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UNITED STATES

Orders to US factories for durable goods fell 0.1 percent in February. The defense category plunged 19.4 percent and demand weakened for industrial machinery and electrical equipment. In January, such orders had risen 2.4 percent.... Promising billions of dollars in economic benefits, Circus Circus Enterprises, Caesar's World, and Hilton Hotels have proposed a $2 billion casino complex in downtown Chicago. Mayor Richard M. Daley said he endorsed the concept. The project would require changes in state law , acceptable tax deals, and cooperation of city officials in real estate acquisition.... Theodore Briseno, one of four Los Angeles police officers accused of beating Rodney King, further distanced himself from his colleagues when his attorney showed jurors on Tuesday a second point in a videotape when he apparently tried to stop the beating. Briseno will testify against his colleagues.... Donna Redel became the first woman to head a US futures exchange when she beat an independent floor trader Tuesday in a runoff election at Commodity Exchange Inc., or Comex. EUROPE

The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna yesterday insisted that Iraq partly destroy its Al Atheer nuclear plant, saying it does not believe the complex will be used exclusively for civilian purposes, as Baghdad claims. Meanwhile, talks are due to continue in Vienna today between the UN and Iraqi representatives on the resumption of Iraqi oil exports.... The commander of UN peacekeeping forces in Yugoslavia has appealed for an end to worsening violence between Serbs and Croats.... On the first da y of a four-month meeting in Helsinki intended to assert its role in a rapidly evolving continent, the 51-nation Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe decided to sponsor an international conference in Minsk on Nagorno-Karabakh. CSCE officials said even securing approval for the talks from member states Armenia and Azerbaijan - disputants over the troubled area - was an achievement.... Former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, now head of a new four-man State Council in his native Georgi a, has called for a permanent consultative council of the Transcaucasion republics' heads of state and a timetable for the withdrawal of Commonwealth of Independent States forces. He warned that the Caucasus could turn into another Lebanon.... Radiation levels inside a nuclear reactor shut down Tuesday are three times the norm, but the head of Russia's state nuclear team insisted yesterday that there was no danger to the public. ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

China, concerned about ethnic unrest along its borders, is cracking down on dissent in Inner Mongolia, according to the human rights group Asia Watch.... Four pro-military parties agreed in a surprise move yesterday to nominate Narong Wongwan, leader of the Samakkhi Tham Party and a soft-spoken former businessman, as Thailand's 19th prime minister.

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