ISRAEL SENDS DELEGATION TO TUNISIA Israel sent its first official delegation ever for talks in Tunisia yesterday in another sign of its increasingly normal relations with the Arab world. Three senior Foreign Ministry officials were to discuss arrangements for a conference on refugees that Tunisia is hosting next month, a spokesman said. Tunisia, which has hosted the PLO since Israel drove it from its base in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1982, has no diplomatic relations with Israel but is considered a moderate Arab state. The Tunis conference, grouping Israel, Arab nations, and several other countries, is part of a series of meetings held parallel to the direct peace talks between Israelis and Arabs. Schools reopen in NYC

Back to school didn't mean back to normal yesterday morning as classes, delayed by a lingering asbestos scare, resumed belatedly for most of New York City's 1 million public-school children. Parents had considerable trouble getting the details as the confusion that surrounded the 11-day delay continued on opening day.

On Aug. 6, Mayor David Dinkins announced that asbestos inspections done in the 1980s had been botched and had to be repeated, touching off a frantic rush to check the city's more than 1,000 school buildings. The renewed inspections turned up asbestos in many schools. Japan's SDP elects chair

After a political fight that spotlighted the splits in Japan's ruling coalition, the biggest party in the alliance picked a chairman yesterday. The new Social Democratic Party chief is Tomiichi Murayama, a lawmaker known for his mediating abilities. He won nearly 80 percent of the votes of party members, with rival Masatoshi Ito, a Buddhist minister, coming in second.

The party election highlighted the sharp division between moderates and a smaller but influential faction of old-style leftists. The Socialists disagree over reform bills of the government they joined. UN mortars in Somalia

United Nations officials conceded on Sunday that their forces could have fired two mortars that injured 34 civilians outside Digfer Hospital a day earlier. On Saturday, officials said they believed no mortars were fired by UN troops. But UN military spokesman Maj. David Stockwell said Sunday that two mortars were aimed at a field adjacent to the hospital where UN troops believed militiamen were firing at the UN compound.

United States soldiers shot and killed two Somali gunmen yesterday after a Pakistani peacekeeper was wounded in a militia attack on UN forces. The fighting erupted after a night of sporadic battles. Time Inc. reorganizes

Time Inc., the publishing arm of Time Warner Inc., announced a sweeping reorganization aimed at cutting costs while positioning the company for future growth. The reshuffling unveiled Sunday includes management changes at Time Inc.'s core New York-based magazines, some staff reductions, and creation of a new business to market company products across a range of media.

The company says the changes represent a refocusing of its management resources on its main magazines, which include Time, Life, Fortune, Sports Illutrated, Money, People, and Entertainment Weekly. The moves come as the magazines struggle to recover from the industry's recent recession. World-wide trash pickup

The organizers of a campaign to pick up trash estimate that 30 million people in 79 countries participated over the weekend in the first ``Clean Up the World'' campaign. Organizers said they were ``astounded'' at the turnout, which included 175,000 volunteers in Ireland and 100,000 in Taiwan. The island of Mauritius collected 67 tons of garbage. Participation in the US was much smaller. Hurricane threatens Mexico

Hurricane Gert gained strength over the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, threatening to lash the Mexican coast with winds of at least 75 m.p.h. The storm was expected to hit Mexico late yesterday. Forecasters predicted up to 10 inches of rain, which could unleash flash floods and mud slides. Gert claimed 28 lives last week as a tropical storm that pummeled Central America.

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