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UNITED STATESPresident Bush said the United States was doing everything possible to win the release of hostages in Lebanon. A pro-Iranian Muslim cleric said yesterday one of 12 Western hostages in Lebanon may be a special envoy that Lebanese kidnappers have promised to send to the United Nations in 48 hours. Six Americans are being held by militant Muslim groups in Lebanon.... In Wichita, Kan., three weeks of protests and mass arrests at abortion clinics subsided Tuesday after a federal judge threatened heavy fines a nd jail sentences for anyone who blocked access to the clinics.... America's flight to the suburbs is having a devastating effect on its flora and fauna. A research forester for the US Forest Service said an influx of new homes into wooded areas is destroying wildlife habitat and increasing air and water pollution. EUROPE An explosion rocked a North Sea oil platform yesterday and the operators evacuated some workers, industry sources said. The operators of the Fulmar platform, Shell Expro, said only that there had been an incident and that production was shut down.... Germany has withdrawn from a program to develop an electronic warfare system for the four-nation European Fighter Aircraft project, the Financial Times reported yesterday. The move cast further doubt on Germany's commitment to the $40 billion project to prod uce one of NATO's next generation of warplanes. ASIA AND THE PACIFIC The human rights group Amnesty International yesterday urged Philippines senators to vote against reintroducing the death penalty for drug-related offenses. Amnesty said the death penalty for drug offenses has not slowed drug use in other countries, such as Malaysia.... Burma's biggest floods in 50 years yesterday submerged seven towns and left more than 200,000 people homeless in the Irrawaddy division. The floods were caused by a week of rain in the Irrawaddy River delta, south of Rangoon..... Chinese police yesterday smashed a gang who robbed train passengers to finance a drug-smuggling operation. Beijing railway police arrested 52 members of the gang in what is part of an overall effort to combat increased opium and heroin smuggling and use. LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN In Argentina, US Vice President Dan Quayle cautioned South Americans Tuesday against protectionism in efforts to form a regional common market, adding the US is pursuing a free-trade zone for the entire hemisphere.... Peru's Senate Tuesday night approved the creation of a special panel to investigate alleged wrongdoing in connection with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.... Peru has also created a human rights office to receive complaints and reports of abuses linked to members of the securi ty forces.

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