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Former President Ronald Reagan has vehemently denied stating doubts about President Bush's presidential campaign, saying press reports that he feels Bush doesn't "stand for anything" are "absolutely fallacious." But Reagan did not attend a fund-raiser for Bush on Tuesday, held only a short distance from Reagan's home.... New claims for state jobless benefits rose 7,000 for the week ending Feb. 15, to a seasonally adjusted 459,000, the US Labor Department said yesterday. EUROPE
Roman Catholic Ireland may now have to lift its blanket ban on abortion after the Supreme Court there allowed a teenage rape victim to have an abortion in Britain, opposition politicians said.... The United States has asked its NATO allies to pay more toward the costs of supply depots and other installations in Europe.... Fighting between Armenians and Azeris broke an hours-old cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh yesterday, reviving a threat of full-scale war.... Heads of parliaments in the new Commonwealth o f Independent States met for the first time yesterday to try to work out a legal framework for cooperation in several key areas. Three republics, including Ukraine and Belarus, are sending only deputy parliamentary speakers. The commonwealth, which replaced the Soviet Union and brings together 11 out of 15 former republics, has a number of internal disputes. ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
Vietnam and Laos will take a first step toward closer ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations by signing an accord with the regional body in July.... The US Navy will start using a Malaysian dockyard at Lumut, on the Straits of Malacca, for ship repairs in April.