WORLD'S RELIGIONS SIGN PEACE DECREE The Parliament of the World's Religions closed over the weekend with leaders of the assembly saying the first meeting of its kind in a century had produced a fresh sense of openness and communication. The parliament, representing Buddhist, Christian, Confucian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Unitarian, and Zoroastrian religions, as well as indigenous, interfaith, and non-sectarian groups, signed a code of ethics that condemns aggression and hatred in the name of religion, along with environmental abuses, arms stockpiling, and sexual discrimination. The first such parliament, held at the Columbian Exposition of 1893, was credited with launching a dialogue among the world's religions. France threatens farm veto

Premier Edouard Balladur yesterday renewed France's threat to veto a US-European Community agreement on farm trade unless Washington makes further concessions. France is Europe's largest agricultural exporter. The government contends that the so-called Blair House accord worked out last November but not yet ratified would slash French exports by 21 percent. Most of France's European partners have expressed unease about the tough stance taken by Paris. EC agriculture and foreign ministers are scheduled to discuss the dilemma Sept. 20. Salvador left's candidates

El Salvador's former leftist rebels, of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), launched their campaign for 1994 presidential elections Sunday, less than two years after pledging a farewell to arms under United Nations-sponsored peace accords.

The FMLN presented leftist politician Ruben Zamora as its candidate for president and lawyer-businessman Francisco Lima as candidate for vice-president, hoping to build a broad coalition of the center-left. The former rebels back a free market economy but would emphasize the fight against poverty. Colombian rebellion

The Army struck back at leftist rebels on an offensive by shooting dead at least 16, military reports said Sunday. The rebels, mostly belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, died in clashes Saturday throughout Colombia. Last week, they began an offensive called ``Black September'' in which 33 soldiers and policemen have died.

The Cuban-inspired rebel group has been attacking Colombia's oil infrastructure continually since 1986. It says it wants to force authorities to nationalize the petroleum industry and expel foreign investors. Azeri leader in Moscow

Azerbaijan's acting president, Gaidar Aliyev, promised yesterday to repair ties with Moscow as he sought Russia's help in stopping the advance of Armenian forces into Azerbaijan. Russian President Boris Yeltsin offered his counterpart no immediate response for a Russian peacekeeping plan.

In the past year, ethnic Armenian troops have pushed all Azerbaijanis out of the Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh and advanced into surrounding areas of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan now says nearly 20 percent of its territory is in Armenian hands. Renault-Volvo merger

France's Renault SA and Sweden's Volvo AB announced yesterday that they will merge on Jan. 1, forming the world's sixth largest automaker in an alliance aimed at boosting the companies' global competitiveness.

Renault and Volvo will retain their separate brands, product lines, and commercial networks. Renault's market power is centered in France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, while Volvo has a greater reach in northern Europe, Britain, and North America. Americans' gambling habit

Americans wagered at least $6.4 billion on bingo, raffles, and other charity ticket games last year, according to an industry survey that found little change from 1991. The bets netted about $721 million for charities in 26 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Association of Fundraising Ticket Manufacturers. The survey did not include winnings from electronic gambling, such as slots and video machines, which compete with tickets the association manufactures.

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