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FAST FACT

More than half of the Americans polled by the National Annenberg Election Survey didn't know President Bush is the only candidate to favor allowing private investment of some Social Security funds.

NOTEWORTHY

Faster economic

growth foreseen

The world economy this year should post its best growth in three decades even though oil prices are up sharply and economic activity in the United States probably will be slower than previously thought. Those were some of the assessments in the International Monetary Fund's latest World Economic Forecast released Wednesday. After expanding by 3.9 percent in 2003, the global economy is now projected by the IMF to grow by 5 percent in 2004.

China sends riot

police to Haiti

Casting aside long-standing reticence about taking part in U.N. peacekeeping duties abroad, China said Wednesday that it was deploying a large squad of riot police to Haiti and bracing for postings in other world trouble spots. An advance team of 30 Chinese riot police left for Haiti on Sept. 17, and 95 more will join them early in October, police Col. Qu Zhiwen said. While small numbers of Chinese police have taken part in five other peacekeeping missions since 1999 _ in Afghanistan, East Timor, Bosnia, Liberia and Kosovo _ the force going to Haiti is the largest deployment and the first entire unit to travel abroad. Chinese officials asserted that the force has received three months of training in riot control, peacekeeping methods, driving, Haitian history and geography, and protecting human rights and free elections.

THE UNUSUAL

Passenger attacks

pilots with ax

A passenger on a small commuter plane in northern Norway attacked both pilots and at least one passenger with an ax as the aircraft was landing Wednesday, police said. The pilots suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries and safely landed the Kato Air Dornier 228 in the northern town of Bodoe, state radio network NRK reported. At least one of the seven passengers was injured. The attacker, who was wielding a fire ax that was part of the aircraft's emergency equipment, was arrested after the plane landed, police official Bjarte Wala told the Associated Press.

UPDATE

Lindh appeal

Attorney General John Ashcroft on Wednesday opposed an appeal to commute the 20-year prison sentence of John Walker Lindh, an American captured in Afghanistan fighting for the Taliban. Ashcroft said that Lindh received all the safeguards of the judicial process and that the outcome was fair.

Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens began rumbling more intensely Wednesday, prompting scientists to warn that a small or moderate eruption could happen in the next few days.

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