EVENTS

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SARAJEVO THREATENED AS DEADLINE NEARS Heavy fighting raged yesterday on Mount Igman, the Bosnian Army's stronghold overlooking Sarajevo, as rebel Serbs increased pressure on the Muslim-led government to accept a plan that would divide Bosnia-Herzegovina into three ethnic ministates. Confident of military victory, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic gave the Bosnian leadership until today to accept the partition of Bosnia or face a total military defeat. The plan, proposed by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Croatian President Franjo Tu djman, would enable the Bosnian Serbs and Croats eventually to secede and unite with their brethren in Serbia and Croatia. The Bosnian government had rejected the plan, insisting instead on a united, multiethnic republic. But President Alija Izetbegovic hinted yesterday that the government may have no alternative. Full talks are expected to resume in Geneva Thursday. Flooding continues

Budget Director Leon Panetta said the proposed $2.43 billion aid package for flood victims in the Midwest is likely to be increased as the extent of damage becomes known. Flooding has caused at least 29 deaths, $10 billion in damage, and 16,000 square miles of farmland is under water. The Red Cross estimated that at least 22,000 homes were damaged.

North of St. Louis, sandbaggers gave up trying to protect parts of the city of St. Charles from the Missouri River, and dozens fled. Upstream, the race was on to get a bridge on the Illinois-Iowa border open yesterday. Predicting the weather

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In the biggest oceanographic study ever attempted, researchers are methodically surveying sea conditions they say can signal droughts, floods, rainy summers, snowy winters, and other weather decades in advance. Scientists have evidence that oceans can foretell conditions like this summer's heavy rains in the Midwest and heat wave in the East. Chinese boat people

A group of 145 Chinese boat people who spent months stranded in the seas just offshore from the United States, their intended destination, returned to southern China by plane today, a Chinese official said. A second plane carrying another 145 people was expected to arrive in China later today.

The Chinese were among 659 aboard three smugglers' ships bound for the US. They were intercepted by the US Coast Guard, and the US persuaded Mexico to send most of them home. The spokesman for the Mexican Interior Ministry said they had received assurances from Beijing that deported Chinese would not be persecuted. French constitutional reform

The French Parliament met yesterday to approve constitutional measures that will make it easier to prosecute Cabinet officials for wrongdoing. The reform, proposed last year by President Francois Mitterrand amid a scandal over AIDS-tainted blood, was expected to pass easily and could speed action against former officials allegedly involved.

Among key measures: Anyone will be able to press charges, and the panel judging the cases will be expanded beyond lawmakers.

Blood transfusion victims and other critics had accused the National Assembly of avoiding prosecution, and anger over the scandal helped precipitate the Socialists' demise in March elections. US-Cuban relations

Fidel Castro said Sunday that it is up to the US to decide whether it wants better relations with Cuba. He also praised President Clinton as the leader of a new generation of politicians in the US capable of peace. Cuba has been making a number of goodwill gestures and comments aimed at the US. Mexican privatization

A group of investors led by the head of the consumer electronics chain Elektra will pay almost $650 million for two television networks and other state-owned properties, the Mexican government said Sunday. After the 1990 sale of the country's telephone monopoly and 1992 privatization of 18 banks, the sell-off is the largest by the reformist administration of Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

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