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By an 8-to-1 vote, the Supreme Court yesterday upheld California's Proposition 13 property-tax law, which imposes different taxes on similar houses, depending on when they were bought.... With members citing spending restraint, the House Wednesday voted to block funds for the Superconducting Super Collider, an $8.24 billion atom smasher. ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

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The Federal Reserve said yesterday the economy continued to improve early this month, with manufacturing strengthening nationwide.... American workers' productivity jumped at an annual rate of 2.7 percent from January through March, the government said Wednesday.... The US trade deficit surged to a 17-month high of $6.97 billion in April, the government said yesterday.... The Labor Department reported yesterday that the number of new claims for unemployment benefits edged down slightly to 407,000 during the first week of June.... Japan's Nikkei stock average yesterday dropped 400.24 points, reaching a new 68-month low. EUROPE

Kevin and Ian Maxwell, sons of late media tycoon Robert Maxwell, were charged yesterday with conspiracy to defraud, Britain's Serious Fraud Office said. LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Mexico protested to the US Wednesday that another of its citizens had been kidnapped by US law enforcement agents.... The United States owes no damages to Panamanian businesses looted after the 1989 US military invasion, a federal appeals court panel said Wednesday.

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