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EXPLOSION: At least four people were killed and 15 people injured when an explosion flattened a restaurant in central Sao Paulo Friday, Brazilian television reported. The blast destroyed three buildings surrounding the restaurant, one of which was a rooming house in which 20 people are believed to have been staying at the time of the explosion. A police spokeswoman said the cause of the explosion was not known but that a gas leak was suspected.

SHOOTING: A member of the ruling National Transition Council was fatally shot Friday in Algiers, Algerian TV reported. Arezki Oukid, 71, was the fifth council member to be assassinated since Islamic fundamentalist militants launched an insurgency against the military-backed government in 1992. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assassination, but suspicion fell on Islamic militants. The insurgency began after the government canceled legislative elections that fundamentalists were winning. The government dissolved the Parliament and installed the National Transition Council.

Across the nation

DEATHS: Indianapolis police are investigating a western Indiana hospital where authorities say the rate of patient deaths more than tripled over 22 months and returned to normal last month only after an employee was suspended. The Indiana State Department of Health confirmed a total of 147 deaths in Vermillion County Hospital's intensive-care unit from May 1993 to March 1995. Many involved sudden respiratory failure. That was an average of 6.7 deaths per month in the ICU during that period, compared with a previous rate of 2 per month, said Dr. John C. Bailey, the state health com-mis-sion-er.

BURNS: An 11-year-old girl suffered severe burns when kerosene that was rubbed into her hair to treat head lice caught fire. Johnnie Ruth Cummings was in critical condition after undergoing skin grafts on her back and chest Thursday at St. Louis Children's Hospital, spokeswoman Chris Vierdag said. Additional skin grafts scheduled for Friday were canceled because of the girl's condition. On April 14, the girl suffered second- and third-degree burns to her face, head, chest, arms and hands at the family's home in Dora, a tiny community near West Plains in extreme southern Missouri.