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MIDDLE EASTThe leader of the pro-Iranian Hizbullah said yesterday the issue of Western hostages in Lebanon was completely separate from Arabs held by Israel. Hizbullah has previously demanded that Israel free hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the Western hostages. Israel itself is expressing concern that it will never learn the fate of some of its missing soldiers. Just-released hostages Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland have said their captors told them that the three remaining America n hostages would be released by the end of the month and that Hizbullah no longer feels holding hostages is productive of any political gain. UNITED STATES President Bush, continuing a perfect record on vetoes, prevailed over Congress Tuesday to preserve a rule that bars doctors at federally funded family planning clinics from speaking to women about abortion.... The House Banking Committee, abandoning any hope of expanding bank powers this year, voted Tuesday for an urgently needed $70 billion loan to handle bank failures.... A painting by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera fetched $3 million, a record sum for a Latin American artist, at Christie's auction hous e Tuesday.... A French oarsman was expected to become the first person to ever row alone across the Pacific Ocean when he arrives in Oregon today after a 5,500-mile, 133-day voyage.

AFRICA Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi has dismissed one of his closest aides, Industry Minister Nicholas Biwott, after Biwott, one of the most powerful men in Kenya, was named by a British detective Monday as a prime suspect in the murder 20 months ago of Foreign Minister Robert Ouko (see story, Page 3).

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LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN About 2,600 Haitian boat people held aboard US Coast Guard ships in the Caribbean drifted in a legal limbo yesterday after a plan to send them home was suspended for five days by a federal judge at the request of the Miami-based Haitian Refugee Center.... A Haitian legislator said Tuesday night that parliament will not send representatives to talks in Colombia to resolve the Haitian crisis unless the Organization of American States softens its trade embargo.... Argentine President Carlos Menem, who just completed a week-long trip to the US, said Tuesday that Fidel Castro must allow Cuba to shift to a democracy. Menem also said he will open Argentina's files on Nazis who took refuge there after World War II, including one on death camp doctor Josef Mengele that shows he entered the country in 1948 on a Red Cross passport.... President Bush has invited Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari to come to Camp David on Dec. 14 to discuss economic and trade issues, as well as stability in Central American, c urbing the international drug trade, the environment, labor, and illegal immigration.

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