RUSSIANS RENEW BOMBING OF CHECHNYA Russian warplanes resumed bombing Chechnya yesterday after leaders of the rebel republic refused President Boris Yeltsin's offer of peace talks. In a televised speech Tuesday, Mr. Yeltsin said he had ordered a halt to airstrikes ``that cause civilian casualties'' in Grozny. He also proposed new peace talks. But the raids resumed after Chechen officials dismissed his speech for failing to meet their main demand: withdrawal of troops. Chechnya, a republic in the Caucasus Mountains, unilaterally declared independence from Russia in 1991. Bosnia truce in jeopardy

The top UN commander in Bosnia traveled to the battered northwest region yesterday to try to salvage a hard-won truce that is being threatened by escalating attacks. If Lt. Gen. Michael Rose fails to silence guns in the Bihac area, prospects will be dim for setting up the four-month truce between the Muslim-led government and Bosnian Serbs that Jimmy Carter brokered last week. US official to N. Korea

A US diplomat crossed over the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea yesterday morning to seek the release of US pilot Bobby Hall. Thomas Hubbard, a deputy assistant secretary of state who has negotiated with North Korea before, is trying to defuse an already difficult international incident that has suddenly become more tense. Mr. Hall has been held since his US Army helicopter went down Dec. 17 in North Korea. Chief Warrant Officer David Hilemon died in the crash. His body was returned last Thursday. Texas now No. 2

Texas has passed New York to become America's second most populous state. The Census Bureau said Tuesday that Texas added 356,000 residents in the 12 months prior to July 1, bringing the total to approximately 18.4 million residents on that date. New York, which added only 16,000, had about 18.2 million. California remains No. 1 by far with 31.4 million residents. Maryland challenged

Claiming widespread fraud in a governor's race decided by 5,993 votes, Republican Ellen Sauerbrey asked a judge to declare her the winner or order a new election. Ms. Sauerbrey lost to Democrat Parris Glendening in Maryland's closest gubernatorial race in 75 years. She said Tuesday that volunteers had identified more than 11,000 suspected cases of fraud or illegal voting. Suicide law delayed

US District Judge Michael Hogan issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday preventing Oregon's assisted-suicide law from taking effect until a court can decide if it is constitutional. Measure 16, approved by voters 51 percent to 49 percent in November, allows a person to request a lethal dose of drugs if at least two doctors determine the patient has less than six months to live. Quake rocks Japan

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 shook northern Japan yesterday, killing at least two people and injuring more than 110. Authorities warned that tidal waves could strike coastal areas. The quake was centered about 95 miles east of Hachinohe, a city of about 240,000 people about 375 miles north of Tokyo. `Rhino' put on hold

The developer of a controversial new armor-piercing bullet promised yesterday to delay the handgun ammunition's release. David Keen told NBC that he has decided to put the bullet called ``Black Rhino'' on hold, even if it is federally approved.

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