The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 36.0°F | Overcast

News Briefs

Cashier Testifies Williams Made Threats, Bricked Denny

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES

A gas station cashier testified Monday that Damian Monroe Williams hit trucker Reginald O. Denny on the head with a brick at the outset of the Los Angeles riots last year and that Williams earlier had threatened to attack and kill people.

The cashier, Gabriel Quintana, is the first prosecution witness to directly identify either of the two defendants on trial for attempting to kill Denny and for assaulting or robbing five other motorists and two firefighters as they passed through the intersection of Florence and Normandie avenues as rioting broke out on April 29, 1992 in response to the acquittals that day of four police officers charged in the beating of black motorist Rodney G. King.

Quintana's testimony that Williams had threatened to kill people is critical to prosecutors' efforts to establish the defendant's intent -- a necessary element in the charge of willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder.

Quintana, 22, said Williams and several other people attacked his cashier's booth after beating Denny, breaking bullet-proof glass with bricks, a hammer and a dolly. He said he fled to a bathroom, but his assailants removed the door from its hinges, dragged him out, kicked, beat and robbed him of between $90 and $100 of his personal money. Williams, he said, slammed his face into a window.

AFL-CIO President Rules Out NAFTA Compromise

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON

AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland Tuesday ruled out any compromise with the White House over the North American Free Trade Agreement and warned that labor would "go for broke" to defeat the treaty in Congress.

Kirkland said it was too late to try to reach any agreement with the White House. "At this stage I think that (possibility) has been overtaken by events," he said. Kirkland said he thought at one point that the treaty could be renegotiated, but that point had passed.

Democratic leaders in the House predict overwhelming opposition to the treaty. Majority Whip David E. Bonior, D-Mich., the third-ranking Democrat, said last weekend that as many as three-fourths of the House members may vote against the treaty.

Opposition to the treaty has been led by organized labor, which fears massive job losses to Mexico, and by a coalition of environmental organizations that fear a shift in production from the United States to Mexico, where environmental standards are weaker.

NAFTA, negotiated under the Bush administration, would remove most trade barriers among the United States, Canada and Mexico, creating the world's largest free-trade market.

Skin Test Would Allow Quick Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease

Los Angeles Times

A new skin test may allow rapid diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and may also be able to predict who will develop the disease, a finding that may make possible more effective treatment for the disorder.

Alzheimer's, which affects as many as four million Americans, producing severe memory loss and eventually death, can now be diagnosed only by excluding all other possible diseases.

"This discovery, if confirmed, could provide a big step forward in our efforts to deal with and understand the disease," said Patricia Grady, acting director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, where the research was conducted.

Researchers have been intensively seeking new diagnostic techniques to complement a number of potential treatments for the disease now being studied, such as the recently approved drug tacrine.

The hope is that these treatments will be much more effective if they are used in the early stages of the disease, but it has been impossible to test such a theory because of the inability of clinicians to identify Alzheimer's victims at an early stage.