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News Briefs I

Argentina Avoids Embarrassing Trial, Compensates Victim of Terror

Los Angeles Times
SANTA MONICA, Calif.

Through torture and humiliation, exile and intimidation, through 20 years of nightmares spanning three continents, Jose Siderman never lost faith in the possibility of vindication. Even when Argentina tried to extend its "dirty war" across oceans and snatch this aging refugee back into its clutches, Siderman held out faith that he and his shattered family would somehow prevail.

Now Siderman, 85 and frail but with energy to spare for the good fight, is savoring a triumph won not in the homeland that imprisoned and rejected him, but in the confines of federal court in Los Angeles.

Last week, the government of Argentina agreed to settle damage claims by Siderman and his family stemming from the harrowing period of military rule that began in 1976, when Siderman was kidnapped and tortured and his entire family was forced to flee the country. In his absence, Siderman alleged, military cronies looted his family's once-substantial possessions of more than $25 million in property and other assets.

In Surprise, Ford-UAW Bargaining Continues Past Contract Deadline

Los Angeles Times
DEARBORN, Mich.

Bargainers for the United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Co. failed Saturday night to reach an agreement on a new contract but continued negotiating past the midnight deadline.

Both sides remained confident that a deal could be worked out without a work stoppage.

"Talks are continuing actively between the negotiating teams," Ford spokesman Jon Harmon said late Saturday. "Important issues remain unresolved, but the tone of the discussion remains constructive."

Negotiations bogged down over economic and job security issues, a source close to the talks said. Particularly nettlesome is the union's demand that the automakers curtail shipping work out to nonunion suppliers.

It had been expected that the two sides would reach an agreement before the expiration of the current contract, as the tone of this year's talks were unusually civil.

Study Predicts Smoking to Become Leading Cause of Death Worldwide

Los Angeles Times

The first comprehensive, worldwide study of how people die has produced a number of startling findings, including the prediction that within the next 25 years, smoking will become the single largest cause of death and disability in the world.

A five-year study by an international team headquartered at the Harvard University School of Public Health also found that noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes already cause more deaths in the developing world than infectious diseases. This contradicts the prevailing belief that the noncommunicable diseases primarily strike the affluent.

The study, to be released Monday, found that depression, also thought to be largely associated with affluence, accounts for a full 10 percent of productive years lost throughout the world.

Slightly more than 50 million people died in 1990, the base year for the report. Worldwide, one out of every three died from either communicable diseases, childbirth or malnutrition. Virtually all of those deaths were in developing regions. One out of every 10 deaths resulted from injuries caused by accidents, wars, suicides and homicides. About 55.8 percent of all deaths were from noncommunicable diseases, a proportion that is expected to jump to 73 percent by 2020.