U.N. criticized for allowing Saddam to bilk program

UNITED NATIONS - In a devastating assessment of the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq, investigators strongly criticized Secretary-General Kofi Annan, his deputy and the Security Council for allowing Saddam Hussein to bilk $10.2 billion from the giant humanitarian operation and oil smuggling operations.

Annan said he took personal responsibility for the lapses but he stressed he had no plans to resign. ''The report is critical of me personally, and I accept the criticism,'' he said.

Militants kill former Palestinian security chief

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - About 100 masked militants stormed the heavily guarded home of Gaza's former security chief early Wednesday, dragged him out in his pajamas and killed him in a burst of gunfire - a brazen challenge to the Palestinian Authority days before Israel was to hand over Gaza.

Moussa Arafat, a 65-year-old cousin of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was killed after a 30-minute gunbattle between the assailants and dozens of bodyguards. The fighting with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles raged just a block from the headquarters of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service. The gunmen also kidnapped Arafat's oldest son, Manhal.

Typhoon kills at least 16 in Japan

TOKYO - A powerful tropical storm churned northward through the Sea of Japan on Wednesday, killing at least 16 people and leaving landslides and flooded towns in its wake.

The storm made landfall late Wednesday night on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, where up to 10 inches of rain was expected by early today, the Meteorological Agency said.

Typhoon Nabi had slammed into southern Japan on Tuesday, flooding towns and driving more than 300,000 people from their homes. About 1,500 soldiers were deployed to fortify coastal defenses and help in the rescue effort.

Man who threw grenade at Bush indicted by U.S.

WASHINGTON - A man who admitted throwing a live grenade toward President Bush during a rally in the Soviet republic of Georgia was indicted Wednesday by a U.S. grand jury on charges of trying to assassinate the president.

Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili were behind a bulletproof barrier addressing a rally of thousands in Tbilisi in May when the grenade, admittedly thrown by Vladimir Arutyunian, landed about 100 feet away. It did not explode.

- From wire reports