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News briefs

Korea Sends Group to Assess Damage to Store Owners

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES

The South Korean government has dispatched a delegation to Los Angeles to seek reparations for hundreds of Korean store owners who suffered damage in last week's rioting, the country's Foreign Ministry announced Sunday.

The government said a group headed by Assistant Foreign Minister Ho Seung would meet Monday with Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and other officials to discuss compensation for Korean-owned businesses that were destroyed or crippled by the violence.

Los Angeles officials have not yet broken down damage figures for city neighborhoods, such as Koreatown, which was one of the communities hit hardest by the rioting. But South Korean officials, based on their conversations with local Korean leaders, estimate the damage to be as high as $300 million. The ministry did not say if that much compensation would be sought.

"Damage was more than physical, but the collapse of the American Dream," said Parliament Speaker Park Jyun-Kyu in announcing the government's plans to seek compensation.

A senior U.S. Department of Defense official said that the South Korean government has put its forces on alert to guard against possible attacks on American soldiers and U.S. installations in that country.

Tensions have been high between South Koreans and black American soldiers since a Korean grocer in Los Angeles shot and killed black teenager Latasha Harlins last year for allegedly stealing a bottle of orange juice, according to the Department of Defense official. The tension escalated when the grocer, Soon Ja Du, was convicted of second-degree murder but did not receive a jail sentence.

Israeli-Backed Militia Charged With Torture

The Washington Post

JERUSALEM

Prisoners held by an Israeli-backed militia in south Lebanon have been tortured and ill-treated, are cut off from the outside world, and apparently are not subject to any legal process, according to a report issued Monday by the London-based human rights group Amnesty International.

In a study based largely on interviews with former detainees, Amnesty charged that inmates of the Khiam prison, which lies inside the strip of Lebanese territory Israel controls as a "security zone" along its northern border, have been virtual hostages. It said the detainees, most of whom are Lebanese, have not been allowed family visits, have no access to the International Red Cross, and have served open-ended sentences without trial or due process.

For several years, Israel has been trying to exchange the Khiam inmates, who include Muslim fighters of Hezbollah (Party of God) as well as other Lebanese groups, for Israeli servicemen missing in Lebanon. Amnesty said about 200 men and women were still being held in the prison, a converted French army barracks, after the release of some 90 detainees in hostage negotiations last year.

Amnesty said Khiam detainees had been tortured during interrogation with electric shocks, beatings with cables, suspension from a pole, and dousing with water. It cited unconfirmed reports by former inmates that several persons had died because of torture.

An Israeli army spokesman said Monday he had no comment on the Amnesty report. Israeli officials said the government's position continued to be that Israel was not responsible for Khiam or the prisoners held there.

Weather

Cold rain. May snow.

By Michael C. Morgan
Staff Meteorologist

The combined effects of a large cold anticyclone to our north and a developing cyclone over the southeastern United States will produce cold, damp weather for southern New England beginning late tonight and continuing into Thursday. With the anticyclone (or high) to our north, colder and slightly drier air will be advected into the area near the surface as winds become north-northeast. At the same time the low pressure center developing to our south will serve to bring increasingly moist air over the region. This sets the stage for a possible wintry mix of precipitation.

In the spring, onshore winds -- particularly northeast winds -- can keep coastal areas rather chilly while inland locations can be rather mild. Winds with a more easterly component tend to be not as cold as northeasterly winds as the sea surface temperatures to out east are warmer. As precipitation falls into a drier layer close to the surface it evaporates -- cooling the near surface air. The type of precipitation we receive hinges on the time of its arrival. If the precipitation arrives while winds are still northeast, then snow and ice pellets will likely mix in with the rain. As the low develops to our south and the high moves further east, winds will become more easterly and the mixed precipitation will gradually become a plain, cold rain.

Tuesday: Increasing clouds and cool. High near 50F (10C).

Tuesday night: Cloudy and chilly with rain, ice pellets, and some snow developing late. Low 36F (2C).

Wednesday: Cloudy and cold with rain or mixed rain, ice pellets, and snow. High around 40F (4C). Low 35F (2C).

Thursday: Cloudy with more rain and rain showers. Highs 40-44F (4-7C). Lows 35-40F (2-4C).