WHITE HOUSE SEES STRONGER ECONOMY The White House said Wednesday it expects the nation's economy to strengthen for the remainder of this year and into next year as inflation stays under control. It also predicted a slow decline in the jobless rate. But the anticipated increase in economic activity will not be enough to lift the overall growth rate for the fourth quarter of 1992 and the first three quarters of 1993 above a meager 2 percent, the administration said. Also on Wednesday, the Commerce Department blamed floods in the Midwest and a drought in the Southeast for a 0.2 percent reduction in US personal income last month. And yesterday, the Commerce Department reported that US factory orders in July had tumbled 2.1 percent, their sharpest drop since December 1991. Typhoon rolls toward Japan

One of the most powerful typhoons to menace Japan in decades gathered momentum as it continued to head toward southern Japan, Japanese weathermen and media reported yesterday. Packing winds of 112 m.p.h., Typhoon Yancy is likely to make landfall on Japan's southern main island of Kyushu around midday today. Chinese ship searched

China said a Sino-Saudi inspection of a Chinese vessel in the Persian Gulf had turned up no trace of banned chemical weapons components, which the United States had alleged the ship was carrying to Iran.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman claimed all the Iranian-bound cargo already had been searched, but that would not account for all of the nearly 600 containers aboard the Yinhe. China has said the Yinhe was carrying only paper products, hardware, and machine parts to Iran. Fire at German hostel

A woman jumped from a window to her death yesterday trying to escape a fire that broke out in a refugee home, police said. Four others who leaped from windows to escape the blaze were injured.

There was no indication the fire was set by right-wing extremists, said police spokesman Karl-Anton Koenig. Rightists have often attacked foreigners in the past year. Mr. Koenig said the 45 residents, mostly Albanians, had not reported threats previous to the fire, which broke out about 4 a.m. Angolan aid drop

Portugal collaborated yesterday in an airdrop of food into the Angolan city of Cuito, whose starving population has been under siege by the UNITA rebels for eight months, a Foreign ministry spokeswoman said. UNITA has been shelling Cuito for weeks.

UNITA has been fighting the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975. A short-lived peace agreement signed in 1991 broke down after UNITA rejected its defeat by the MPLA in UN-supervised elections last September. Koreas to exchange envoys

South Korea accepted yesterday a North Korean proposal to exchange special envoys to discuss nuclear issues on the divided peninsula. The decision opened the way for the two nations to resume dialogue on making the Korean peninsula nuclear-free. Talks were cut off by North Korea's Communist regime early this year to protest US-South Korea military exercises. Azeris plan election

Azerbaijan yesterday set early presidential elections for Oct. 3 and cleared the last hurdle for its acting leader, Soviet-era veteran Gaidar Aliyev, to run for the post.

As new losses loomed for the demoralized Azeri Army at the hands of Armenians in southern Azerbaijan, the parliament in Baku paved the way for the 70-year-old Aliyev to run for election by scrapping an age limit of 65 for the presidency. New elections were made possible after a no-confidence vote Aug. 29 in elected President Abulfez Elcibey, who fled Baku after an armed rebellion in June. World chess match

When the World Chess Championship opens in London Sept. 7, world champion Gary Kasparov of Russia will meet Nigel Short, the first Briton to challenge for the title this century. $1.5 million is at stake in the 24-game, two-month match.

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