Yugoslav cease-fire is broken

An intense mortar barrage shattered the latest cease-fire in Sarajevo May 19, and fighting engulfed at least three towns in southern Bosnia where Serbs tried to dislodge Croat forces.

But talks continued in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, between government officials and the Serb-led Yugoslav Army on the evacuation of barracks, an undertaking that the cease-fire was supposed to facilitate.

As fighting broke out again, the European Community said it would restart peace talks in Portugal May 20 between Bosnia's feuding Muslim, Croat, and Serb communities after a three-week break.

The cease-fire, which should have lasted 21 days, was declared May 18 between all three sides to give the Army time to prepare an orderly withdrawal.

In Pristina, Albanian nationalists are reportedly preparing secret elections in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo. The vote planned for May 24 has been organized in defiance of the province's Serbian rulers. German metalworkers' strike averted

Germany has escaped a potentially devastating strike with a pay compromise that is expected to help restore the country's image as a haven of industrial stability.

The country's financial markets rose in response to a last-minute 5.8 percent wage package negotiated for western Germany's 4 million metal and engineering workers.

The accord was viewed as beneficial to the whole economy and helpful in rebuilding Germany's reputation for industrial solidity, shattered after this year's unprecedented 11-day public services strike. The metalworkers' strike could have brought German auto manufacturing and other industrial sectors to a standstill.

The pay deal provides for a basic 5.4 percent wage increase for the 12 months from the end of March and then a 3.0 percent rise for the last nine months of 1993.

Additional payments, including higher Christmas bonuses, give an overall 5.8 percent for 1992 and 3.4 percent in 1993.

The deal still must be ratified by a vote of union workers. Italy's Parliament deadlocked over president

Italy's divided and fractious Parliament attempted again May 19 to find enough common ground to elect a president. But the 10th and 11th rounds of voting both appeared likely to underline yet again the country's constitutional chaos.

Italy's dominant Christian Democrats have already said they will abstain, rendering the vote effectively meaningless.

Until a president is chosen, no government can be formed to replace the one decisively rejected in April's general election.

So deep is the chaos and so remote the chances of this Parliament ever being able to take the strong action needed to tackle Italy's chronic economic problems that calls are growing for another general election.

"Another election is becoming inevitable," Foreign Minister Gianni De Michelis told reporters May 18.

Gesturing toward the parliamentary chamber, he added: "It's absurd to think this primordial soup can ever bring reform."

Voting on a replacement for Francesco Cossiga, who resigned in April two months before the end of his seven-year term, began in uproar May 13 when Parliament members traded blows on the floor of the house and threw water bombs at each other.

That was followed by heated accusations of skulduggery as it was revealed that several members of Parliament had cheated by casting extra votes.

Former Christian Democrat Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani has come the closest to obtaining the required 508 majority from the 1,014-strong electoral college.

But his bid was sabotaged by dissident Parliament members from within the party's ranks who want a completely new face in the Quirinale presidential palace.

Since then, the left-wing parties have tried and failed to unite behind a common candidate, leaving analysts to conclude the eventual winner will probably be unassociated with any party or political current.

Names being mentioned most often are Senate leader Giovanni Spadolini and former Constitutional Court President Giovanni Conso.

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