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SOMALIA TROOPS HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS US Army helicopter pilot Michael Durant, who was shot down and held captive in Somalia, returned to his boyhood home Saturday and was greeted by 750 cheering, flag-waving people. ``It's an incredible welcome home. To see so many faces out there that I haven't seen in a long time, it's something I can't describe,'' he said. Mr. Durant walked with a slight limp, a reminder of the injuries he sustained in October. In another homecoming, nearly 450 soldiers returned from Somalia to a hero's welcome Saturday at New York's Fort Drum, thankful to be home in time for Christmas. The Army chief of staff, Gen. Gordon Sullivan, told the returning troops they represented ``the proudest traditions of the US Army.'' Tajikistan leader resigns

Tajikistan Prime Minister Abdumalik Abdulajanov, under pressure over the former Soviet republic's growing economic problems, has resigned, a spokesman said Saturday. The impoverished former Soviet republic is still reeling from last year's civil war. Troy, meet Bart

The popular Dallas Cowboys quarterback and the cartoon character will soon share a home network. On Friday the National Football League chose Fox Television to carry its lucrative NFC package starting next year. That puts such marquee teams as the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers on the network that gave viewers ``The Simpsons'' and takes it from CBS, which has carried the games for four decades. Television contracts between pro football and all its carriers expire at the end of this season. Negotiations are ongoing. China-US apple deal

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US and Chinese representatives signed an agreement Saturday to allow the export of apples grown in the state of Washington to China, the Agriculture Department announced. ``For the first time, China is allowing American apples in commercial quantities into that country,'' Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy said. The first sale is expected in March. Guinea election turmoil

Guinea's first free election was heading for chaos as the opposition announced Saturday it would go all out to disrupt yesterday's voting. Many have appealed in vain to President Lansana Conte to postpone the first election since independence in 1958.

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