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April 22, 1997 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-22

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 22, 1997

NAnONIWoRLD

French leader calls for election

Offline

The Washington Post
PARIS - President Jacques Chirac
risked his solid legislative majority and
put France's commitment to Europe on
the line yesterday by calling a general
election in less than five weeks, nearly
a year before the political calendar
requires it.
Asking voters to "give France a
majority with strength and staying

power," Chirac set May 25 as the date
for the first round of the early elec-
tion, with a second round to follow on
June 1.
Chirac, whose term as president does
not expire until 2002, will not be on the
ballot, but he might as well be. The
election is a major gamble for his two-
year-old presidency as Europe prepares
to abandon national currencies in favor

of a common one.
Although Chirac barely said so in his
brief televised address, the election is
intended to give his center-right govern-
ment a fresh mandate to carry out
spending cuts that have been stiffly
resisted by the public but are required
of any country seeking to convert to the
new European currency, the euro,
beginning in 1999.

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At least 20 Conrail freight cars derailed in rural Ottawa County, Ohio, yesterday near a bridge that carries trains over
Sandusky Bay. The 144-car train started in Elkhart, Ind., and was going to Buffalo.

Al

Murder probe turns to
parents ofJonBenet Ramsey.

'he Washington Post
BOULDER, Colo. - Nearly four
months have passed since the body of
JonBenet Ramsey was discovered in
the basement of her family's expen-
sive house in this university commu-
nity, but time has only deepened the
mystery of the 6-year-old beauty
queen's strangulation last Christmas
night.
Boulder police have thrown an extra-
ordinary array of resources into the
high-profile case that has drawn world-
wide media attention.
They have enlisted the help of prose-
cutors from across metropolitan
Denver. They have traveled to Georgia
and North Carolina to interview wit-
nesses and combed the Ramseys'
Michigan vacation house for evidence.
They are using a highly regarded
Maryland laboratory to provide DNA
analysis of the bodily evidence, such as
hair or fluids, collected at the crime
scene. They have consulted a 'former
beauty queen who was an incest victim

in her childhood. They have assigned a
tenth of the police force to the case,
spent more than $120,000 in overtime,
travel and other expenses and conduct-
ed more than 200 interviews.
Despite these efforts, the police have
failed to arrest or even name a suspect.
But Boulder District Attorney Alex
Hunter confirmed Friday night what long
has been obvious to observers, that the
girl's parents, John and Patricia Ramsey,
are the "focus" of the investigation.
"This is the family in the house where
the baby is found, and where there is no
sign of an intruder, so obviously attention
has to be directed inside:' Hunter said.
"That is not to say that's the only thing
that's being looked at."
But police have been unable to
breach the cordon of lawyers and advis-
ers surrounding JonBenet's wealthy and
prominent parents, or even to secure a
formal interview.
A family spokesperson, Rachelle
Zimmer, would neither comment on
whether negotiations over an interview

are still under way nor confirm orts
that the family is preparing to move
Atlanta, where John Ramsey- lived
when he was married to his first wife.
The couple is "enormously frustrated"
that the case has not been solved,
Zimmer said.
Authorities have cleared JonBenet's
half-brother and half-sister of any sus-
picion, as well as two close friends of
the family. Beyond that, the invdstiga-
tion seems stalled. Colorado lega
experts, who have followed the case
with the same mixture of fascination
and repulsion as the general public, are
starting to wonder openly if the case
will collapse.
The legal community is awash in
reports that the evidence now under-
going DNA analysis may be so
skimpy and inconclusive that authori-
ties may not find probable cause to
arrest anyone in the killing of the for-
mer Little Miss Colorado, whos*
pirouetting, primping pictures are
now so familiar to tabloid readers.

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