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Tens of thousands of students and farmers battled riot police in Seoul Feb. 1 after they were prevented from marching to the US Embassy to protest planned rice imports. About 60 people were injured, some of them seriously, in the most violent street protests in Seoul since President Kim Young Sam took office a year ago. Simultaneously, about 200 farmers took over the nation's major north-south highway near Seoul and blocked traffic in both directions. Farmers were demanding a national referendum on the opening of South Korea's markets to foreign rice. They blame US pressure for the South Korean agreement at the Uruguay Round trade talks. South Korean farmers say farm-product imports would destroy the nation's traditional farming culture. Troops to townships

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South African President Frederik de Klerk said Feb. 1 he was sending in troops to stabilize South Africa's East Rand black townships where hundreds of people have died in fighting in recent months. Mr. De Klerk said that in agreement with the African National Congress, Inkatha Freedom Party, and other interested parties, he was pulling the controversial police Internal Stability Units (ISUs) out of the townships. Residents have accused ISUs, created to combat black political violence, of political bias and of helping foment strife. Lesotho crisis ends

Rival Army factions in the southern African nation of Lesotho agreed Feb. 1 to lay down their arms, after two weeks of intermittent clashes that threatened regional stability. Talks ended with the military groups declaring support for the civilian government, which took power in March after the first democratic elections in 23 years. Central bank resignation

US Federal Reserve Board Vice Chairman David Mullins resigned Feb. 1. His unexpected departure gives President Clinton a key second appointment to the central bank's board. Fed Gov. Wayne Angell is also departing. Chairman Alan Greenspan said the Board is likely to soon raise interest rates.

Harding implicated

Figure skater Tonya Harding's ex-husband claims she was in on the plot to injure rival Nancy Kerrigan from the beginning, convinced that judges would not give her a fair shake, his lawyer said Feb. 1. Her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly was to plead guilty to racketeering Feb. 1. In related news, shoe company Nike Inc. said Feb. 1 it will contribute $25,000 to help Ms. Harding defend herself before the US Olympic Committee should it attempt to remove her from the Olympic team before she has her day in court. Nike does not have a business or endorsement relationship with her.

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