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The Daily News, struggling to regain some of the circulation lost in a 5 1/2 -week-old strike, Tuesday unveiled an afternoon edition aimed at homebound commuters.

It had blue across the top and bottom of the front page to distinguish it from the morning editions, and the initial press run of 30,000 copies was distributed to street hawkers in Manhattan. Theodore Kheel, an adviser to its nine striking unions, called the new edition "an act of desperation, . . . doomed to failure."

The unions say the paper is trying to break them; the News says it needs contracts with provisions that would enable it to control costs and staff size.

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