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Jobless aid requests sink to 2 1/2-year low Countercoup attempt fails in Upper Volta

Unemployment benefit applications dropped to the lowest number in nearly 21/2 years during the last week in July, the Labor Department reported. Retail sales, however, fell last month for the first time since February. Sales declined less than 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

A foiled countercoup attempt against leftist Capt. Thomas Sankara left his hold on Upper Volta tenuous only a week after he seized power.

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Reliable diplomatic sources in Ouagadougou, the Upper Voltan capital, said that unidentified men launched attacks on the the paratroop commander's home and a radio station building Tuesday. At the same time, other armed men tried to free two prominent moderate officers who had been placed under house arrest after opposing Captain Sankara's coup.

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