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A US abortion-rights group has signed an agreement with an unidentified overseas manufacturer to produce a generic equivalent of the RU-486 abortion pill. The duplicate drug could be ready for human trials by the end of this year, said Lawrence Lader, president of Abortion Rights Mobilization. Opponents have fought to keep RU-486 out of the US, objecting to it just as much as to surgical abortion. RU-486's manufacturer, Roussel-Uclaf of France, began negotiating a year ago to make the drug available in the US for testing through the Population Council, but talks have gone slowly.

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Accused spy plea

Accused CIA spy Aldrich Ames and his wife, Rosario, have agreed tentatively to a deal in which they would admit their guilt and he would cooperate with investigators, Clinton administration officials said April 27. The couple is accused of passing secrets to Moscow for years in what has been described as one of the worst spy cases in US history.

Human rights in India

India's new Human Rights Commission said April 27 that 14 policemen who shot at civilians in Kashmir are being prosecuted, and it demanded the government review the police role. The report was the commission's first review of abuses in Kashmir and is seen as an important test case.

Quark discovery

A team of 439 scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have discovered evidence of the top quark, reports said April 27. The top quark is one of 12 subatomic particles in the Standard Model theory, which seeks to explain the nature of time, matter, and the universe. It has eluded scientists for two decades.

Japanese economy

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A government report indicated April 27 that Japan's economy was in a gloomier state in February than in January, when economists saw signs of recovery from a three-year-old slump. The February economic index was 40 percent. The index stood at 85 percent in January, rising above 50 percent for the first time in four months.

Plane crash in Japan

A Taiwanese jetliner carrying 272 people crashed and caught fire at Nagoya airport in Japan April 27, and officials reported 212 people died. Japan Broadcasting Corporation quoted a witness as saying the jet hit nose-first on the runway and appeared not to have its landing gear down.

Queen Zein, Hussein's mother

Queen Zein al-Sharaf, mother of King Hussein, died April 27. The palace announcement said the royal court will observe 40 days of mourning. Queen Zein became the first chairwoman of the Jordanian Women's Federation in 1944, and headed the group until 1953.

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