Group Gives Liberty Medal

To Leader of Afghanistan

PHILADELPHIA -- Hamid Karzai, the U.S.-backed leader of Afghanistan who took over after the Taliban government was ousted in 2001, accepted the Philadelphia Liberty Medal on Sunday at a ceremony at Independence Hall.

Karzai broke with the Taliban in 1995 and was appointed to lead his country after the U.S.-led invasion aimed at evicting the Taliban and tracking down Osama bin Laden.

The medal's $100,000 prize will go to support Afghan orphans, he said.

The award, first presented in 1989, is given each July 4 by the nonprofit, nonpolitical Philadelphia Foundation to recognize leadership in the pursuit of freedom.

L.A. Police Chief Apologizes For Remarks in Beating Case

LOS ANGELES -- Police Chief William Bratton apologized for calling a local black activist a "nitwit" and other comments he made after last month's beating of a suspected car thief.

"I'd like to extend an apology, a sincere apology, if there is anybody in the community -- or any other community, for that matter -- that have been offended by any of the comments and remarks I've made in the course of this investigation," Bratton told radio station KJLH-FM on Saturday.

Television news helicopters videotaped an LAPD officer striking Stanley Miller, 36, with a flashlight 11 times after Miller appeared to surrender.

Since the June 23 incident, Bratton has called a local black activist a "nitwit" and had a testy exchange with his predecessor, City Councilman Bernard Parks, who questioned his sensitivity to minorities.

* MONROE, La. -- A giraffe and an ostrich drowned in a 15-foot sinkhole that developed after a water main burst in their shared African veldt exhibit at Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo, officials said. Zoo veterinarian Tyler Thomas said the 17-foot, 3,000-pound giraffe was probably getting a drink, then tumbled headfirst into the sinkhole when it collapsed under his weight. "Nothing but the ankles of the giraffe were visible when I went out there," Thomas said.

* THORNTON, Colo. -- About a dozen people jumped from a three-story apartment complex to escape a fire, and babies were thrown to safety from the upper floors to neighbors below, officials said. Between 10 and 14 people who jumped from second- and third-story balconies were taken to hospitals with broken bones and other injuries.

* CHICAGO -- Two cousins allegedly killed four people in six weeks on the city's South Side, police said Saturday. Angela Ford Wright and Caroline Peoples, both 26, were accused of killing Jose Marquez, 38; Kenneth Redick, 37; Kelvin Armstrong, 24; and Ayesha Epps, 30, police said.

* WAGON MOUND, N.M. -- A man driving on a revoked license lost control of his truck and flipped it Saturday, killing five people, state police said. Driver Mario A. Trujillo, 47, was the wreck's only survivor, officials said. Thrown from the truck and killed were Esther Romero, 30; her son, Matthew, 7; Erminio Cruz, 45; and Toby Martinez and Bob Moore, ages not available.

-- From News Services