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Highway death rate falls to record low

WASHINGTON _ The death rate on the nation's highways fell to its lowest ever last year, and the government says that is a sign that more Americans are using seat belts and staying sober behind the wheel. The fatality rate was 2.2 deaths per 100-million miles of travel in 1989, down from 3.3 in 1980, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. An estimated 45,500 Americans died in traffic accidents last year.Contraceptive

spending supported

WASHINGTON _ Public money invested in family planning services saves taxpayers an estimated $1.8-billion a year, according to a new study. The report by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit independent research organization, found that publicly financed family planning services have prevented up to 3.1-million unwanted pregnancies, and have thus saved money that would otherwise be spent on medical, welfare and nutritional programs. The report provides the first data since 1979 on the cost effectiveness of the services. Almost 25 percent of American women who use contraception rely on a publicly financed source of care, the report said. In fiscal 1987, federal and state governments spent $412-million on contraceptive services.

Government might

recall some GM cars

WASHINGTON _ The government might order a recall of some General Motors cars because of faulty rear brakes, a problem consumers have blamed for more than 100 accidents and two deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Wednesday that GM had rejected the agency's request to issue a voluntary recall. The probe covers 175,000 Chevrolet Camaros and Pontiac Firebirds from the 1982 through 1986 model years and 273,000 Pontiac Fieros from the 1984 through 1986 model years.

Soviet MiG jets may get U.S. debut

CHICAGO _ The Soviet Union has offered to send MiG-29 jet fighters to an air show in Chicago this summer for what would be the first public appearance by the aircraft in the United States, city officials said Thursday. The visit would be "a historic event that would serve the further development of friendly contacts between our countries," Aleksander Yefimov, chief of the Soviet air force, said in a letter. Chicago Park District officials who put on an annual air and water show along the Lake Michigan shoreline every July said they were waiting for final arrangements. They said MiGs have appeared previously at air shows in England and Canada but not in the United States.