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NEWS CAPSULES

Around the world

DIVORCE MUGS: A British china company, tapping into the endless demand for royal memorabilia, said Thursday it was issuing a commemorative mug to mark the impending divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The bone china mug features a picture of the couple looking away from each other on one side and the Welsh and British flags with the date of their 1981 wedding on the other. "Sadly they have announced their intention to divorce," is embossed on the back.

GUN BAN: Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Thursday he would not negotiate on his plan to ban automatic and semi-automatic firearms following the nation's worst mass shooting by a lone gunman that killed 35 people. Howard has called a special gun control conference with state police ministers on Friday in the wake of the tragedy. "I should make it clear the Commonwealth (national) Government's proposal was seriously put together, it is not an ambit claim," Howard told Parliament, gaining bipartisan support for his plan from the Labor opposition. The national government, which has no control over gun laws, wants the states to ban all automatic and semi-automatic firearms, create a national gun register and introduce tighter controls on who can own a gun. Canberra has offered to help the state and territory governments buy back dangerous weapons that would be outlawed under its proposal.

Across the nation

TRIAL: A woman once honored by Nancy Reagan for her work with sick children is being tried in Martinez, Calif., on charges she abused two foster children, a case prosecutors link to a psychological disorder. In opening statements Wednesday, prosecutors said Yvonne Eldridge starved the two girls in 1994 and then told doctors they suffered from a long list of problems that included vomiting, seizures, migraines and acute diarrhea. The sickly girls recovered only after they were taken away from Eld-ridge, court records say.

SUICIDE: A man convicted last month of killing his estranged wife and two others in a supermarket rampage hanged himself with a towel in a prison shower. Albert Petrosky Jr., 36, was found hanged at the Denver County Jail on Wednesday. Jail officials said Petrosky also had cut his wrists with broken eyeglasses.