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WAR IN YUGOSLAVIAThe Yugoslav Army said yesterday it had agreed on an "absolute and mutual cease-fire" with Croatian forces. Tanjug news agency said the agreement was announced by Gen. Veljko Kadijevic, the Yugoslav defense minister. Tanjug also said the truce was agreed in accordance with an EC-sponsored cease-fire pact brokered by former British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington and signed last Tuesday - but which never took effect. The announcement yesterday came shortly after the key Croatian town of Petrinja near th e breakaway republic's capital, Zagreb, fell to Army troops after days of vicious street fighting. MIDDLE EAST The United States, weary of haggling over conditions for attending a Middle East peace conference, likely will issue invitations to the talks by the end of September in an effort to "force decisions," State Department officials said over the weekend.

UNITED STATES The contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination sounded an introspective and at times openly self-critical tone Saturday as they gathered in Los Angeles for the first candidates' forum of the 1992 campaign. While presenting a united front against President Bush and the "greedy" policies of the Republican Party, the candidates and potential candidates told members of the Democratic National Committee to learn from the mistakes of the past that have kept the Democrats out of the White House in al l but four of the last 23 years.... The Huntington Library, in San Marino, Calif., will allow scholars throughout the world to study 3,000 master photographic negatives of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the library director, William Moffett, said Saturday. Access to the negatives, which have been held by the library for the past 10 years, has been limited until now to a small group of scholars responsible for translating and publishing the documents.

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EUROPE Jubilant Armenians hoisted national flags after voting Saturday by a wide margin to endorse independence from Moscow. Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who was once jailed for nationalist offenses, predicted that an overwhelming result in favor would prompt Parliament to declare independence today.... The new Soviet defense minister outlined sweeping reforms of the military that would cut enlistment time for conscripts, offer higher pay and benefits to career soldiers, and move toward a fully volun teer armed forces. Marshal Yevgeny Shaposhnikov said he also supported a change to civilian control of the Defense Ministry.... The European Community made substantial progress Saturday toward an agreement on Economic and Monetary Union that could lead to the creation of a single currency as early as 1997, according to Dutch Finance Minister Wim Kok.

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