EVENTS

SARAJEVO SHELLING MAY THREATEN TALKS Sarajevo was rocked by heavy artillery exchanges yesterday after Serb forces mounted a predawn attack just north of the capital. The fighting flared a day before peace talks were to resume. The center of the city, including the area around the presidency building, was hit with some of the heaviest shelling in weeks. There was no immediate word whether the fighting might affect President Alija Izetbegovic's expected participation in peace talks, scheduled to begin today in Geneva. The president and his colle agues conferred as shells landed nearby. International mediators have summoned the warring parties to Geneva to "sit in continuous session until a settlement is reached," a United Nations statement said. Mr. Izetbegovic said Wednesday his government agreed with the idea of the talks, but added: "All offensive actions must stop, and humanitarian aid should be normalized." Guerrillas mass at Angkor

Cambodia's Khmer Rouge guerrillas, apparently trying to bolster their political bargaining power, have been massing for a suspected effort to seize the fabled temples at Angkor, a senior United Nations military officer said yesterday.

Several sources told UN peacekeepers that the guerrillas intend to seize Angkor Wat, and the nearby provincial capital, Siem Reap, said the officer. The Khmer Rouge has been demanding a role in the new government, and the officer said the group appears to be trying to portray itself as a threat the government cannot afford to ignore. Floods swamp South Asia

Floods and landslides caused by four weeks of torrential rains across India, Bangladesh, and Nepal have killed nearly 1,000 people and driven millions from their homes. Rampaging rivers, swollen by the monsoons, have swept away road and rail bridges, cut communication lines, and overflowed into towns and farmland, destroying crops and cattle worth millions of dollars.

The death toll in the three countries stood at 983 on Wednesday, including 523 killed in India. Some 4 million people have been left homeless, according to state and federal governments. Nicaraguan rebels attack

About 200 rebels attacked the northern Nicaraguan city of Esteli on Wednesday and engaged government troops in some of the worst fighting since Nicaragua's civil war ended in 1990.

Since then, bands of former rebels and discharged soldiers have been rearming to protest what they say is President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro's failure to provide promised land and money for resettlement. Troops and rearmed rebels have clashed occasionally near Esteli in the last two years. Unemployment jumps in US

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly shot up by 24,000 last week to the highest level in 13 weeks, the government said yesterday.

The Labor Department said new applications for unemployment insurance totaled 352,000 during the week ended July 17, up from a revised estimate of 328,000 a week earlier. Officials were unable to say immediately whether the Midwestern floods contributed to the large increase. US service plan backed

President Clinton's plan to establish a national service program to help students pay for college is winning solid backing from congressional Democrats. Republicans in both the Senate and the House failed in a series of party-line votes Wednesday to scale back the legislation, which has an estimated cost of $9.5 billion over five years.

Philippine church crusade

The Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines will "sabotage" any attempt by President Fidel Ramos to curb the country's population growth, a church spokesman said yesterday.

The Rev. James Reuters said Mr. Ramos's strong push to slow population growth as part of the effort to boost the country's economy is pushing his government in a direct clash with the country's Roman Catholic majority.

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