The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 12, 1986 · Page 5
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 5

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, January 12, 1986
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Page 5
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Nation/World The Sallna Journal Sunday, January 12,1986 Page 5 1 Coca growers leave camp of officers LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) Most of the estimated 17,000 coca leaf farmers encircling a camp of 245 narcotics officers quit their siege Saturday and military intervention will not be needed, officials said. Edgar Merwin, Washington's adviser to the U.S.- financed narcotics unit, said fewer than 100 growers still surrounded the elite "Leopards" police camp, although roads to the camp remained blocked and farming leaders threatened violence if the police did not leave the area. The officers have been trapped in their remote camp in central Bolivia since Tuesday by coca farmers angered by the government campaign to disrupt cocaine production. Cocaine is made from the coca leaf. The farmers also contend that two drunken officers raped a local woman. Leaders of the local fanners federation said in a statement released to reporters Saturday that "acts of violence and confrontations may result if the Leopards remain in the area and continue committing abuses." But Col. Guido Lopez, Bolivia's top narcotics officer, said that because fewer coca leaf farmers were manning roadblocks cutting off the Leopards from food supplies, there was no need for military intervention. The police camp is at Iv- argazama, a village in Bolivia's tropical Chapare region. The government had said Friday it might send troops to rescue the police. But Lopez said on Saturday: "It is no longer necessary to send troops because farmers are returning to their normal activities." Merwin said the roadblocks were now manned mainly by drug traffickers, and growers were losing interest. "There is no doubt cocaine traffickers are behind the blockade," said Merwin, who has maintained regular radio contact with the Leopards camp. Hard luck Columbia readied again CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) A forecast of improved weather brightened NASA's hopes that it could launch the hard luck space shuttle Columbia and its crew of seven today after a frustrating series of delays. "The weather looks good, and we're going to go for it," Lisa Malone, a spokeswoman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said Saturday. The launch of the remodeled shuttle on its first flight in more than two years had been postponed seven times, four times in the last week. If Columbia misses today's launch time, set for 5:55 a.m., officials fear it could disrupt NASA's busy schedule of 15 shuttle launches planned this year. Meteorologists said there should be scattered and broken cloud layers in the launch area, with no rain, and visibility of seven miles. A fierce rainstorm erased a launch attempt Friday, and the same weather sys- Reagan insists on no tax increase WASHINGTON (AP) — President Reagan pledged Saturday to stand by his promise of no tax increase as his administration grapples with the deficit-reduction demands of the budget-balancing law passed by Congress with his support. Delivering his weekly radio address from the weekend presidential retreat at Camp David, Md., Reagan also said he will continue to' 'insist on the maintenance of a strong national defense as the first duty of government to the people." Some analysts have questioned whether the administration will be able to stick to its goal of a 3 percent growth in defense spending and still meet the deficit-reduction goals of the five-year Gramm-Rudman Act without a tax increase. "I will continue to say that as far as I am concerned a tax increase is out. I furthermore intend to insist on the maintenance of a strong national defense as the first duty of government to the people," Reagan said. "Instead our administration will meet its Gramm-Rudman-Hollings obligations by submitting budgets which eliminate government inefficiency and curtail needless expenses like vast amounts for Amtrak and subsidies for those who don't need them." Senate group seeks more details on MIAs WASHINGTON (AP) — The leader of a congressional delegation says he takes with him "the voice of the American people" when he travels to Vietnam this week to press for more answers about the fate of U.S. servicemen missing in Indochina. Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, departs Monday leading the first official Senate delegation to Hanoi since the end of the Vietnam War. Previous congressional trips have been conducted by House members. As chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Murkowski also plans hearings on possible recent sightings of live Americans in Southeast Asia when he returns from his nine-day journey. The senator, who has 60,000 veterans, more than 10 percent of Alaska's population, in his sparsely populated state, said "I am not without a reasonable doubt there could be some live Americans held in Vietnam." Accompanying him to Vietnam, Laos and Thailand are Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz., and Reps. Michael Bilirakis, R-Fla., and Bob McEwen, R-Ohio, who serve on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee. DeConcini, whose Arizona constituents include the families of about 200 servicemen still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, said he opposes any normalization of relations with Vietnam until MIA questions are answered to U.S. satisfaction. "That is a sensitive issue here and in my opinion the Vietnamese have been very callous about it," said DeConcini. "I think now they realize that unless they come to terms with it there is little hope of normalization." En route to Hanoi, the delegation will stop at Clark Air Force Base outside Manila for a briefing on the Feb. 7 presidential election in the Philippines. Murkowski's fact-finding mission follows the visit of a high-ranking Reagan Administration team that met last week in Hanoi with Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach. The Vietnamese told that delegation they hope to resolve the issue of Americans missing in Vietnam and off its shores before the end of next year. The Vietnamese government also announced it has collected information about 50 servicemen killed in the war, and would turn it over in late February. The two sides discussed future excavations of air crash sites and agreed there was no present need to establish a U.S. MIA liaison office in Hanoi. There are 2,441 Americans listed as missing in action in Indochina. Most — 1,797 men — were reported missing in Vietnam, with 556 unaccounted for in Laos and and the rest lost in Cambodia. Murkowski said he's taking his delegation to Hanoi and Vientiane, Laos, to reinforce the administration's efforts and show the United States' former enemies "the MIA issue is a high priority with the American people and Congress." "We're not going over there to find anybody, or dig up any remains, but we are the voice of the American people," said the first-term Republican. Murkowski is eager to open hearings on the renewed debate concerning possible sightings of live Americans still held in Indochina. 439 S. Broadway OPEN SUNDAYS 10 am-4 pm Shuttle's delays cost about $1 million CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Record delays in launching space shuttle Columbia have cost NASA an estimated $800,000 to $1.2 million in wasted fuel and overtime pay. Space agency officials said last week that each delay that occurs during the final hours of preparing a shuttle for launch costs between $200,000 and $300,000. Jesse Moore, director of the shuttle program, said the major cost is in the loss of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, the rocket propellents that are pumped into the shuttle and then removed when the launch is scrubbed. He said there also "is a small amount of overtime" pay for the technicians preparing equipment for the launch. Launch of Columbia has been delayed a record seven times. Four of those times it was scrubbed at the last minute — on Dec. 19 and Monday, Tuesday and Friday of last week. tern lingered Saturday. The astronauts, including Salina native Steve Hawley, attended a shuttle management meeting Saturday and brushed up on the flight plan for their five-day mission, during which they are to release a communications satellite, conduct more than a dozen experiments and study Halley's comet. Before today's launch date, the crew had boarded Columbia four tunes to wait out countdowns never completed. Twice the count was halted by weather and twice by mechanical problems. The other three postponements were announced before the astronauts got on board. Rep. Bill Nelson, a Democrat who is flying as a congressional observer, said after Friday's scrub that he was "prepared to strap in as many times as it takes." He said NASA would launch Columbia "when everything is right." The other crew members are commander Robert Gibson, pilot Charles Bolden, George Nelson, Franklin Chang-Diaz and Robert Cenker. The ship's three weeks of problems already have forced a one-day postponement, until Jan. 24, of the mission of the shuttle Challenger, on which schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe of Concord, N.H., will be a passenger. Shuttle director Jesse Moore said a failure to get Columbia off by Monday also could mean a delay in that shuttle's next flight. 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