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The world economy will suffer a third straight year of sub-par economic growth as severe recessions in Japan and Germany offset strength in the United States, the International Monetary Fund predicts. The IMF said there have been some hopeful signs of late, including US efforts to get its budget deficit under control, interest rate cuts in Germany, and a record-setting economic stimulus package in Japan. But the 175-nation lending organization said those moves would take time to show results and won't ha ve much impact on world growth prospects until next year. Shuttle blasts off

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The space shuttle Columbia thundered toward space yesterday with seven astronauts on a science mission chartered by Germany and years overdue. The 4.5 million-pound shuttle rose from its seaside pad into an overcast sky on time at 10:50 a.m. EDT, and arced out over the Atlantic Ocean. It was NASA's third attempt to launch Columbia on the laboratory research mission. The first, one month ago, ended abruptly with an engine shutdown. Oklahoma tornado

Oklahoma authorities called off the search for victims of the devastating tornado that killed at least seven people and injured 95 others Saturday night. Meanwhile, residents of a Tulsa suburb that was in the path of the tornado contemplated how to put their homes and lives back together. "We'll come back," local trash hauler Howard Johnson said Sunday, "but we'll never be the same." Court upholds US rules

The Supreme Court yesterday let stand a ruling that ordered the federal government to stiffen its regulations for treating and disposing of some hazardous waste water. The court, without comment, rejected arguments by chemical and petroleum industry groups that a federal appeals court overstepped its authority in issuing that order. Waco revelations

A TV photographer's warning to a mailman gave David Koresh advance notice that federal agents were coming for him the day the standoff began, the cult leader's lawyer said. The attorney, Dick DeGuerin, also said Sunday that Koresh asked him to draw up a will and legal documents protecting the cult's property rights and providing for his children. But Koresh never got a chance to sign the documents before a fire swept through the compound April 19. Indian jet crashes

An Indian Airlines jetliner carrying 118 people caught fire and crashed yesterday after taking off in western India. About 75 people were reported killed. Rajesh Pilot, the internal security minister, told Parliament that an engine of the Boeing 737 burst into flames after takeoff, and the crash occurred during an attempted emergency landing. UN plane shot down

Angola's UNITA rebels shot down a United Nations plane carrying food aid to the eastern Angolan city of Luena yesterday, Angolan state radio said. All seven crew members on board the Russian-built Antonov AN-12, chartered by the UN World Food Program, survived the crash with minor injuries, the radio said.

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