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COMMERCIAL BANKS SEE RECORD PROFITS The nation's commercial banks earned a record $43.4 billion last year, far surpassing the old record, and a top regulator said the industry's prosperity should continue this year. The FDIC said Tuesday that 1993 earnings marked a 36 percent improvement over the previous record of $32 billion, set in 1992, which was a 79 percent increase over the $17.9 billion earned in 1991. Analysts said banks could anticipate another good year in 1994, but in the long term they face stiff competition from mutual funds and other nonbank rivals. ``They're eating the lunch of lots of banks, stealing their depositors ... and stealing their loan customers with better rates and better service and more interesting products,'' said David Cates, chairman of Ferguson & Co., a consulting firm. Cambodia offensive

Government forces began attacking outlying posts of the Khmer Rouge headquarters yesterday in an offensive aimed at seizing the guerrilla stronghold within days, a senior official said. The government has threatened for months to launch an offensive against the city of Pailin if the Khmer Rouge continued to refuse negotiations for a settlement of its 15-year-old hit-and-run guerrilla war. St. Patrick's parade

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Supreme Court Justice David Souter yesterday rejected a request from organizers of a Boston St. Patrick's Day parade which asked for an emergency order allowing them to ban gay and lesbian groups from marching. The organizers had said Sunday's parade would be canceled if he did not grant the order blocking a lower court's ruling allowing them to march in what the lower court deemed a public event. New mortgage program

The Federal National Mortgage Association, better known as Fannie Mae, said Tuesday that its plans to increase its lending to minorities, immigrants, and renters by $140 billion over the next seven years. This would raise its total lending for such groups to $1 trillion, and add 1 million homeowners among the targeted groups, the association said. Computer, coffee mergers

Adobe Systems Inc. and Aldus Corporation two companies that pioneered desktop publishing a decade ago announced their merger on Tuesday. The new company would become a dominant force in the industry. In related news, Starbucks Coffee Company took an expansion step Tuesday, buying its Northeast rival, Boston-based The Coffee Connection Inc. Starbucks, which has 300 coffee bars, mainly in the West, has been bringing its espresso drinks east.

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