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News Briefs II

Exiled Iranian Leader Says Tehran Ordered Slaying of Opponents

The Washington Post

For the past three years, a Berlin court has been trying five Middle Easterners for the gangland-style slayings of opponents of Iran's fundamentalist regime in a restaurant here.

The slow-motion trial drew little attention until this spring, when prosecutors named a senior Iranian official as a suspect in connection with the murders.

Now the trial has hit a political minefield with charges that Tehran's two most senior leaders ordered the killings.

Former Iranian President Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr, who has lived in exile in Paris since 1981, testified Friday that Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and spiritual leader Ali Khamenei personally ordered the killing of Kurdish leader Sadiq Sharafkindi and three colleagues.

A government spokesman in Bonn said officials would study his allegations closely. The allegations have focused renewed attention on Germany's contentious policy of maintaining a "critical dialogue" with Tehran's Islamic rulers, whom Washington wants ostracized because of their alleged responsibility for acts of terrorism worldwide.

With sharpshooters and armed police wearing bulletproof vests patrolling the barricaded street outside, Bani-Sadr cited well-placed informants inside the Tehran power structure in accusing Khamenei of ordering the murders and Rafsanjani of approving the decision.

Netscape to Start Firm to Link Consumer Devices and Internet

The Washington Post

Netscape Communications Corp., which makes the leading software for viewing the Internet, plans to announce Monday that it is forming an independent software company that will weave that technology into a range of consumer devices, including telephones, televisions and game machines.

The new company, Navio Communications Inc., will be based in Sunnyvale, Calif., and headed by Wei Yen, formerly senior vice president of products and technologies at Silicon Graphics Inc. James Clark, Netscape's chairman, will also serve as Navio's chairman.

"It is very clear that the concept of the Internet extends well beyond the personal computer," said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies Consulting in San Jose. With its new division, Netscape, of Mountain View, Calif., is staking its claim in what could be a huge market for digital devices that tap into information available via the Internet.

Unlike personal computers, when consumer electronics devices connect to the Internet they might use only some portion of the information available via electronic networks.

For instance, devices could be tailored to display information only on a precise subject - say, a pager-like device that only carries current movie listings. Others might have a narrow set of tasks such as sending both paging messages and electronic mail, or letting consumers play electronic games with others on the network. Such devices would likely have display screens, though some might be very small.