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ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

Japan's new securities watchdog commission began work yesterday. It will watch for stock-market violations such as insider trading, stock price manipulation, and payments made to compensate favored clients for market losses. It is modeled on the US Securities and Exchange Commission, but critics say it will have far less autonomy.... Japan's Nikkei Stock Average yesterday plunged 663.59 points to 15,884.48 over concerns about the stalled economy and poor corporate earnings, stock traders said. The figure

is near the 73-month closing low of 15,741.27 recorded June 29. EUROPE

In Amsterdam, more than 10,000 scientists, policymakers, activists, and AIDS patients have gathered this week for the eighth International Conference on AIDS. Yesterday, AIDS and gay rights activists protested in front of the US and other consulates against visa restrictions for people diagnosed as having the virus. The conference, originally planned for Boston, was moved to Amsterdam because the US restricts entry to people diagnosed as having AIDS. US immigration rules do not completely bar the entry of AIDS-infected people, but restrict them to a 30-day stay to conduct business, see relatives, or obtain medical treatment. ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

The Democratic Voice of Burma began radio broadcasts from Norway on Sunday, marking the third anniversary of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest. Kyi, who was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1991, began her fourth year of house arrest yesterday.

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