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Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for the first time yesterday outlined a plan for a limited pullback on the Golan Heights for three years to test the prospects for peace with Syria. ''Our position is that -- in the first stage -- there will be a very slight withdrawal, if possible without uprooting a single settlement,'' Mr. Rabin's office quoted him as telling his Cabinet. Only after three years could there be a discussion of a more significant withdrawal from the Heights, which Israel captured from S yria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israeli-Syrian peace talks have been stuck for nearly three years over the Heights, with Syria demanding a full withdrawal. Rabin has in the past accepted a limited pullback but refused to say how far ultimately he would withdraw until Syria agreed to full relations, including open borders, embassies, and trade.

Allies leave Berlin

Forty-nine years after marching victoriously into demolished Berlin, the three Western allies got a fond farewell yesterday with ceremonies that closed the book on the cold war. Nearly 10 hours of festivities were planned for British Prime Minister John Major, President Franois Mitterrand of France, and US Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

K mart to close 110 stores

K mart Corporation, moving to cut costs in its core discount retailing unit, yesterday announced plans to close 110 stores and cut its management work force by 10 percent over the next 18 to 24 months, with the loss of more than 6,000 jobs. The discount retailer said the plan would hit stores that have not met the company's sales, profit, and return-on-investment requirements. The store closures will result in the loss of 650 management positions, the company said.

Hutu soldiers return

Defeated Hutu soldiers and militiamen are sneaking back into Rwanda from neighboring countries in what a UN document calls ''classic preparations for a guerilla war.'' The report warned of a resurgence of the massacres in which an estimated 500,000 civilians were slaughtered by Hutu-backed militias. Paul Kagame, the general who led Tutsis to victory in July, said there has been evidence of fighters loyal to the defeated Hutu regime crossing back into Rwanda. About 150 government troops are in the southwest ; more are expected, he said.

Discovery countdown

Preparation for this afternoon's launch of space shuttle Discovery was going well yesterday, though technicians were running a little behind at the pad, NASA said. Workers fell behind because of the need to replace a frayed hose in Discovery's engine compartment on Wednesday. A late-afternoon launch is required because of a laser experiment aboard Discovery. Laser pulses will be beamed at Earth as the shuttle flies 160 miles overhead, and the laser light that is reflected back will be measured and studied by scientists hoping to better understand climate.

James Clavell

James Clavell, the screenwriter and best-selling author of the Far Eastern sagas ''Shogun'' and ''Tai-Pan'' died Tuesday in Switzerland. The Australian-born Clavell was a screenwriter for such movies as ''The Great Escape,'' ''To Sir With Love,'' and the original version of ''The Fly.'' His novels ''Shogun'' and ''Noble House'' were made into television miniseries.

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