MONITORS HEAD FOR BOSNIA-SERB BORDER The first batch of international monitors headed to Yugoslavia yesterday to begin verifying that Serbia has stopped supplying Bosnian Serbs with war materiel. The initial team will be an international staff of 135, aided by 130 Yugoslav interpreters and drivers. Serbia and Montenegro, the two remaining republics of the former Yugoslavia, had promised to stop providing Bosnian Serbs with weapons in exchange for the end to economically crippling international sanctions. European Union envoy Lord David Owen said he expected a quick initial assessment, but could not predict when the United Nations Security Council might decide to ease sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro. Foreign chips for Japan

Foreign manufacturers grabbed a record 21.9 percent of Japan's computer-chip market in the second quarter after winning a 20.7 percent share in the first, US Trade Representative Mickey Kantor's office said yesterday.

This marked the third straight quarter that the foreign share of Japan's semiconductor market topped the critical 20 percent mark the level set as a goal in the controversial US-Japan microchip pact.

Staring into the sun

A $14-million satellite released from the space shuttle Discovery focused at the sun's searing corona yesterday to help unlock mysteries about solar winds. Astronaut Susan Helms used Discovery's robot arm to release the 2,800-pound satellite, named Spartan, on Tuesday for two days of free flight. It will focus on the streams of charged particles that rush through the solar system and are sometimes visible on Earth as beautiful auroras, also called northern (or southern) lights.

Georgian refugees return

Separatists in the western province of Abkhazia put their army on alert yesterday after Russian and Georgian officials announced that Georgian refugees will start returning to the restive area. Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze said the first stage will involve 10,000 refugees who will return to Abkhazia's Ghali region.

Rwanda is totally broke

After months of ethnic slaughter, Rwanda is completely broke and can do little on its own to revive its tattered economy, the government said yesterday. No aid for rebuilding the devastated central African nation is in the pipeline and there is no money even to pay civil servants, who are surviving on UN food handouts.

More smuggled plutonium

Police have found 19 containers of radioactive materials, including plutonium and strontium, in two cellars in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. The material the biggest haul ever uncovered in Bulgaria was either stolen locally or smuggled into the country, said Col. Venelin Velikov of the central service for the fight against organized crime. Six Bulgarians, who police said were ``probably amateurs,'' were arrested.

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