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JAPAN ELECTORAL REFORM PUSHED FORWARD Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa appears to be heading for victory this week in a major battle in parliament over electoral reform, clearing up domestic business in time for tomorrow's Asia-Pacific economic summit in Seattle. But Mr. Hosokawa's troubles are far from over, as analysts predict new political upheavals for both the ruling coalition and the main opposition party. Reform bills aimed at drastically revamping Japan's corruption-beset political system are expected to clear the Lower House today. But the prime minister will fight an uphill battle in the Upper House where lawmakers of both sides are opposed to reform, said Kenzo Uchida, a professor at Tokai University. Hosokawa has promised to pass his reform package by the year's end or take political responsibility, a phrase taken to mean he will resign or call elections. That leaves him barely a month before parliament is due to end its session Dec. 15. US crime bill

The Senate yesterday approved a ban on 19 types of military-style assault weapons as it inched toward a final vote on a $22 billion anti-crime bill. It voted down a proposal to speed and limit appeals by state death row inmates who use the federal courts. (Police judge crime bill, Page 1.) Mideast talks

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A session of multilateral Middle East talks on the environment ended Tuesday with agreement on a joint Israeli-Arab project to control oil spills in the Gulf of Aqaba and a dispute over disposal of Israeli nuclear waste. The meeting of more than 40 countries reached agreement on some 20 projects. Demjanjuk extradition

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati said yesterday the government defrauded the court and withheld evidence that could have helped John Demjanjuk fight extradition to Israel to face charges he was a Nazi death camp guard. He was found innocent and has returned to the US. New UN mission

The UN Security Council late Tuesday approved a small mediation team for Burundi and called for voluntary contributions to a possible peacekeeping mission by the Organization of African Unity. The council has avoided creating its own peacekeeping operation in the central African nation where about 700,000 refugees fled after a violent coup attempt last month. The US drew the line at Burundi because of strained resources. COCOM disbanded

Western nations have set an April 1 deadline to replace COCOM, the cold war body which aimed to stop the communist bloc from getting military technology. Top civil servants from 17 countries agreed Tuesday to invite Russia, China and other former enemies to join the new grouping, which would draw a more flexible map of banned destinations. US unemployment

A revised Labor Department unemployment survey will alter the way women's work is calculated, a change that may boost the unemployment rate by up to a half-percentage point the first time it is used in January. Currently surveyors ask decades-old questions, which count either work in the home or outside as employment. The new questions will consider only work outside the home, a move analysts say will provide more accurate statistics. Angolan peace

Angola's government and its UNITA rebel foes have made some progress in talks to end one of Africa's longest running wars, diplomats said. The secret negotiations, driven forward by a UN envoy, went into their third day yesterday. Portuguese state radio reported the two sides had agreed to declare a truce to a war the UN says is killing more than 1,000 people a day. US housing starts

Housing starts rose 2.7 percent in October to the highest level in nearly four years, the Commerce Department said yesterday. They were up in the Midwest and South, but slipped in the Northeast and West. It was the latest in a number of recent reports suggesting the economy is picking up strength.

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