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Protestant paramilitary groups announce they will join the Irish Republican Army in observing a cease-fire

Despite the euphoria after the Irish Republican Army's cease-fire declaration six weeks ago, few Northern Ireland citizens were incautious enough to believe that the end of their long troubles was at hand. Last week, however, it looked like another critical step closer when the two most important paramilitary groups of Protestant loyalists, plus a smaller one, announced that they too would "cease all operational hostilities" effective midnight Oct. 13. The prospects of an end to 25 years of bloodshed seemed brighter. "It's a great day for the people of Northern Ireland," said John Hume, leader of Ulster's Social Democratic and Labour...

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