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News Briefs II

Small Bomb Injures 21 in Israel

Los Angeles Times
TEL AVIV, Israel

A small bomb packed with nails exploded during morning rush hour near a busy intersection here Thursday, injuring 21 people, one of them seriously.

The explosion shattered windows and sent debris flying into traffic, but police said most of the injuries were relatively light. The bomb, concealed in a garbage bin outside a candy shop, blew up just after a city bus dropped off a number of people at a nearby stop, but police said that most of the passengers had dispersed.

One woman remained in intensive care late Thursday at a Tel Aviv hospital, where she was being treated for burns, officials said. Other victims, including a pregnant woman and a 17-month-old baby, were treated for shock or cuts from flying glass.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility. But police officials said a preliminary investigation pointed toward the involvement of Palestinian militant groups, which recently have renewed threats to attack Israelis.

Hours after the blast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the injured in Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital and called on the Palestinian Authority to intensify its fight against terrorism or risk what remains of the faltering peace process.

Arms Inspector's Resignation Puts White House on Defensive

Los Angeles Times

The noisy resignation of a senior U.N. arms inspector put the Clinton administration on the defensive Thursday, as it sought to explain an Iraq policy that critics assail as a new soft line toward a dangerous regime.

Faced with deepening divisions on the U.N. Security Council, the administration in recent months has tried to reduce conflicts over the inspectors' intrusive forays into suspected Iraqi weapons sites. The goal has been to deprive Saddam Hussein of a key propaganda point while shifting the world's attention to the Iraqi president's increased flouting of U.N. resolutions that ended the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Hussein has permitted no inspections of possible sites since early August; he had agreed to the access last February as he faced the threat of a U.S. military strike.

But even as administration officials claimed to be seeing signs that their new approach might be working, frustration was growing among U.N. inspectors who complained they were being being held back by the United States - and the Security Council - from ferreting out Hussein's secret arsenal.

The angry resignation letter submitted Wednesday by inspector Scott Ritter left administration officials scrambling to explain their nuanced approach and worrying that public opinion could turn decisively against them.

Top Air Safety Officials Rip FAA Over Comair Commuter Crash

Los Angeles Times

The nation's top safety officials leveled another blast at the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday, blaming the FAA for last year's fatal crash of a Comair commuter plane during a snowstorm near Detroit.

The report focused on procedures for aircraft in icing conditions.

"The probable cause of this accident was the FAA's failure to establish adequate aircraft certification standards for flight in icing conditions, the FAA's failure to ensure that an approved procedure for the accident plane's de-ice system operation was implemented by U.S. carriers and the FAA's failure to require the establishment of adequate minimum airspeeds for icing conditions," the National Transportation Safety Board said.