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MAINTAINING TRADITION ON MEMORIAL DAY Memorial Day held special meaning this year for many veterans who helped turn the tide of World War II in the D-Day invasion 50 years ago. But many wondered whether their sacrifices had been long forgotten. While millions of people fired up backyard barbecues and hit the beaches, New York City's 73-year-old Memorial Day parade was canceled for lack of interest. ``We must be the guardians of the freedom that was delivered to us,'' President Clinton told about 200 guests at the White House yesterday, including leaders of 20 veterans organizations and 73 World War II veterans. Meanwhile, hundreds of World War II veterans spent Sunday aboard the Queen Elizabeth II in New York City, preparing for a trip across the Atlantic to D-Day commemorations in Normandy June 6.

Rwanda cease-fire talks

Rebels cut off the Army's last avenue of retreat from Rwanda's capital yesterday, just hours before the two sides began UN-mediated talks on a cease-fire. Small arms fire near the UN headquarters in Kigali delayed the start of the talks briefly, UN spokesman Abdul Kabia said.

Intertribal massacres have shattered a cease-fire that the government, dominated by the majority Hutus, and the Tutsi-led rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front signed in Tanzania last August. Missile diplomacy ends

Russia and the United States are no longer aiming strategic nuclear missiles at each other's territory, Sergei Yushenkov, a Russian parliament leader announced yesterday during a meeting with members of the US Senate. The Russian-American agreement to stop aiming long-range nuclear missiles at one another's countries was reached during President Clinton's visit to Moscow in January. It was later joined by Britain. Clinton job rating dips

President Clinton's job-approval rating dropped this month to its lowest level since August 1993, a poll indicates. Forty-two percent of Americans now give Clinton a positive rating, down from 48 percent in early April, according to a Harris Poll released Sunday. His negative rating rose to 56 percent, from 51 percent in April. Erich Honecker

Erich Honecker, who ruled East Germany with an iron fist for 18 years and supervised the creation of the Berlin Wall, died Sunday at his home in exile in Chile. Honecker moved to Chile in January 1993 after a court in reunified Germany ruled that he was too ill to stand trial for the killings of those shot trying to cross the wall into then West Germany.

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