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Thousands of people stayed away from their jobs yesterday in a general strike called by government opponents demanding an end to Chile's 13-year military rule. Witnesses said gunmen killed three slum dwellers and radio reports said 10 bombs exploded in the capital. The work stoppage was called by the National Civic Assembly, a coalition that claims to represent almost one-third of Chile's 11.6 million people.

Johannesburg police urge people to beware bombs

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Police urged Johannesburg residents yesterday to be on the lookout for more bombs, and shop owners called for tighter security after the latest explosion in downtown Johannesburg, which injured eight people. The government Bureau for Information suggested that the blast, along with nine other bombings since a nationwide state of emergency was declared June 12, was carried out by the African National Congress. The guerrilla movement, in a telex sent Wednesday from Zambia, said it had no comment on the explosions.

Also yesterday the government broke its silence on the number of people held under the state of emergency and said it plans to file criminal charges against 780 of them. It refused to disclose the total number of people detained.

US welcome indications that Soviets want to meet

Vladimir Petrovsky, a Soviet deputy foreign minister, drew a warm response from US officials Tuesday when he said preparations for a meeting between US Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Minister Eduard Shevardnadze were in a ``practical phase. White House spokesman Larry Speakes said he hoped Mr. Petrovsky's comments were evidence of a willingness by the Soviets to move toward a summit. State Department spokesman Charles E. Redman urged the Soviets to send Mr. Shevardnadze to Washington to make preparations for a summit between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

US reports an accord with EC on farm trade

The Reagan administration announced yesterday that it had reached a tentative agreement with the 12-nation European Community that will buy some ``running room'' for both sides to avert a trade war over agricultural products. The agreement includes concessions by the Europeans that will permit continued US shipments of corn and sorghum into Spain at current levels while negotiations on easing trade barriers continue. In exchange, the United States agreed to withhold proposed retaliatory steps against the European Community for the rest of the year.

Air Force reports cause of Titan rocket failure

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The explosive loss of an unmanned Titan 34D rocket during a military mission in April was most likely caused by the peeling of insulation inside a solid-fuel booster, the Air Force said yesterday. The loss of the rubberized insulation allowed the burning fuel to eat through the metal skin of the booster, touching off the explosion.

American freed in Beirut after 10-month captivity

A US citizen who was kidnapped by an unidentified group about 10 months ago reappeared yesterday in Christian east Beirut, a correspondent for the ABC television network said. Last year the American Embassy in Beirut said Mr. Donahue had disappeared in September while writing a book on drug trafficking.

US team completes talks with Viets on MIA issue

A US delegation concluded two days of talks with Vietnamese officials yesterday in an attempt to resolve the issue of 1,792 Americans still listed as missing from the Vietnam war. One of the negotiators, Richard Childress, said the Vietnamese agreed to provide written reports of their investigations into reported post-war sightings of Americans and renewed an offer for US officials to accompany Vietnamese investigators to the nation's more accessible areas.

Union to offer members low-interest credit card

The AFL-CIO said Tuesday it will offer a special MasterCard to its 13.5 million members. Those who obtain the card will get interest rates of 13.5 or 15.75 percent, compared with rates near 20 percent charged by credit card companies.

FAA wants close look at US airlines' 747s

The Federal Aviation Administration proposed Tuesday an extensive inspection of all 160 Boeing 747 jumbo jets on US airlines after cracks that could lead to dangerous decompression were found in the nose sections of several planes. The proposed order will affect only US carriers. Notice will go to foreign airlines as an advisory.

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