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EARTHQUAKE DEVASTATES REGION IN INDIA An earthquake destroyed thousands of homes across southwestern India yesterday, killing more than 6,200 people and injuring more than 10,000 others, N. Ragunathan, chief secretary of the western state of Maharahstra, said. The series of tremors, the strongest of which measured 6.4 on the open-ended Richter scale, were the worst to hit the region in more than half a century. The quake was so strong it was felt some 600 miles away in Madras, on India's opposite coast, and in the southern city of Bangalore. Spy suspects detained

A secretary who worked 13 years in the offices of Germany's chancellor was arrested on suspicion of spying for former East Germany, the federal prosecutor said yesterday. The secretary and her husband, a city official in Cologne, were detained Wednesday; their names were not released. The arrests stemmed from a delivery by the CIA of 2,000 secret East German documents involving influential West Germans. Palestinians strike

About 800,000 Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank observed a commercial strike called by the PLO's Fatah group yesterday to protest Israel's arrest of Black Panther commander Ahmed Awad Ikmail and several followers at his hideout near his hometown of Qabatyeh. It was the first strike by Fatah since the PLO and Israel signed a historic deal Sept. 13 for Palestinian self-rule. Nigerians strike

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Nigeria began a second round of pro-democracy protests yesterday in an attempt to compel the military-installed interim government to cede power to thwarted presidential candidate Moshood Abiola. The three-day protest organized by the Campaign for Democracy affected mainly southwestern Nigeria. On Wednesday police fired tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators who gathered in different parts of the city before marching to the state governor's office. Health care poll

Almost two-thirds of those polled on President Clinton's health care plan are willing to pay $100 more in taxes each year to secure health coverage for all Americans. About 30 percent representing more than 55 million adults remain unsure whether they support the program, but the rest favor it 2 to 1, according to an Associated Press poll. The poll found 48 percent in favor and 22 percent opposed, a measure of the success of the sales campaign that began with Clinton's televised speech Sept. 22. The telephone poll of 1,004 adults was taken by ICR Survey Research Group, part of AUS Consultants. Results have a margin sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Abkhazians make gains

Abkhazian separatists, building on their capture of Sukhumi, yesterday swept southward along the Black Sea coast and captured the port city of Ochamcheria, Georgian military officials said.

The separatists controlled more than 75 percent of the region on the Black Sea coast, although there were still small pockets of Georgian resistance, including some inside Sukhumi, a Georgian military spokesman said. Super collider saved

The Senate voted yesterday to rescue the multibillion dollar superconducting super collider. Senators voted 57-42 to beat back the attempt to kill the huge Texas atom smasher, leaving intact all $640 million President Clinton wants for next year. The roll call was crucial because a deficit-reduction hungry House had voted to terminate the program in June. The two chambers will not have to strike a compromise. Major league race

The tightest race in baseball heads into the season's final weekend with the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants battling to clinch the last available playoff berth. Atlanta begins a three-game series at home against the Colorado Rockies tonight, while the Giants finish out on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Whoever wins the National League West race will face the Philadelphia Phillies in the league championship series. In the American League, the defending World Series champion Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox secured playoff berths earlier in the week.

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