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CLINTON TAKES AIM AT TERRORISM President Clinton ordered Jan. 24 the freezing of US assets belonging to 12 groups and 18 people suspected of terrorist activities in the Middle East, the White House said. The executive order also seeks to clamp down on the ability of groups and people to get charitable donations from US sources. Press secretary Mike McCurry said the groups cited in Clinton's executive order included Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah, Kach, and the Palestinian Liberation Front. He said the move was part of the administration's effort to strike back at terrorists. Mr. Clinton joined world leaders in deploring the weekend bombing in Israel that killed 19 people. New Italian government

A leader of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party said Jan. 24 that its deputies would abstain from a parliamentary confidence vote, virtually ensuring confirmation for Premier Lamberto Dini.

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Chechen battle drags on

Chechen leader Dzhokhar Dudayev spoke to an independent radio station Jan. 24, denying that a Russian victory is near. The Chechens still control parts of the capital, Grozny, as the Russian Army persists in its drive to end the separatists' independence bid. In Moscow, the ruble continued to hit new lows amid fears of high inflation and the rocketing costs of the Chechnya war.

Russia flies US satellite

A Russian booster rocket with US, Swedish, and Russian space probes was launched Jan. 24 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The launch of the Kosmos-3M rocket marks the first time US and Swedish commercial satellites were placed into orbit by a Russian spacecraft.

New Jersey tax cut

Gov. Christine Todd Whitman said Jan. 23 that she would complete a 30 percent cut in New Jersey income taxes by next January, a year ahead of schedule. The cut would be paid by reductions in state government and layoffs of state workers, according to news reports.

Nuclear fuel-rod pact

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North Korea has agreed to put 8,000 corroding rods of spent nuclear fuel in concrete as part of a new nuclear deal with the United States, a diplomatic source in Seoul said Jan. 24.

Ozawa conducts in Tokyo

Conductor Seiji Ozawa's historic return engagement with Japan's NHK Symphony - their first concert together in 32 years - normally would have concluded with loud applause. Instead, it ended with a moment of silence for the more than 5,000 victims of last week's earthquake.

Air Force officer found

United States Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Couillard and his 10-year-old son were found 10 miles from the Turkish ski resort where they were reported missing Jan. 15. Colonel Couillard was reportedly injured. His son was unharmed.

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