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News Briefs

Stocks Rebound After Brutal Week


Score one for the investor. Major stock averages got up off the mat Monday for the first time since equity markets reopened Sept. 17, bolstered by bargain-hunters suspecting that the bear's spectacular pummeling of the markets last week was overdone.

All three major indexes registered strong gains Monday, with the Nasdaq composite index making its biggest one-day leap since last April. The Nasdaq, which lost 16 percent last week, rose 5.33 percent, or nearly 76 points, to 1499.11.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had plunged by 14.3 percent during the first five trading days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, rose Monday by 4.46 percent, or 367.63, to 8603.44. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 3.9 percent to 1003.4.

While some market professionals called Monday's rise in stock prices a fluke, others said stocks may be close to a bottom, and ready to turn up soon. “The market has been terribly beaten down to a point that is excessive, even given everything that has gone on,” said Jeffrey M. Warantz, a market strategist for Salomon Smith Barney. “You have buyers saying ‘Enough is enough; it's time to scoop up bargains.’”

Quiet Period Shattered by Jihad Ambush on Israeli Couple


Until dawn Monday, truce talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority seemed as if they might finally take place. No guns had been fired by either side for 12 hours. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon even acknowledged the possibility that the Palestinians would one day have their own state.

That period of hope ended shortly after dawn when Palestinian gunmen ambushed a car in the Jordan Valley, killing an Israeli woman and wounding her husband. The militant group Islamic Jihad, which opposes talks between the two sides, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The cease-fire meeting that was canceled on Sunday by Israel hours before it was about to take place was canceled yet again Monday.

Officials said such a meeting is now unlikely before late Thursday, the end of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement that begins at sundown Wednesday. Sharon said through a spokesman that the 48 hours of “absolute quiet” that he has said must precede any meeting between Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had to start again from zero.

Taliban Battles Foes in the North


Rockets and artillery set homes ablaze in northern Afghanistan Monday as Taliban troops battled the Afghan opposition.

The civil war between the Northern Alliance, which represents Afghanistan’s internationally recognized government, and the Taliban militia, which controls 90 percent of the country, has intensified as the United States readies for possible military action.

In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin announced that his country will increase its support of the Afghan opposition and is prepared to supply it with weapons and military equipment but not troops.

The Taliban regime, meanwhile, continued to claim that it did not know the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, who is reported to have made a statement exhorting followers to stay “steadfast on the path of jihad,” or holy war.

The statement, reportedly signed by bin Laden on Sunday, was provided to Qatar’s Al-Jazeera satellite channel, which the exiled Saudi multimillionaire often uses to talk with the outside world.