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UNITED STATES

Former US Rep. Millicent Fenwick (R) of New Jersey, who fought for civil rights and campaign spending curbs while in office, died yesterday.... Rep. Walter B. Jones (D) of North Carolina, who is credited with invigorating the moribund House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, died Tuesday.... High school dropout rates are declining for blacks and whites but not for Hispanics, the government said yesterday.... House and Senate conferees Tuesday approved $517 million for the $8.25 billion supercollide r. A few months ago the physics project was in danger of being scrapped. ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

US industrial production fell 0.5 percent in August, the government said yesterday, due in part to the effects of Hurricane Andrew and a strike at a General Motors parts plant.... Business sales rose .8 percent in July to a record level, the Commerce Department said yesterday. Inventories inched up .1 percent in a second straight advance.... Employment in the US armed forces and defense industries has dropped by nearly 450,000 since 1985 and an additional half-million jobs could be lost in the fiscal yea r that begins Oct. 1, a General Accounting Office study said.... Trying to save the battered Krona, the Swedish central bank said yesterday it would raise the marginal interest rate to a record 500 percent. It had retreated from 75 to 20 percent for the previous two days.... Italian stock prices crashed in near panic selling yesterday as investors sought to flee the European economic turmoil. Meanwhile, the Italian prime minister yesterday proposed an unprecedented freeze on government spending.... OPEC min isters met yesterday to plan oil production that would raise prices $2, to $21 per barrel.

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