INFLATION AND THE FED US consumer prices rose a tiny 0.1 percent in October as falling energy prices and moderation in food costs combined to give the country its best inflation performance in six months. The small increase in the Labor Department's Consumer Price Index was better than expected. Yesterday's report was certain to provide ammunition to critics of the Federal Reserve who contend that the central bank is engaged in monetary overkill. The latest Fed rate hike occurred Tuesday when it boosted two key rates by .75 of a percentage point. It was the biggest increase in the Fed's discount rate, the interest it charges on bank loans, since May 1981. Major banks immediately followed suit by pushing their prime rate up by a similar three-quarters of a point to 8.5 percent.

Bosnian troops bog down

Bosnian government forces, trying to solidify battlefield gains before winter sets in, appear to be running out of ammunition and other supplies, a UN official said yesterday. Fighting continued in the Bihac region of northwest Bosnia, where Serbs have retaken territory captured by Muslim-led government troops in recent weeks, and in other flashpoints in northern and central Bosnia. But front lines appeared to have changed little. UN spokesman Lt. Col. Tim Spicer said government attacks that began late last month may have run their course for now.

Ukraine and nukes

Ukraine's parliament approved membership in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a nonnuclear state yesterday but attached conditions. A total of 301 of the chamber's 394 members approved a law outlining terms of membership in the 1968 pact under which Ukraine is to give up for good its nuclear arsenal, the world's third largest. The deputies also approved a series of conditions mainly making membership contingent on Ukraine first receiving guarantees of its security from other nuclear powers.

Heavy fighting in Somalia

Heavy fighting between rival clan forces erupted in Somalia's breakaway northwestern capital of Hargeisa, forcing relief workers and hundreds of civilians to flee, foreign aid officials said yesterday.

Maryland, California races

Absentee ballots lifted Democrat Parris Glendening to a paper-thin victory in the Maryland governor's race. The unofficial tally Tuesday gave Glendening 706,531 votes to 701,126 for Republican Ellen Sauerbrey, with a handful of absentee ballots from overseas still to be counted.

Meanwhile, in the California Senate election, Democrat Dianne Feinstein's lead grew Tuesday to 137,867 votes in her race against Republican Michael Huffington, who has refused to concede. About 520,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted.

No more `Evening at Pops'?

After 25 years, it may be the finale for the beloved ``Evening at Pops'' TV series. The Boston Symphony Orchestra's summertime concert series has to raise at least $1.25 million by Feb. 1 for national programming to go on. Concerts would still continue, but they wouldn't be seen on national TV.

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