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MIDEAST LEADERS RETURN, PACT IN HAND Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin returned to Jerusalem yesterday, telling Israelis that the peace agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization would take hard work. He also appealed to the international community to provide enough funding to implement the plan. PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat returned to his headquarters in Tunis yesterday, where he said he was confident the accord would lead to a comprehensive peace between the Arabs and Israel. Mr. Arafat said he hoped to be in the West Bank city of Jericho within 10 weeks ``to start the first Palestinian national authority'' there. Florida beefs up security

Gov. Lawton Chiles assigned 540 auxiliary law officers round-the-clock to interstate highway rest stops after the ninth slaying of a foreign tourist in less than a year. Gary Colley, a Briton, was shot dead early Tuesday by two youths at a stop where he and his wife had pulled off for a nap.

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Florida's $31 billion tourism industry was still reeling from last week's shooting death of a German tourist. Key US interest rate drops

Southwest Bank of St. Louis, which has sometimes been a leader in setting lending rates for the nation's banks, said yesterday that it was cutting its prime rate to 5.75 percent from the current 6 percent effective today. The prime rate is the interest rate banks charge their commercial customers and serves as a benchmark for other short-term consumer lending rates, including credit cards.

China releases dissident

China announced yesterday that it released Zhai Weimin from prison on Sept. 13. He had been held for 3 1/2 years. Mr. Zhai was No. 6 on China's list of students wanted after the June 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. He was arrested after granting an interview to a Western news magazine giving details of his plans for setting up a pro-democracy group. Shevardnadze stays

Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze warned rebels yesterday to call off their attack. His warning ended a tense 12 hours of political turmoil during which Mr. Shevardnadze submitted his resignation in a maneuver to force parliament to approve a state of emergency. Rebels led by warlord Lotti Kobalia captured a strategic rail junction at Japana, Georgia's last remaining link to the Black Sea. Mr. Kobalia is aligned with former President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who was ousted in January 1992. Cease-fire signed

Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic signed a cease-fire on Sept. 14, pledging to open routes for aid convoys and dismantle detention camps. Both presidents agreed the fighting should stop by Saturday.

The agreement does not include the Serbs; Croatian troops and Serb rebels have been engaged in the worst fighting since January. UN cracks down on UNITA

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The UN Security Council was expected yesterday to impose an arms and oil embargo on the Angolan rebel group UNITA. The UN blames the group for continuing the country's civil war, in which an estimated 1,000 people die daily.

The draft of the resolution also threatens trade and travel restrictions by Nov. 1, unless a cease-fire is in force and an agreement has been reached to implement all peace accords. The US backed the measure. Haitian prosecutor resigns

Wilson Ciceron, Haiti's top prosecutor investigating political murders, resigned Tuesday after receiving death threats. Prime Minister Robert Malval said the resignation of Mr. Ciceron, who had compiled a list of suspects, would set back the probe of last week's killing of five pro-democracy activists. The list could not be found after Ciceron's departure. Security has been increased for all Cabinet members. Quebec's premier steps down

Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa, one of the more outspoken advocates of keeping French-speaking Quebec in Canada, announced Tuesday he would leave politics to spend more time with his family. His departure again throws the political future of Quebec into doubt because separatists are waging a fierce campaign to gain seats in the Oct. 25 election.

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