NETANYA, Israel, March 27 (UPI) -- At least 15 people were killed and 80 wounded Wednesday when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in a hotel in the coastal town of Netanya in northern Israel, Israeli police said. The blast, which occurred around 7:30 p.m., came when Israelis were marking the start of the weeklong Passover holiday with the ritual Seder meal. El Dein al Qassam, the armed wing of the militant Hamas organization, claimed responsibility for the bombing. Israeli police said the suicide bomber blew himself up in the lobby of the seaside Park Hotel on King David Street in Netanya, north of Tel Aviv. Police officials said 15 people were dead and 80 were wounded -- 17 listed in serious condition and 10 in critical condition.
Abdullah initiative draws Arab support
BEIRUT, Lebanon, March 27 (UPI) -- Syrian and Egyptian leaders voiced support Wednesday for Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's peace initiative at the Beirut Arab Conference. "This initiative is a basket of ideas where we put all our principles and ideas to be presented to the world," Syrian President Bashar Assad said. Assad said the prince's initiative confirmed to the world the Arab desire for peace. Abdullah's initiative offers peace and recognition to Israel in return for its conformity to a number of requirements; complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 line, the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital, and the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland. Assad said the initiative would expose Israelis who are not working for peace.
Iraq-Kuwait accord unlikely
BEIRUT, Lebanon, March 27 (UPI) -- Kuwait said Wednesday it still does not trust Iraq's intentions, making a possible accord to restore normal ties between the two countries difficult. "It is impossible that we put the sovereignty and stability of Kuwait within the circle of Iraqi intentions," Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al Ahmed Jaber al Sabah said during the Arab summit meeting in Beirut. "They say the opposite of what they show." Al Sabah said Iraq's detention of more than 600 Kuwaitis was "a continued ordeal." He renewed calls on Iraq to respect the security, independence and territorial integrity of Kuwait and "refrain from any provocative or aggressive action." Sabah also called on Iraq to release all Kuwaiti prisoners and detainees.
UN revises Afghan toll
KABUL, Afghanistan, March 27 (UPI) -- Aftershocks continued to rock northern Afghanistan Wednesday evening but the United Nations said the death toll could be much less than reported earlier. U.N. officials told an emergency-planning meeting in Kabul that they have confirmed 600 deaths, significantly lower than what was being anticipated Tuesday. "The projection for total fatalities is between 800 and 1200 people," said Ashraf Ghani, director of the Afghanistan Assistance Coordination Agency. "But the shock waves, that began in the evening of March 25 continued through the afternoon of March 27 ... forcing thousands of people spend to spend the night out in the open in freezing cold," a U.N. report said.
Americans in Italy warned of terror
WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- U.S. citizens in Italy are being warned of possible terrorist threats in Italy coinciding with the Easter holiday scheduled for later this week. A public notice from the embassy posted Wednesday says, "The U.S. government continues to receive credible reports that extremists are planning additional terrorist actions against U.S. interests. The U.S. Government has learned that a possible threat exists to U.S. citizens in the cities of Venice, Florence, Milan and Verona on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2002, from extremist groups." The warning did not identify specific groups or the nature of the threats.
Actor Dudley Moore dead at 66
LOS ANGELES, March 27 (UPI) -- Actor Dudley Moore, who seduced Bo Derek in the movie "10," died Wednesday at his home in New Jersey, spokeswoman Michelle Bega said. He was 66. Bega said Moore died at 11 a.m. EST of pneumonia as a complication of progressive supranuclear palsy, which he was diagnosed with in 1997. Moore had long suffered from the rare incurable Parkinson-like disease. An accomplished pianist, the British comedian starred as the drunken playboy millionaire in 1981's "Arthur" and the sequel, "Arthur 2: On the Rocks."
Report: Online privacy practices improve
WASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) -- A survey of the policies controlling use of personal information gathered by Internet sites shows companies are taking privacy more seriously, a think tank said Wednesday. The Progress and Freedom Foundation sponsored the survey, which basically mirrored a Federal Trade Commission study done in late 2000 to provide the most comparable data possible, said Jeffery Eisenach, PFF's president. The survey looked at 85 of the most popular sites, such as amazon.com, cnn.com and yahoo.com, as well as a random sample of sites receiving more than 39,000 visits a month.
Shares higher on improved econ data
NEW YORK, March 27 (UPI) -- Stock prices on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market ended moderately higher in light trading Wednesday, lifted by several favorable reports on the economy. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average rose 74.38 points, or 0.72 percent, to 10,427.74, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 2.58 points, or 0.14 percent, to close at 1,826.75 with 1.1 billion shares traded. The broader New York Stock Exchange composite index gained 4.22 points to 599.90, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 6.18 points to 1,144.67.