FORCES ORDERED TO STOP BOSNIA FIGHTING Leaders of the three warring sides in Bosnia-Herzegovina, meeting at peace talks in Geneva, ordered their forces to stop fighting yesterday. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said the sides were making progress toward a political settlement that would divide the country into three ethnic states. The three sides agreed that their military chiefs would meet under UN supervision yesterday in Sarajevo "in order to reinforce this direction," said John Mills, UN spokesman for the peace talks. Numerous previous

truces, however, have failed to stop the 16-month-old war. At least 140,000 people are thought to be dead or missing in the fighting. Japan opposition candidate

Seven Japanese opposition parties driving the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from power formally chose the Japan New Party's aristocratic chief, Morihiro Hosokawa, as their candidate for prime minister.

Hosokawa, grandson of wartime prime minister Prince Fumimaro Konoe, is a maverick former regional governor who last year founded the Japan New Party, the first center-right party to challenge the LDP.

The original Hosokawa was a 14th-century daimyo, a powerful nobleman who served as deputy shogun. Zulu chief appeals to court

Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, head of the Inkatha Freedom Party, took his battle against the government and the African National Congress to the Supreme Court of South Africa yesterday in an attempt to halt South Africa's first all-race elections set for April 27.

The government of the KwaZulu black homeland, of which Mr. Buthelezi is chief minister, filed the action "as a last resort" to challenge the concept of "sufficent consensus" used by groups participating in democracy talks to reach agreement on the election date. China boosts death penalty

China is sharply increasing its use of the death penalty as its growing economic prosperity is accompanied by rising crime, the international human rights group Amnesty International said in a report seen in Beijing yesterday. The London-based group counted at least 1,890 death sentences handed down in 1992, but said some sources estimated the total was more than 5,000.

Even the lower figure was the highest counted since 1983, when an estimated 10,000 people were executed in China in a major anti-crime campaign. Low GDP growth

The United States economy grew at a disappointing 1.6 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter despite a rebound in consumer spending, the government said yesterday. The growth in the gross domestic product the sum of all goods and services produced within US borders was clearly better than the weak 0.7 percent rate registered in the first three months of the year. But it fell far short of the 2.3 percent rate predicted by private economists and the 2.5 percent to 3 percent rate forecast by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. GM finally in the black

General Motors Corp. yesterday reported a profit of $889 million for the second quarter, but its North American automotive operations continued to lose money. The gain, above industry analysts' forecasts, marked the first time the auto giant has been in the black for two consecutive quarters since the first half of 1990, when former chairman Roger Smith was at the helm. Between then and now, GM has racked up more than $30 billion in losses, by far the largest flood of red ink in the history of any US cor poration. No rate cuts at Bundesbank

Germany's Central Bank refused to cut its discount rate yesterday, ignoring appeals from European neighbors hoping to stop wild currency trading and seeking help in boosting their slumping economies. The Bundesbank, meeting in Frankfurt, left the key rate at 6.75 percent. But it cut the less important Lombard rate from 8.25 percent to 7.75 percent.

A sharp lowering of both rates had been seen by analysts, bankers, and governments around Europe as vital to the future of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, which coordinates currencies in the 12-nation European Community.

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