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Ukraine to try free market

Ukraine took a major step toward long-delayed reforms Wednesday when parliament endorsed President Leonid Kuchma's plan to reorient the heavily centralized economy toward a free-market system.

The vote clears the way for free-market reforms that had been blocked by conservative and Communist lawmakers. Ukraine has lagged behind many other former Soviet republics in adopting reforms, and its economy is in a shambles.

Under the reforms, Ukraine is to free prices, reduce state subsidies, overhaul the tax system and push ahead with privatization. Kuchma says the existence of a built-in "security net" will protect those hardest hit by the reforms.

Dole criticizes Korea nuclear deal

WASHINGTON _ Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole said Wednesday the U.S.-North Korea nuclear accord "shows it is always possible to get an agreement when you give enough away."

Under the U.S.-North Korea framework deal reached late Monday and to be formally signed Friday, North Korea will freeze its current graphite nuclear building program and close its experimental reactor.

In return, Washington is to form an international consortium, including South Korea and Japan, to provide Pyongyang with light-water reactors, which produce very little of the plutonium it has been accused of diverting to make nuclear arms.

2 killed in Algeria oil field attack

ALGIERS, Algeria _ An Italian and a Frenchman were killed in an oil field attack, the latest victims of violence blamed on Islamic insurgents.

The deaths brought to 64 the number of foreigners killed in a struggle that has killed an estimated 10,000 people in nearly three years.

Philippe Hetet, 36, who worked for the French firm Schlumberger, was the 20th French citizen to die.

In Rome, the Foreign Ministry confirmed the slaying of Mauro Dell-Angelo, saying he and Hetet were killed by an armed group Tuesday night at an oil field in Kanchela, near Batna, 356 miles southeast of Algiers.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday's attack, but suspicion fell on Muslim militants battling the government since cancellation of the January 1992 elections. The Islamic Salvation Front was expected to win on voter discontent with corruption and high unemployment.

Missing Rwandan official in Paris

PARIS _ A fax purportedly from Rwandan Foreign Minister Jean-Marie Ndagijimana said Wednesday that reports he had absconded with about $187,000 destined for his country's U.N. mission were manufactured by his political enemies.

At the United Nations on Wednesday, Claude Dusaidi, director-general of Rwanda's Foreign Ministry, told reporters, "Statements that he is denying theft are totally unacceptable."

He later said he had asked the French U.N. mission to have Ndagijimana arrested and extradited.

Ndagijimana, whose family was thought to be in Paris, had last been heard from Oct. 9, when he checked out of the New York Hilton Hotel after postponing a staff meeting at the U.N. mission that had been scheduled for later the same day.

WWII bomb defused in Germany

LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany _ About 10,000 people had to temporarily leave their homes Wednesday while experts defused a bomb dropped by a British plane during World War II.

The 1.8-ton bomb, found Wednesday by police officers using metal detectors, was located with the help of aerial photographs taken by British warplanes.

People living near the site were evacuated for three hours while experts rendered the bomb harmless. Ludwigshafen is a southern Rhine River city with about 170,000 residents.

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