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EUROPE AND THE SOVIET UNIONIsrael opened its new embassy in Moscow yesterday, ending a 24-year diplomatic breach.... Germany and Britain plan to set up joint diplomatic missions in the independent Soviet republics as a first step toward pooling much of their embassy work abroad, The Times of London said yesterday. AFRICA World cricket officials gave South Africa the go-ahead Wednesday to play in the World Cup early next year, the first time since 1970.... The software firm Lotus Development Corporation entered the South African market Wednesday and pledged 1 million rands annually ($350,000) to expand business development in disadvantaged communities.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC China has released two Protestant church pastors from prison on the grounds of their old age, said John Kamm, formerly a prominent businessman in Hong Kong. He discovered the two had been released when he visited a maximum-security prison in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong Wednesday. Kamm said the two gained freedom under an administrative order of the Ministry of Justice in coordination with the Ministry of Public Security, not through the courts.... The premiers of North and South Korea end ed talks in Seoul yesterday with an agreement to draft a nonaggression pact, the first major progress since their meetings began 14 months ago.... Toshiba said yesterday it may join forces with Siemens AG of Germany and Integrated Device Technology of Santa Clara, Calif. to develop, produce, and sell semiconductors. The companies are aiming to reduce costs and avoid trade friction.... Japan's Princess Kiko gave birth late Wednesday to a baby girl, making Emperor Akihito a grandfather for the first time. A c ommoner, Princess Kiko captivated the nation in June 1990 when she married Prince Akishino, the younger son of Akihito and Empress Michiko.... Australia will ban the import and sale of certain guns after public disquiet over a shooting massacre in a Sydney shopping center in which eight people were killed, Justice Minister Michael Tate said yesterday.

ENVIRONMENT AND SCIENCE A more efficient kind of solar cell could make the energy saving technology practical in widespread use. The cell is made from relatively low-technology, thus low-cost, materials and has proved highly energy efficient in laboratory tests, Swiss researchers Brian O'Regan and Michael Gratzel reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.

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LOOKING AHEAD Saturday: School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University tries to break a record by making and baking a two-ton lasagna. Sunday: US returns to standard time. Parliamentary elections will be held in Poland.

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