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AFRICAN FORCES CALM LIBERIA Troops from eight African nations Saturday began disarming Liberian soldiers, after a failed coup attempt. The force cordoned off Army barracks in central Monrovia and started disarming 700 Liberian soldiers living at the executive mansion, the traditional seat of power. The mansion was seized Thursday by renegade Gen. Charles Julue and more than 150 rebel soldiers. African troops bombarded the oceanside mansion with gunboats and tanks after General Julue refused to negotiate. Civilians arrested the general on Friday as he tried to slip out of the city. He is being held at the African force's headquarters in the port of Monrovia. Liberia's nearly five-year civil war began when rebel leader Charles Taylor invaded from Ivory Coast in December 1989 to oust the tribalist dictatorship of President Samuel Doe, who was tortured to death by a breakaway rebel faction in 1990. Strike threats in Brazil

More than 50,000 oil workers threatened to strike Saturday while autoworkers considered an offer of a one-time bonus to abandon their week-old walkout, according to radio reports. Leaders of the oil workers' union met Saturday and said a strike could be declared after Sept. 26 if the state oil giant Petrobras does not come up with a 108 percent pay increase. The meeting follows threats by the country's 670,000 bank workers to mount one-day shutdowns and a general strike to fight for a 119 percent raise. They are demanding the increases to make up for inflation. Cuba to allow produce sales

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Cuba's communist government announced Saturday that it will allow farmers to sell part of their produce on the open market in an effort to ease growing food shortages. Authorities hope the move will spur food output, which has dropped sharply over the years. The decline was due to low prices set by the state - which monopolized food retail - and a shortage of fertilizers and farm equipment.

Bonus day in space

Discovery's six astronauts, savoring a successful untethered spacewalk by two of them, spent an extra day in space studying the effects of shuttle exhaust while a $25 million laser showered Earth with flashes of green light. The mission was supposed to end yesterday, but the astronauts conserved enough power for a 10th day. Landing is set for today.

Israeli-Iraqi talks?

Israel and Iraq have had secret talks in Morocco to try to draw up a peace treaty, the Sunday Times reported, quoting sources in Britain's MI6 intelligence agency. The newspaper said MI6 operatives had been told Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz last month met an Israeli delegation headed by Housing Minister Benyamin Ben Eliezer. Israel denied the report.

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