RUSSIANS PRESS BATTLE FOR GROZNY Russian tanks and soldiers tried to seize the Presidential Palace in savage street fighting in Grozny yesterday, while Chechen rebels darted from house to house trying to knock out Russian armor. Russia poured reinforcements toward the besieged Chechen capital and appeared to be preparing for a new assault. The artillery barrage of recent days has given way mainly to tank fire as well as massive machine-gun and small-arms fire. The area around the Presidential Palace, symbol of Chechnya's independence drive, has become the main target of the Russian forces. The Russian government claimed its troops were within a few hundred yards of the palace. Bosnia talks bog down

United Nations efforts to consolidate Bosnia's cease-fire ran into difficulties yesterday as Serbs and the government side failed to agree on the status of a demilitarized zone near Sarajevo. A meeting of rival military commanders set for tomorrow at Sarajevo airport to discuss implementation of the four-month ``cessation of hostilities'' appeared in question, while regional negotiations also came under strain.

Israel, PLO reopen talks

PLO and Israeli negotiators reopened talks yesterday on expanding Palestinian self-rule into the occupied West Bank. The talks the first since mid-December on autonomy have been stalled by violence between Palestinians and Israelis and by PLO charges that Israel is reneging on agreements to withdraw its troops from West Bank towns. PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres also were meeting, at the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, to try to push forward the peace process.

California rivers flood

Hundreds of people evacuated their homes in two northern California counties as torrential rains caused severe flooding. The flooding in Sonoma and Napa Counties, which lie just to the north of San Francisco, was the worst in the area in almost 10 years. Two storms in two days dropped up to five inches of rain in parts of northern California, causing the Napa and Russian Rivers to flood. Storms continued yesterday.

Iran-Russia A-plant deal

Amid growing concern over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, Iran and Russia have signed an $800- million deal to complete construction of a nuclear facility halted by the 1979 Islamic revolution. Although Tehran television said the agreement is devoted to peaceful power generation, it coincided with estimates that Iran may be less than five years away from nuclear-arms possession.

Fed acts to support peso

The Federal Reserve said yesterday it was intervening in the foreign-exchange market to help bolster the Mexican peso. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the arm of the US central bank that conducts market operations, said it was buying pesos and selling dollars at the request of its Mexican counterpart.

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