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States that have worked to curb the influence of special-interest groups and make it easier to vote have the highest voter turnout in elections, reported the non-partison Institute for Southern Studies Oct 19. The states of Minnesota, Montana, Maine, North Dakota, and Wisconsin had the highest turnout in the last two presidential elections.... On Oct 19, the Supreme Court said it will decide whether states may commit mentally retarded people to state facilities against their will more easily than the men tally ill are committed. It also left intact a law providing grandparents with visitation rights to their grandchildren. AFRICA AND EUROPE

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A major famine is building in eastern and southern Ethiopia with up to 200,000 people at risk of starvation, two United Nations officials said Oct.20.... A southern African expert said yesterday it could take as many as four years for farmers to recover from the worst drought in southern Africa this century and millions of people would continue to remain dependent on food imports.... Fifteen people were killed in political violence in South Africa Oct 19, taking the death toll to more than 30 in a 24-h our period. Reports said most killings took place in black townships in Natal province.... Government-run radio says rebels violated a cease-fire in Mozambique by attacking and occupying a town in Zambezia Province Oct 20.... NATO defense ministers met Oct 20 in Gleneagles, Scotland, to review a decision to sharply reduce the Atlantic alliance's nuclear arsenal, including the fate of the European Fighter Aircraft project, and to discuss their offer to the United Nations of some 6,000 soldiers to guard emerg ency aid convoys in Bosnia-Herzegovina....

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