Archive for Thursday, June 24, 2004

Briefly

June 24, 2004

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Los Angeles

Police beating caught on tape

The televised beating of a suspected car thief Wednesday by a flashlight-wielding Los Angeles Police Department officer was described by a top department official as "Rodney King-esque," drawing comparisons with the 1991 beating of a black man by LAPD officers that led to catastrophic riots a year later.

Television news crews in helicopters recorded the early morning car chase that ended shortly before 6 a.m. in Compton when half a dozen LAPD officers chased a black man who ran from a stolen Toyota Camry.

On the videotape, the unarmed man appears to surrender after sprinting a short distance along a concrete flood channel on Compton Creek, raising his arms and starting to crouch.

After two officers struggle to restrain the suspected thief on the ground, a third officer is seen delivering a quick kick to the suspect and then striking him 11 times in the upper body with a flashlight. A short time after the man was handcuffed and in custody, three officers can be seen exchanging handshakes.

The LAPD and FBI have opened investigations.

Iran

British troops in limbo

Iran is no longer holding eight British troops in custody, but they haven't yet been handed over to Britain, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

A ministry spokeswoman did not say where the six Royal Marines and two British sailors were located but insisted they were "free to leave."

In a day of confusing statements by the two countries, Britain said Wednesday night that the troops were still in Iranian custody, and expressed confidence that they would be released soon.

The troops were detained Monday after their boats apparently strayed on to the Iranian side of the Shatt al-Arab waterway that runs along the Iran-Iraq border.

Earlier in the day, both Iran and Britain said the men would be released Wednesday. Those words came after Iranian officials announced that the incursion appeared to be accidental. Iran said it would keep their boats, weapons and equipment.

But later Wednesday Iran's Arabic-language TV channel Al-Alam broadcast an "urgent" caption on its screen reading: "The second round of talks on the British detainees is postponed until tomorrow, Thursday," according to a translation provided by the British Broadcasting Corp.

Beijing

U.S. offers plan to N. Korea

The United States proposed on Wednesday that North Korea agree to a series of nuclear disarmament measures over a three-month period in exchange for economic benefits and an easing of its diplomatic isolation.

The proposal, unveiled at the start of six-nation talks in China, would ultimately lead to the end of North Korea's nuclear program.

The United States is being joined at the talks by China, South Korea, Japan and Russia in addition to North Korea itself. The American delegation is headed by Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly. Talks resumed this morning in Beijing.

During the three-month "preparatory period," North Korea would disable its nuclear weapons and remove key weapons ingredients. The nations in the Beijing talks would then be willing "to ease the political and economic isolation of North Korea," according to the U.S. proposal.

Outside assistance would focus on deliveries of fuel, particularly from South Korea.

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