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Around the world

A CALL TO POLLS: Shell-shocked leaders of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, disavowed in parliament after an unprecedented rebellion by rank-and-file members, decided Saturday to call a general election for July 18. The move followed Friday night's dissolution of the Lower House, making elections inevitable within 40 days. The country looks certain to strip the LDP of its majority.TIES RENEWED: Venezuela renewed diplomatic ties with Peru on Friday, more than a year after breaking off relations to protest President Alberto Fujimori's dismissing the courts, dissolving Congress and other measures in assuming rule by decree. President Carlos Andres Perez, who ordered the break, was suspended last month to face charges of embez-zle-ment.

Across the nation

EXPLOSIONS: Explosions rocked the basement of a 41-story state office building Friday in Albany, N.Y., triggering a brief fire, injuring four people and forcing the evacuation of about 3,100 people. The explosions occurred in an underground room that houses electrical equipment for the Office of General Services building, the tallest building between New York City and Montreal.

RIPTIDES: A French tourist drowned and dozens of other swimmers were rescued from unusually strong currents and riptides in Miami Beach Friday, police said. Lifeguards were called out on overtime, and some used jetskis to save swimmers or shoo them away from the dangerous currents. More than 40 people were rescued along Miami Beach Thursday, "and we easily had that many again" Friday, said Beach Patrol Lt. Jesse Alper.

In Washington

SELF-SABOTAGE? An obscure "bulletin board" run by the Bureau of the Public Debt made public how-to information that might be used by computer hackers bent on electronic sabotage, a government spokesman confirmed Friday. The bulletin board was wiped clean of such information several weeks ago after a year in which it was available to anyone with a computer, a phone and a modem to hook in, a spokesman confirmed. The Washington Post published first word of the matter Saturday.