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UNITED STATES

Education Secretary Lauro Cavazos said Wednesday that for the fourth straight year US students have shown no overall improvement, citing college entrance test scores. The Commerce Department reported that the index of leading indicators rose strongly in March, and factory orders, posted the biggest gain since December 1988. Florida Gov. Bob Martinez (R) vetoed a 4-cent-a-gallon gas tax hike and construction bill Wednesday as roadbuilders ringed the Capitol with heavy equipment to protest his decision. In north Texas, heavy rains and flash floods killed three people Wednesday and hundreds fled their homes. CAPITOL HILL

The House Wednesday approved a bill authorizing $5 billion for the controversial Superconducting Supercollider, the giant science project in Texas designed to probe the fundamental nature of matter and energy. The Veterans Affairs Department asked Congress to delay action on a bill giving benefits to Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange, pending further study on a link between the chemical and diseases such as cancer. EUROPE

Yesterday British voters went to the polls to choose 5,062 local council members, in a test of the popularity of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government. In Hungary, newly elected head of state Arpad Goncz yesterday asked Jozsef Antall, president of the victorious center-right Hungarian Democratic Forum, to form the nation's first post-communist government. …