Returns yesterday showed Serbia's authoritarian president, Slobodan Milosevic, headed toward re-election in voting that foreign observers said was riddled with irregularities. First official results indicated Mr. Milosevic would likely beat Yugoslavia's federal Premier Milan Panic, his main challenger. Milosevic is widely blamed for fomenting war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. His victory would further isolate Serbia. Relief airdrops resume

The United Nations has resumed food airdrops into a remote area of Somalia, but its relief flights into the stricken country may be cut back by fuel shortages, a spokesperson said yesterday. Airdrops into 13 different locations in the hunger-ravaged south-central zone were suspended two weeks ago because of danger on the ground. Meanwhile a combat regiment of United States Marines moved to Baidoa yesterday to establish a base for extending relief to Somalia's famished heartland. Brazilian trial delayed

Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello, who faces impeachment on corruption charges, forced a week's delay in his trial Monday with a last-minute announcement that he and his lawyers would not attend the proceeding's scheduled start yesterday. Supreme Court President Sydney Sanches, who is overseeing the proceedings, said he would name a new lawyer to defend Collor and that the trial would begin Dec. 29. Satellite disappears

A telecommunications satellite launched by China has disappeared and the Australian owners said yesterday that they have given it up for lost. The disappearance could set back China's ambitions in the competitive international launch industry. Libyan plane crashes

A Libyan plane on a domestic flight crashed yesterday, killing all 157 people aboard, Libya's JANA news agency reported. Passport case pursued

A federal court ordered an independent counsel to pursue any leads that point to White House involvement in the preelection search of Bill Clinton's passport files. The special three-judge court responsible for appointing independent counsels confirmed Monday that White House aide Janet Mullins is the main target of the probe. But the panel authorized independent counsel Joseph diGenova to pursue any evidence that points to other White House officials. US output rises

US economic output grew at a 3.4 percent annual rate during the July-September quarter, the best showing in nearly four years but not quite as strong as earlier estimates, the government reported yesterday. Sears closings reported

Sears, Roebuck & Co. plans to close up to 100 of its smaller stores, eliminating up to 5,000 jobs nationwide, and shrink its catalog, the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday, citing unidentified company sources. Bid for USAir dropped

British Airways yesterday dropped its bid to acquire a major stake in USAir Group Inc., saying the US government would not have approved the deal to create a massive global airline partnership.

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