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World Briefing - 2003-03-05

Philippine police have arrested several people in connection with a bomb attack that killed at least 19 people and wounded more than 140 others Tuesday. The bomb went off at a busy airport in the Muslim-dominated southern part of the country. President Gloria Arroyo condemned the blast as a brazen act of terrorism and said several men are in custody on suspicion of murder. It was not immediately clear who placed the bomb, but authorities listed the Muslim militant group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, among potential suspects. The group denied responsibility and said it is ready to cooperate in an investigation.

Israel's new right-wing cabinet met for the first time Tuesday. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the main tasks of his new cabinet is to increase security after 29 months of violence and tackle the worst economic crisis in the country's 54-year history. Meanwhile, the United States on Tuesday urged Israel to protect the lives and welfare of innocent Palestinians as the government cracks down on Palestinian militants.

Nineteen suspected members of the Greek terrorist group November 17 are on trial in Athens for their alleged involvement in a campaign of deadly violence. The trial began Monday under extremely tight security. November 17 is a left-wing terror group that has been blamed for 23 killings and hundreds of bombings and robberies since 1975. The 18 men and one woman on trial face life in prison if convicted.

Three people have been killed in Indonesia after a helicopter crashed into the swimming pool of a Jakarta luxury hotel. Hotel officials say the helicopter was trying to land on the building's rooftop when it bumped a hotel wall and dropped into the pool.

South Korean police have formally arrested a man suspected of starting a subway fire February 18th. The fire killed at least 198 people last month in the southeastern city of Daegu. Authorities say the 56-year-old man has a history of mental problems.