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NUCLEAR TEST BAN EXTENDED President Clinton extended a moratorium on US nuclear weapons testing for a year, through September 1995, the White House announced March 15. The current moratorium was to expire at the end of this September. Among the factors leading to the extension, said White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, was restraint showed by other nuclear powers ``in not responding to China's nuclear test last October with tests of their own.'' Resuming the tests, while ``improving the safety and reliability of the US arsenal,'' would send the wrong signal around the world, Myers suggested. US trade deficit soars

The broadest measure of the US trade deficit jumped by $42.84 billion in 1993 to the highest level in five years, the government reported on March 15. The 1993 shortfall in the US current account totaled $109.24 billion, the largest gap since a $127.2 billion deficit in 1988. The current account is considered the broadest measure of America's trade competitiveness because it tracks not only trade in merchandise but also trade in services and investment flows between the US and other nations. US inflation jumps

Wholesale prices shot up 0.5 percent in February, the biggest jump in 10 months, the US government said March 15 in a report reflecting the effects of the winter freeze on heating costs. The increase in its Producer Price Index was the largest since a similar 0.5 percent advance last April and included the steepest increase in energy prices in more than three years. If prices continued to rise at the February pace, it would give the country an inflation rate at the wholesale level of 4.4 percent. New US Navy chief

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Adm. Jeremy Boorda, who oversaw NATO's first offensive action in more than 40 years, now must take on a US Navy battered by the Tailhook sex-abuse scandal and shrinking in size. President Clinton announced March 14 he had nominated Admiral Boorda to take over from Adm. Frank Kelso as chief of naval operations. Boorda is the first sailor to have risen through the enlisted ranks to become the Navy's chief of naval operations. Zhirinovksy's message

Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky met privately with former US President Richard Nixon March 15 and gave him an undisclosed message to deliver to US President Clinton. Messrs. Zhirinovsky and Nixon discussed US-Russia relations and various political problems. Nixon had been expected to meet with Russian President Boris Yeltsin until a row surfaced over Nixon's meeting last week with former Vice President Alexander Rutskoi, a leader of last fall's uprising against the Yeltsin government. Independent's new owners

The European Commission said on March 15 that it had approved plans for Spanish, Italian, and British interests to buy Britain's Newspaper Publishing, publisher of the Independent and Independent Sunday newspapers. The consortium includes Spain's Promotora de Informaciones SA, publisher of El Pais, and Editoriale L'Espresso SpA, publisher of the Italian daily La Republica. Their British partners are tabloid publisher Mirror Group Newspapers Plc and the Independent's founders.

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