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MIDDLE EAST

The UN Security Council has decided to continue economic sanctions against Iraq because of Saddam Hussein's defiance of UN resolutions.... Reuters reports that fighting in eastern Algeria and an escalation of the political confrontation have brought Algeria's new military-backed presidency and its Muslim fundamentalist opponents close to civil war. UNITED STATES

UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali scheduled talks between combatants in Somalia's civil war for New York on Feb. 12.... The US may accelerate the phaseout of the worst ozone-damaging chemicals to 1997, a date already chosen by the European Community, the Washington Post reported.... Maureen Reagan, daughter of former US President Ronald Reagan, is a Republican candidate for a US congressional seat in southern California. EUROPE

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France and Russia, having achieved understanding on nuclear weapons, signed a dozen practical agreements on finance, energy, security, and culture yesterday; and Presidents Francois Mitterrand and Boris Yeltsin will sign a formal friendship treaty in Paris today. ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

An Antarctic base run by Greenpeace for the past six years will close because the conservation group believes a new world treaty for the continent protects its pristine nature.... Thai soldiers armed with scythes invaded an isolated 25-acre poppy field by helicopter and soon left behind just a scattering of red petals. Since November, troops from Thailand have destroyed more than 4,500 acres of opium fields in northern provinces near the infamous Golden Triangle.

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