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Lift sought for Argentine economy

Argentina's president signed decrees Friday to deregulate health care and change the state pension system, moves aimed at saving money and ending an economic slump.

President Fernando De la Rua also vetoed Congress' costly changes to the 2001 budget, reinstated a 12 percent cut in federal salaries and approved a $20-million plan to rebuild Argentina's crumbling infrastructure.

The measures were conditions for an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, which along with other lenders recently granted Argentina a $39.7-billion rescue package.

Colombian lawmaker,

six others assassinated

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador _ A congressional leader of Colombia's peace process was shot and killed Friday together with his mother and five other people on the highway that leads from a regional airport to the Switzerland-size area that the government ceded to guerrillas two years ago, police said.

Rep. Diego Turbay, chairman of the commission assigned to represent Congress in the Colombian government's negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was the second prominent civilian associated with peace efforts to be attacked in the past two weeks.

Gang suspected in 1996

jet robbery arrested

MADRID, Spain _ Police arrested eight suspected members of a gang accused of carrying out several spectacular robberies in Spain and France, including the 1996 holdup of a jetliner.

Authorities made the arrests Thursday and Friday morning in the northeastern Spanish town of Sitges and in a southern suburb of Paris, Spanish police said.

The gang is suspected of robbing a jetliner on Aug. 13, 1996, of an $800,000 cash shipment in the southern French city of Perpignan. The runway robbery lasted three minutes.

State in Nigeria agrees

to suspend teen's flogging

ABUJA, Nigeria _ The Nigerian government said Friday it had asked authorities to suspend the sentence of a Muslim teen who was to be flogged for having premarital sex.

The girl, Bariya Ibrahim Magazu, 17, was to receive 180 lashes with a cane, in a case that has caused an outcry among international human rights groups. She was sentenced in September by an Islamic court in the northern Nigerian state of Zamfara.

The girl allegedly was impregnated by one of three middle-aged men her father pressured her into having sex with. She reportedly gave birth while in detention.

Elsewhere . . .

LIBYA SANCTIONS STAND: The U.N. Security Council scrapped talks Friday on a proposal to lift sanctions against Libya after the United States and Britain said they opposed the move while two Libyans are being tried in the 1988 Pan Am bombing.

FLOODING IN MONTENEGRO: Flooding forced 2,000 people to flee their homes and threatened historic monuments Friday in Montenegro, Yugoslavia's smaller republic.

DEADLY AMBUSH: Burundi's Hutu rebels ambushed a commuter bus traveling from the Rwandan capital and killed 20 passengers, including a British aid worker, the army and survivors said Friday. Among the victims was Charlotte Wilson, 27, who joined the British Voluntary Service Overseas as a science teacher at a school in neighboring Rwanda.

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