Times

Mexico's long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party suffered another symbolic election defeat Monday, losing the mayor's office in the strategic state capital of Chiapas. But preliminary results from local elections in the strife-torn southern state appeared to deliver their worst blow to the nation's political left.

In a state where popular sympathy for an indigenous revolt by native Mexicans was expected to garner wide support for the left-leaning Democratic Revolution Party, it was the ruling PRI that was sweeping to power in the scores of the towns and villages it has controlled with an iron grip for decades.

Early returns from the largely peaceful polls showed the ruling party leading in about 60 of the 109 municipalities where mayoralties were at stake; the populist PRD led in just 14, and the rest were too close to call. PRI candidates also were ahead in the majority of the races for the state's 40-seat legislative assembly.

The worst defeat for both parties, though, came in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital, where the PRD was headed for a distant third. There, the candidate of the opposition National Action Party was leading by a two-to-one margin over the ruling-party's candidate, an emerging victory in the most important contest of the day and one that appeared to bolster the national image of the conservative PAN, Mexico's largest opposition party.

GOP or Nothing, Buchanan Says

The Washington Post

It's a rare instance when conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan leaves an audience confused about where he stands, but it happened last week when the GOP presidential candidate seemed to open the door to running as an independent if he does not win the Republican nomination next year.

Since then, Buchanan has been trying to set the record straight. "My intent and expectation is I'm going to be endorsing and supporting the Republican nominee in 1996 because I always have," he said in an interview.

Buchanan said the confusion might have occurred because he talked about seeking the endorsement of Ross Perot's new Independence Party and other splinter parties that exist around the country. But he said he was trying to describe a situation under which he, as the Republican nominee, would seek to bring those voters into the GOP.

"There's no reason why all of them couldn't rally behind my candidacy," he said. "If we did that, even people who disagree with Republicans could vote for me on another ballot. That's the whole idea-not me dropping out here and going after another nomination. I don't intend to. I intend to go right to the convention."