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EUROPE The Czechoslovak parliament decided Wednesday to postpone for a week a decision on whether to hold a referendum calling for free election of a new president. Secretary of State James Baker III told a NATO meeting yesterday the organization still has a vital role to play despite changes in Eastern Europe. IRA guerrillas attacked a British army post Wednesday night, killing two soldiers. Communists in the Yugoslav republic of Croatia Wednesday endorsed multiparty elections in a move that could increase tensions with the Serbian republic.

UNITED STATES

Gunner's Mate 3rd Class Kendall Truitt told a congressional panel Wednesday the Navy investigation of the April explosion on the battleship USS Iowa was a ``coverup.'' Angry Boston public school teachers staged a one-day strike yesterday to protest the city's refusal to fund a new three-year contract. Meanwhile, Standard & Poors Wednesday dropped Massachusetts' bond rating to the lowest in the nation, citing the state's budget crisis. The US Justice Department Wednesday accepted changes to the New York City Charter approved by voters last month. The previous charter was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court.

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LATIN AMERICA

A Salvadoran judge Wednesday released jailed US church worker Jennifer Casolo, who had been charged with aiding Salvadoran leftist rebels. She was immediately deported to the US. Nicaraguan contra military chief Enrique Berm'udez told UPI Wednesday the new Central American peace agreement was ``positive,'' but said he would not disband the contras until after negotiations that would ensure the safety of his troops.

ASIA

Thousands of Vietnamese boat people marched for a second day to protest their imminent forced repatriation from Hong Kong, but British authorities said flights could resume before Christmas. Suspected Philippine army rebels attacked the home of a US diplomat and a US embassy housing complex in Manila yesterday. The attack came as the Philippine Senate approved emergency powers for President Corazon Aquino, but rejected her request for legislative powers. Security sources in Sri Lanka said yesterday at least 315 people died this week in separate civil wars among the nation's Sinhalese and Tamil ethnic groups.

SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT

The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it is finding slightly less pesticides in food, but environmentalists claimed FDA's samples were too small. The maiden flight of a commercial Titan 3 rocket has now been rescheduled for Monday after the launch of the space shuttle Columbia was postponed by two days. The National Geographic Society will announce today the discovery of 225 million-year-old reptile fossils, said to be unique in the Northern Hemisphere, in a woods south of Richmond, Va.

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