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CHINA'S OLD GUARD EASED OUT

China's new government for the first time will not include old revolutionaries in key posts, although members of the ruling Communist Party's top body will dominate. The new power structure will be unveiled at the 8th National People's Congress beginning today. A key aspect of the plan is to ensure that power will smoothly pass to a new generation of Communist officials when senior leader Deng Xiaoping is no longer on the scene. The English-language Beijing Review, in an unusually frank article, said Pre sident Yang Shangkun, 85, and congress Chairman Wan Li, 77, will step down after the 17-day congress. The official Xinhua News Agency later confirmed Li's retirement. Smith to Ireland

President Clinton is expected to name Jean Kennedy Smith, sister of the late President John Kennedy, as ambassador to Ireland, administration sources say. A formal announcement is likely when Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds makes a St. Patrick's Day call at the White House Wednesday. Meanwhile, Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn indicated over the weekend he would accept a rumored White House nomination as ambassador to the Vatican, if it in fact is offered. Eastern Bosnia

A British doctor just back to Zagreb from eastern Bosnia said yesterday Muslim civilians were dying in large numbers from starvation or wounds from Serb artillery attacks as they fled on foot from their homes. Simon Mardel, a World Health Organization doctor, said what he saw in a week in the Serb-besieged towns of Srebrenica and Konjevic Polje surpassed his previous experiences in Ethiopia, Liberia, and Afghanistan. …