Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2007
BRITAIN CALLS FOR TALKS WITH IRAN IN STANDOFF
Britain calls for talks
with Iran in standoff
LONDON Britain called for direct talks with Iran to resolve a dispute over 15 captive Britons on Tuesday after its first contact with the chief Iranian negotiator. The announcement followed the sudden release of an Iranian diplomat in Iraq that raised new hope for resolving the standoff. In a statement late Tuesday, Prime Minister Tony Blair's office said there had been "further contacts" between the two countries, including with chief international negotiator Ali Larijani. "The UK has proposed direct bilateral discussions and awaits an Iranian response on when these can begin," Blair's office said. "Both sides share a desire for an early resolution to this issue through direct talks." British officials say there has been intense diplomatic activity, including meetings in London with Iran's ambassador. But reports of contacts with officials in Tehran have been sketchy. The Downing Street statement did not say whether the contact with Larijani came in person or by phone.
5th-graders charged with
having sex in classroom
NEW ORLEANS Five fifth-graders face criminal charges after authorities said four of them had sex in front of other pupils in an unsupervised classroom and kept a classmate posted as a lookout for teachers. The pupils were arrested Tuesday at the Spearsville school in rural north Louisiana, authorities said. Two 11-year-old girls, a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year old boy were charged with obscenity, a felony. An 11-year-old boy, the alleged guard, was charged with being an accessory. "After 44 years of doing this work, nothing shocks me anymore," said Union Parish Sheriff Bob Buckley. "But this comes pretty close." Authorities said the incident happened March 27 at the school, which houses pupils from kindergarten through 12th grade. A high school teacher normally watches the fifth-grade class at the time, but went to an assembly for older students, and the class was inadvertently left unattended, Buckley said.
Victims begin receiving
aid in Solomon Islands
HONIARA, Solomon Islands The first boatloads of international aid reached survivors of a devastating tsunami in the Solomon Islands on Tuesday, but officials warned of a dire food shortage if supplies don't quickly get to hundreds of people camped on remote hillsides. At least 28 people died in Monday's tsunami and quake, measured at a magnitude of 8.1 by the U.S. Geological Survey. The victims include a bishop and three worshippers killed when a wave hit a church, and a New Zealand man who drowned trying to save his mother, who remains missing. Disaster officials said the toll was expected to rise as rescue crews reached outlying villages that were flattened by the waves. Bodies could be seen floating in the water by authorities conducting aerial surveys of the destruction; there was no official count of those missing. Some of more than 2,000 people who spent Monday night camped on a hill behind the town of Gizo returned Tuesday to look for supplies or loved ones. Others were too afraid to venture to the coast amid more than two dozen aftershocks, including at least four of magnitude 6 or stronger.
a terrorism charge
MESA, Ariz. An eighth-grader faces a terrorism charge for confronting a girl with a knife and later being found with a backpack full of restraining devices and weapons, a prosecutor said. The 14-year-old told police he planned to hold his class hostage, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said. When the teen was arrested two weeks ago, county officials said he had plotted a "Columbine-like" scenario, comparing his plans to the 1999 deadly shooting massacre at Colorado's Columbine High School. The teen also was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and kidnapping, as well as a misdemeanor count of carrying a weapon on school grounds, Thomas said. He will be tried as an adult, said Barnett Lotstein, a spokesman for Thomas.
Shootings at CNN
ATLANTA A domestic dispute erupted in gunfire at CNN's headquarters complex Tuesday, killing a woman and critically wounding the ex-boyfriend who pulled a gun on her, authorities said. The man and woman were arguing near the main entrance of the complex when the man shot her, police officer James Polite said. The armed man was then shot by a CNN security guard. The woman was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital, authorities said. The man was in critical condition. The woman, who checked and stocked honor bars at a hotel attached to CNN Center, was Clara Riddles, 22, of College Park, said Caryn Kboudi, a spokeswoman for the Texas-based Omni Hotel chain. Polite described the man as the woman's ex-boyfriend. Kboudi said the hotel was not aware of any of the woman's domestic troubles.