Mideast summit thrown into doubt

A much-anticipated summit between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders was suddenly thrown into doubt yesterday after Israel’s defense minister rejected key Palestinian demands during a preparatory meeting meant to ensure the upcoming session’s success.

Senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators failed to bridge the differences yesterday, but they agreed to meet one last time in hopes of salvaging the summit.

The summit, tentatively set for tomorrow, would be the first between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas since Israel completed its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last month.

The unilateral pullout has raised hopes that peace talks might soon resume. Israeli and Palestinian officials say they want to produce concrete results at a summit, hoping success would lead to formal negotiations toward a peace treaty.

But the two sides are deadlocked over several Palestinian demands, including the handover of West Bank towns to Palestinian security control and demands for more weapons for the embattled Palestinian security services.


WARSAW, Poland

Runoff likely after presidential election

A pro-market lawmaker and Warsaw’s socially conservative mayor appeared headed for a runoff in Poland’s presidential election yesterday after neither candidate gained the 50 percent of the vote needed, according to a key exit poll.

Final results were not expected until today, the state electoral commission told The Associated Press. Exit polls in Poland have proven in the past to be a reliable indicator of how the final vote will tally.

The state television exit poll indicated that Donald Tusk, a pro-business candidate committed to stimulating entrepreneurship with low taxes and deregulation, finished with about 38 percent; Warsaw Mayor Lech Kaczynski, a former child actor hoping to preserve a strong safety net, had 32 percent.



New Orleans police beating caught on tape

Two New Orleans police officers repeatedly punched a 64-year-old man accused of public intoxication, and another city officer assaulted an Associated Press Television News producer as a cameraman taped the confrontations.

There will be a criminal investigation, and the three officers were to be suspended, arrested and charged with simple battery yesterday, Capt. Marlon Defillo said.

“We have great concern with what we saw this morning,” Defillo said after he and about a dozen other high-ranking police department officials watched the APTN footage yesterday. “It’s a troubling tape, no doubt about it. – This department will take immediate action.”

The assaults come as the department, long plagued by allegations of brutality and corruption, struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the resignation last month of Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.


BAYEUX, France

Journalists recognized for coverage of war

Journalists reporting on the conflict in Iraq, a humanitarian crisis in Sudan, the plight of children in Uganda’s insurrection and a deadly school hostage siege in Russia were honored Saturday with the annual Bayeux Prize for War Correspondents.

Jim MacMillan, a photographer for The Associated Press who covered fighting between Iraqi insurgents and U.S. troops in the holy city of Najaf, won first place in the photojournalism category, while AP photographer John Moore took second place for his work in Iraq. Both were members of the AP photo team in Iraq that won a Pulitzer Prize this year.


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