U.S. TRADE DEFICIT SOARS The United States trade deficit worsened dramatically in July as the imbalance in merchandise soared to the second-highest level in history, the government said Sept. 20. The Commerce Department said the overall deficit in goods and services jumped 21.6 percent to $10.99 billion, reflecting weakness in American exports and a rise in foreign oil prices. On just the goods side, it was the second-worst monthly merchandise deficit on record, exceeded only by an all-time high of $15.9 billion in December 1985. For the first seven months this year, the deficit is running at an annual rate of $145.8 billion, putting the country well on track to its worst merchandise deficit since a record $152.1 billion imbalance in 1987. Volcanoes bury Rabaul

Ships rescued thousands of villagers from beaches near the devastated port of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, Sept. 20 as two erupting volcanoes continued to spew thick ash, dense black smoke, and poisonous fumes. Most of the city's 30,000 residents and people from surrounding villages fled just before two volcanoes erupted Sept. 19. Witnesses said the city had been devastated by a three-foot layer of ash and mud, which had crushed a number of buildings.

Apple suit rejected

Apple Computer Inc. doesn't have sole claim to computer screen symbols such as file folders and trash cans, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled 3 to 0 Sept. 19, refusing to reinstate the company's $5.5 billion copyright lawsuit. Apple claimed in 1988 that Microsoft's Windows and Hewlett-Packard's NewWave programs violated Apple's copyright for the screen display on its Macintosh personal computers. Both programs are widely used with IBM-compatible computers, Apple's rivals. Violence in Sri Lanka

Tamil rebels rammed an explosives-laden vessel into the Sri Lankan Navy's largest warship, the 330-ton patrol vessel Sagarawardene, Sept. 19. One sailor was killed and 24 were missing, officials said. It was the most serious attack since a new government offered peace talks to end the 11-year-old civil war.

General Assembly convenes

The UN General Assembly, a parliament of 184 nations operating in the shadow of the 15-member Security Council, convened its 49th session Sept. 20 to debate the world community's role in Haiti, Bosnia, and other hotspots. The assembly was to elect Foreign Minister Amara Essy of Ivory Coast as its president.

Mob roundup in Italy

A former interior minister, Antonio Gava, who once was one of Italy's most powerful politicians, was arrested Sept. 20 in a major sweep intended to smash alleged ties between politicians and the mob. Nearly 100 people were picked up in dawn raids, including several other politicians.

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