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NEWS CAPSULES

Around the world

REPRIEVE: In a rare reprieve, Singapore on Thursday temporarily halted the execution of a condemned drug trafficker, apparently to let her spend Christmas with her family. But two Singapore men were hanged before dawn Friday, bringing to 94 the number of people executed under a 1975 law mandating the death penalty for bringing as little as half an ounce of heroin into the country.WHALES: Australia on Friday condemned Japan's decision to continue to kill whales for "scientific purposes," branding it as "lethal research." Acting Foreign Minister Bob Mc-Mullan and Environment Min-is-ter John Faulkner asked Japan to cease this "unnecessary form of exploitation of whales," in a joint statement Friday. The Japanese government had informed the International Whaling Commission that it had issued a permit under Japanese legislation to re-authorize the killing of up to 330 Minke whales.

Across the nation

DEADLY FIRE: A Philadelphia fire described by authorities as suspicious gutted a rowhouse Friday morning, killing six children. The mother of four victims and her 6-month-old child escaped and were taken to a hospital. The other two victims were sisters who lived next door. The children ranged in age from 2 to 15. Someone had tried to break into the home earlier in the night, officials said.

FLIGHTS: American Eagle announced Thursday that it will restore service from Chicago to 28 cities on Jan. 4, after twice suspending flights out of O'Hare International Airport in the wake of a fatal crash on Halloween night in northwest Indiana. The flights will be handled by Swedish-built Saab 340B aircraft that were transferred to O'Hare after safety concerns surrounding the ATR aircraft normally used by the airline to serve Midwest cities.

CUTBACKS: Hundreds of mu-nic-i-pal employees stand to lose their jobs after Orange County (Calif.) supervisors announced their first detailed cutbacks to try to pull the county out of bankruptcy. County supervisors on Thursday ordered $40.2 million in budget cuts over the first six months of 1995 - about 17 percent of the county's discretionary spending.