NAFTA MEETING ENDS WITHOUT AGREEMENT The United States, Mexico, and Canada wrapped up top-level talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement Aug. 9 after failing yet again to break a bitter impasse over trade sanctions. No more ministerial meetings were announced and the three trade teams left the closed-door talks in taciturn spirits. In last year's election campaign, candidate Bill Clinton endorsed NAFTA but insisted on extra safeguards to ward against import surges and protect workers' rights and the environment, including possible use of sanctions. Deputies will work further on the contentious side deals, which are now threatening the entire pact. German troop accord near

Germany's opposition Social Democrats (SPD) have begun to clear the way for a compromise with Chancellor Helmut Kohl that would let German troops join combat missions abroad for the first time since World War II.

SPD spokeswoman Cornelie Sonntag said on Aug. 10 the party had agreed German soldiers should be allowed to join a United Nations-run mission even if fighting was necessary to ensure its success. This marked a departure for the center-left SPD, which has tried to thwart Mr. Kohl's plans to expand Germany's military role to UN peacekeeping missions. Angolan rebels seize city

The Angolan rebel movement UNITA said on Aug. 10 it had seized part of the city of Quito, where the government claims rebel shelling has killed more than 200 civilians in the past few days. In the nearby rebel capital of Huambo, government air raids have killed more than 200 civilians over the past week, the radio reported.

UNITA signed a peace agreement with the government in 1991 to end the civil war, which had raged since independence from Portugal in 1975. But UNITA returned to the bush after rejecting its defeat by the government in UN-supervised elections last September. Typhoon slashes Japan

Typhoon Robyn, packing winds of up to 90 m.p.h. and dumping heavy rain, tore through southwestern Japan and skirted South Korea's coast on Aug. 10, police said. The typhoon touched off mudslides and floods in Japan, killing at least two people and injuring 37.

In South Korea, rains inundated farms and left hundreds homeless. Winds and rains unleashed landslides that killed three in rural areas near Ulsan, 192 miles southeast of Seoul, police said. One man was killed in high winds in the southern port city of Pusan. US productivity slides

The productivity of American workers fell at a 2.5 percent annual rate from April through June, the largest decline in more than four years, the government said on Aug. 10.

Productivity helps boost living standards by containing inflationary pressures. Continued gains tend to keep labor costs down. Labor costs represent about two-thirds of the cost of a product. Saturn recalls cars

The US-based Saturn Corporation is recalling practically every car it has built to fix a wiring problem that has caused at least 34 engine fires. The recall involves 352,767 cars from model years 1991, 1992, and part of 1993. Saturn says it has fixed the problem in the cars built since April 15.

In a letter to Saturn owners, Saturn President Richard G. Lefauve said a short-circuit in the generator could cause a fire to break out without warning under the hood, with or without the engine running. The repairs could cost Saturn about $8 million. Bush war record questioned

Harper's Magazine said Aug. 9 that a World War II document indicated that former President Bush may have committed a war crime when he was a bomber pilot and that the US press declined to report the document's existence during the 1992 presidential campaign.

The document is a previously classified account of a bombing run in the South Pacific in which a Japanese trawler was sunk by US Navy planes, including a bomber piloted by Mr. Bush. After the trawler was sunk, the document says that the bombers then strafed lifeboats. A spokesman for Bush said the ex-president would have no comment on the report.

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