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EUROPEIn Yugoslavia, President Stipe Mesic tried again yesterday to get federal Army units fighting in Croatia to return to barracks. He said if they did not, he would accuse the Serbian-dominated Army authorities of acting extraconstitutionally. Mesic, a Croat, heads Yugoslavia's collective presidency, which is split on the question of support for either Serbia or Croatia. Fighting in Croatia continued over the weekend. Almost 400 people have been killed since the northern republics of Croatia and Slovenia mo ved to secede from the federation. A conference convened by the European Community to bring peace to Yugoslavia got off to an acrimonious start in The Hague over the weekend, leaving diplomats warning of dire consequences unless ethnic fighting stopped. Meanwhile, the Yugoslav republic of Macedonia was expected to vote in a referendum yesterday to become an independent state, pushing the Balkan federation closer to collapse.... Russian leader Boris Yeltsin spoke enthusiastically of his new relationship with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, whom he has often criticized, and only two weeks ago publicly humbled during the short-lived coup. "His position today practically coincides with mine," Yeltsin told a panel of foreign television interviewers.... The Kremlin's Palace of Congresses, which once resounded to the Communist "Internationale," was filled Saturday night with the sound of American gospel songs by the Holy Smoke Band and other evangelistic music groups. They were rounding off a concert tour in the Soviet Union.

UNITED STATES Defense Secretary Richard Cheney Saturday invited the new Soviet defense minister, Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, to the United States and praised him as representative of a new generation of leaders who know "the proper role of the Soviet military."

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY The US Federal Reserve will look at the latest employment figures and decide to push interest rates a notch lower, several economists predicted Friday. Over the past three months, non-farm US payrolls have fallen by 37,000, reflecting a job market with little direction.... Canada's unemployment rate rose to 10.6 percent in August, its highest since April 1985, the Canadian government said Friday.... Swedish workers and companies have the unenviable distinction of bearing the heaviest tax burden in the de veloped world, according to provisional 1990 figures published Friday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Total tax revenue in Sweden last year was equal to 57.7 percent of gross domestic product.... Trade between China and Japan will reach a new high in 1991, with Japanese firms rushing back into the market after two years of self-restraint, according to a report by Reuters.... The four major Japanese securities companies, wracked by scandals, anticipate a huge 40 percent to 70 pe rcent drop in pretax profits, company forecasts showed yesterday.

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