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UNITED STATES AND CANADA

Half the public now disapproves of President Bush's job performance and believes Democrats will do much better in dealing with the economy and helping the middle class, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Feb. 3.... The government will make public Feb. 7 Dow Corning documents that caused the Food and Drug Administration to order a halt in sales of silicone breast implants. The papers reportedly question the adequacy of testing.... President Bush has defended Japanese Prime Minister Kii chi Miyazawa, saying Japan's leader did not intend to malign all US workers when he chided Americans for lacking a proper work ethic.... Despite expectations of a delay in the North American Free Trade Agreement, US Trade Representative Carla Hills said Feb. 3 that an accord could be presented for approval before the US's November elections.... Top Upjohn Company officials were named in a class-action suit Feb. 3 accusing them of concealing problems associated with the sleeping drug Halcion.... The Canadian

post office reports that it handled more than a million letters addressed to Santa Claus last Christmas. MIDDLE EAST

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Algeria's new leader has offered a choice of peace or war to the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front, whose militants have been fighting running battles with security forces since Feb. 1. But diplomats said there was little likelihood of the front backing down or of a dialogue developing.... Yasser Arafat has married 28-year-old Suha Tawil, one of his advisers on economic affairs, Arab diplomatic sources said Feb. 4. EUROPE

Russia intends to sell part of its billion-dollar weapons stockpile on the international arms market, the Independent newspaper in London reported Feb. 4. It said the Russian government would create a sales organization to channel the arms onto world markets, sometimes through middlemen in the West.... European Community foreign ministers fear that emergency aid plans for the former Soviet Union are not helping lesser-known cities with acute needs - particularly those entirely dependent on the military s ector - and that a basic approach of supplementing EC grants with credits has broken down.... Former Finance Minister Albert Reynolds has won the backing of most deputies and half the Cabinet in the leadership race to replace Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey. LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

President Carlos Menem has signed a decree to make public police and government files on suspected Nazi war criminals who fled to Argentina during and after World War II.... Rearmed former contra rebels and discharged Sandinista soldiers continued disbanding their forces Feb. 3, with 800 fighters laying down their rifles in a northern Nicaragua ceremony.

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