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JAPAN BUYS AMERICAN RICE Japan this week bought American rice for its dinner tables for the first time in more than 25 years, a United States rice industry group said Wednesday. The US Rice Millers Association said the Japanese Food Agency bought about 15,000 metric tons of milled California rice, and said it expected a stream of additional purchases that should gain momentum in the next year. Japanese officials have played down the significance of the move, calling it an emergency measure brought about by bad weather in Japan. Pakistanis to Somalia

Pakistan said yesterday it would send 1,500 more troops to Somalia in response to a request from the United Nations. Pakistan already has about 5,000 troops in Somalia, the largest single contingent in the UN peacekeeping forces there. China's errant satellite

A wayward satellite carrying a diamond-studded Chairman Mao medallion will not fall to earth for six months and is not carrying a nuclear reactor as some Western scientists fear, China said yesterday. Advance notice of its reentry will be given, the Chinese space agency said. Rebels under siege

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Georgian government troops, picking off rebel-held towns one by one, advanced to within 10 miles of the last opposition stronghold and issued an ultimatum to surrender, state radio said yesterday. The radio quoted the defense ministry as saying government troops were closing in on Zugdidi, the last bastion of rebel forces trying to restore former president Zviad Gamsakhurdia to power. Ruling for women priests

The Church of England won a high court victory yesterday that cleared the way for the ordination of women priests. Two judges rejected a bid by the Church Society, a conservative evangelical organization, to block proposed legislation that, if approved by parliament, would lead to the historic change. Economic growth picks up

A pickup in spending by consumers pushed the pace of US economic growth strongly higher in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said yesterday. In its initial look at national output during the three months from July through September, the department said gross domestic product expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate its best quarterly performance this year. Apology made to Hawaiians

The US Senate apologized Wednesday for the invasion of the island kingdom of Hawaii a century ago. The Senate voted 65 to 34 to adopt a resolution saying US diplomats conspired with the Navy to invade Hawaii in 1893. The bloodless coup led by nine Americans toppled Queen Liliuokalani. The Republic of Hawaii was established a year later, and the US annexed the islands in 1898. Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959. TV's Barney praised

Public television's ``Barney & Friends'' is ``nearly a model of what a preschool program should be,'' researchers at Yale University's Family Television Research and Consultation Center said Wednesday. Though adults love to bash Barney the purple dinosaur, the program provides ``just the kind of unconditional love small children crave,'' the researchers said. Their conclusions could have profound implications for daytime television if Congress adopts their recommendations for establishing a new educational public channel devoted to preparing children for school. Packwood diaries at issue

After resisting a negotiated settlement, a determined Senate Ethics Committee has been granted a wide-open debate next week on enforcing its unprecedented subpoena for the diaries of Sen. Bob Packwood (R) of Oregon. More than two dozen women former Senate employees, lobbyists, and acquaintances have accused Mr. Packwood of making unwanted sexual advances. Remember to `fall back'

Daylight savings time ends Sunday at 2 a.m. Remember to set your clocks back one hour before turning in Saturday night. Fire safety experts recommend checking smoke-detector batteries at this time.

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