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US SENATE CONFIRMS GINSBURG TO COURT The US Senate on Aug. 3 confirmed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on a vote of 96-3 to be the nation's second woman Supreme Court justice. President Clinton nominated Mrs. Ginsburg June 14 to replace Justice Byron White, who retired at the end of the last term. Ginsburg has been a federal appeals judge in Washington since 1980. She joins Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was confirmed in 1981 and is the only other woman to serve on the high court. During her confirmation hearings, Ginsburg said her decisions would be ba sed on law, not politics. As a lawyer in the 1970s, Ginsburg won several momentous women's rights victories as founder of the Women's Rights Project for the American Civil Liberties Union. Germany lowers rate

Germany's central bank lowered the repurchase agreement, or repo, rate on Aug. 3 in a move aimed at stimulating the German economy. The rate lowers banks' costs for borrowing money short-term.

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The bank may still decide to cut the more important discount rate at a meeting of its governors later this month, but its decision on July 29 not to cut the discount rate has already forced European Community officials on July 31 to loosen controls on currency and allow them to fluctuate. S. Korean hunger strike

South Korean political prisoners began a hunger strike Aug. 3 calling for their freedom and the abolition of the country's Draconian security laws. Members of the prisoners' families are staging sympathy hunger strikes in Seoul.

Dissident organizations say about half of South Korea's 321 political prisoners are being held under the National Security Law, which bans illegal antigovernment protests or unauthorized contacts with communist North Korea. The government denies there are any political prisoners in South Korea and says all convicts in jail are common criminals. Japan names House speaker

Takako Doi, the fiery former leader of Japan's Socialist Party, has accepted the post of Speaker of the Lower House of parliament, NHK television reported Aug. 3.

Ms. Doi would become the first woman speaker in Japan's parliament. She is to be named to the post Aug. 5, when the newly elected assembly convenes to select populist anti-graft campaigner Morihiro Hosokawa as the new prime minister. Kashmiri protesters shot

Indian police opened fire Aug. 3 on several thousand people protesting the killing of a couple and their eight-year-old boy, and at least three demonstrators died. It was the third day that thousands of residents of Srinagar, the capital of troubled Jammu and Kashmir state, had defied a curfew imposed July 31 after the family was killed.

Witnesses say the family was killed by a member of the Indian border police, which has been fighting a Muslim separatist insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989. About 925 people have died in the insurgency this year. Senate passes service act

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The US Senate on Aug. 3 approved President Clinton's plan for students to exchange two years of community service for college tuition. The 58-41 vote ended a bitter, partisan dispute over the legislation, which was scaled back from Mr. Clinton's original five-year, $9.5 billion proposal to a three-year program costing $1.5 billion.

Republicans earlier had refused to cut off debate, stalling the bill for several days. The House adopted broader legislation in late July, and a conference committee will have to work out the final version. Baltimore Orioles sold

Baltimore's baseball franchise, the Orioles, sold for $173 million at a bankruptcy auction, the highest price ever paid for a US professional sports team. The Orioles, currently in fourth place in the American League East Division, have not made it to the World Series since 1983, but fans have been jamming their new stadium, Camden Yards, in record numbers.

Baltimore lawyer Peter Angelos, who led the buyer's group, said he was prepared to pay a premium for the team. But, he added, "I didn't think it would go this high."

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