EVENTS

AIRLINES GIVEN GO-AHEAD FOR PRICE WAR Airlines got the go-ahead for another bruising price war if they dare after a jury cleared American Airlines of illegally trying to drive its competitors out of business with its cut-rate fares. The federal jury in Galveston, Texas, deliberated less than three hours Tuesday before rejecting claims by Continental and Northwest that American had cut fares below cost in what is known as "predatory" pricing. American, the nation's largest airline, had said it merely tried to simplify fares and generate profits.

Some industry observers predicted Continental and Northwest will now offer additional discounts, on the theory that they postponed fare cuts this summer because of the trial. US fighter crashes

A United States F-16 fighter crashed into the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia after suffering mechanical failure yesterday, a NATO spokesman said.

The plane was part of a NATO operation enforcing a no-fly zone over the skies of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The spokesman said the pilot ejected safely and was not reported badly injured. The NATO spokesman said the accident occurred as the plane returned to the Aviano Air Base in northeast Italy. UN kills seven Somalis

UN forces killed seven Somali gunmen who shot at a surveillance helicopter, the UN said yesterday, as militias of wanted warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed intensified an offensive against peacekeepers.

This week, attacks on the UN have included mortars and hit-and-run small arms strikes. Four US soldiers were killed Sunday when their vehicle was bombed. Israel-PLO meeting

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's spokesman confirmed yesterday he had approved Environment Minister Yossi Sarid's meeting with a senior Palestinian Liberation Organization official in Cairo, but said the minister did not act for the government.

Israel, which is negotiating interim self-government with local representatives of the nearly 2 million Palestinians in the occupied territories, lifted a ban on private contacts with the PLO in January. Rebels seize Russians

The Tajik government said yesterday that four Russian soldiers and a Kazakh officer guarding Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan had been captured by guerrillas in a raid from across the border. A Foreign Ministry statement described it as an attempt to disrupt peace talks between the two central Asian states and demanded that Afghanistan return the five. Tajikistan's ex-communist government is battling Tajik rebels from rival clans, who receive support from Islamic guerrillas from Afghanistan. Japan affirms nuclear treaty

The new government of Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa's has signaled support for an indefinite extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, news reports said yesterday.

Earlier this year Japanese officials, citing a possible nuclear threat from Stalinist North Korea, showed reluctance about agreeing to an indefinite extension of the treaty, which is due to expire in 1995. France lowers rates

France took its biggest step yet to lower interest rates yesterday after the virtual float of the franc in Europe's currency grid nine days ago. The Bank of France lowered the rate at which it offers commercial banks funds overnight by half a percentage point to 9.25 percent.

The French economy is bogged down in recession, and unemployment, already at a record 11.6 percent, is still rising. Twitchell ruling reversed

In Boston, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Wednesday threw out the conviction of a Christian Science couple in the 1986 death of their 2-1/2-year-old son. David and Ginger Twitchell had been convicted in 1990 of involuntary manslaughter after their son, Robyn, died after receiving Christian Science spriritual treatment in lieu of medical care.

In a 6-to-1 decision, the court said the verdicts should be set aside, and left it to the Suffolk County district attorney's office to decide whether there should be a new trial in the case.

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