The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 29, 1997 - 7#
Drought speeds worst
Amazon burning ever
-MANAUS, Brazil (AP) - This
year' burning season in the Amazon
rain. forest is so bad even a lake is on
1vo factors - the worst drought in
25 years and government policy that
encourages farmers to burn their land
- are speeding destruction of the
world's largest wilderness, not to
iention choking inhabitants of the
Amazon's largest city with thick
At the Balbina dam reservoir, a
record-low water level has exposed
tt that were long submerged. For
nths they dried, then caught fire.
"Even the trees in the lake are burn-
ing. I've never seen anything like it,"
said Abner Brandao de Souza of Ibama,
the government's environmental protec-
A dense haze spews from the thou-
sands offires that have spread with ease
over the parched Amazon, an area near-
ly two-thirds the size of the continental
wsed States. The haze is choking the
1.1 million residents of the northern
city of Manaus.
"You leave the house in the morning
and you step into a thick haze," secre-
tary Selena Oliveira said.
Fires at this time of year are common
in heavily deforested Amazon states
such as Mato Grosso and Para, where
land is regularly burned for pasture. But
the fires now are the worst in memory
- and the intensity is new here in
Amazonas state, Brazil's largest, where
nearly 98 percent of the original forest
canopy remains intact.
Worse, the fires have spread into vir-
gin forest, where deep roots usually
keep trees so moist they rarely burn. By
most estimates, at least 10 percent of
the 2 million square-mile Amazon has
There are no wide-scale efforts to
stamp out the blazes because they most-
ly are cases of landowners burning on
their own property. And there is nothing
to stop the smoke.
Doctors say the number of people
seeking treatment for respiratory ail-
ments has jumped 30 percent since the
smoke began smothering the city in
Before scant showers fell in mid-
October, the region had gone 70 days
The water level at Balbina dam, 100
miles north of Manaus, has plunged to
the point that the city is forced to ration
energy. Some neighborhoods have elec-
tricity for only six hours a day. Two
babies died at a maternity ward that
lacked a private generator to power
El Nino is blamed for the drought:
The cyclical phenomenon of warm
Pacific Ocean currents is sending trop-
ical storms north to desert regions such
as Baja California and Arizona, and
leaving normally moist areas thirsty.
Even more fires are burning in
Southeast Asia, where El Nino also has
caused drought, spreading dangerous,
choking haze over Indonesia, Malaysia
and other nations.
Part of the Amazon forest bums near the city of Manaus, in northern Brazil, on Oct. 18. A combined worst drought in 25 years
and government policy that encourages farmers to torch their land are speeding destruction of the world's largest wildemess.
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Continued from Page 1
"I think so far the policy had been
working," Chang said.
This is the first visit from the
Chinese president since the protest
and massacre in Tiananmen Square
that sent shock waves around the
Chang said he feels the visit is more
than just a showpiece and that many
issues may finally be put to rest.
"I think some of the issues will be
resolved in the visit,' said Chang, who
said he believes this is a great chance
for the two presidents to improve rela-
tions between the United States and
One of the most visible issues
President Clinton and Jiang will tackle
during this visit is that of freedom for
Tibet. The recent protests held outside
the White House have increased pres-
sures on both nations to re-examine the
controversial issue. But Mertha said
China is not likely to give up Tibet due
Continued from Page 1.
to the small nation's strategic location
as a buffer zone.
Chang and Mertha both said that
expectations do appear high on both
sides during the visit. Mertha, how-
ever, warned that not as much will
come out of this visit as did when
President Nixon visited China in
"They were starting on ground zero
there," Mertha said, adding that both
nations have a concrete starting point.
The visit is crucial not only to forge a
stable and consistent policy and resolve
issues between the two countries, but
also to combat the negative public
image that many Americans harbor
"There is a lot more opposition against
China," Mertha said. "Generally people
either see China as a land of Pandas or a
land of tanks crushing students."
The visit also is important to many
student groups on campus that are anx-
ious to see U.S.-Chinese relations
"It's good he's coming," said Rebecca
King, president of the Chinese Student
King said she hopes that President,
Jiang's visit will cause him to rethink.
his human rights policies and his,
nation's policies on holding political
The Chinese Christian Fellowship
is holding group and individual
prayer sessions today and plan on a°
large prayer service in the upper
lobby of East Quad at 6 p.m. tomor-
"The Chinese Christian community,
here is praying for him," said PaoLin
Chi, a coordinator for CCF.
Chi said the Christian community
shouldn't turn its back on Jiang, but'
should instead "remain humble" and
forgive the leader and his country's past
"China is known as one of the great-
est persecutors of the Christian
Church," said Chi, an LSA junior. "We.
will pray for his salvation."
-Daily Staff Reporter Debra
Hirschfield contributed to this report.
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Attention all Gamma Phi Betas!
Midterms are finished,
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So your hyper-active social chairs
Thought we'd cause you some fear.
On the 30th of October,
Just before twelve o'clock,
The calendar says we're planning to...
Hmm...paint the rock?
NOPE! Imprmptu date party,
Thursday, tober 30 at 10 o'clock!
So grab a date, ladies,
And prepare for good times,
We'd give you more information,
But we're all out of lines!
MTV is holding open casting calls. Casting assistants have
already been to San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Richmond,
Va., and Atlanta. The last and final stop will be in Columbus,
Ohio, on Saturday. So far, the largest turnout was in D.C.,
where directors auditioned almost 700 aspiring cast mem-
If MTV were to cast a University student for the '98 sea-
son, he or she wouldn't be the first Ann Arborite to shine in
"The Real World" spotlight. Judd Winick, a 1992 University
graduate, appeared in 1994's "The Real World - San
Francisco" season. An Art major and editorial cartoonist for
The Michigan Daily, Winick is the only person affiliated with
the University to appear in the series - so far.
Participants in today's audition have the chance to follow in
"Usually half the cast comes from open calls," McFadden
said, adding that open calls "are extremely effective."
McFadden said the other half of the two shows' casts
comes from videotapes sent in by ardent fans around the
country. Both tapes and casting calls make up the first round
of a six- or seven-round screening process. People who leave
a memorable impression in round one will advance to the
second round. In later rounds, auditioners are filmed in
groups to get a feel for their on-screen dynamics.
The final round, where casting assistants interview the top
people, will not take place until after Dec. 1, McFadden said.
"Right now, it's too early to start having characters," he
said. The weeding-out process, he emphasized, is still only in
its beginning stages.
Julie Hazimi, a general manager at Touchdown Cafe, said
yesterday that she didn't know what to expect from the event.
She said it has been publicized on fliers around the metro
"People have been calling and asking directions from
Lansing and Detroit. I'm sure we'll get a good turnout,? Hazimi
"Definitely the bar business will r .k up" she added.
"People are going to be waiting."
To quench the thirst of a large and eager crowd;
Touchdown will offer several specials, Hazimi said. Those
stuck in the bar for the day can treat themselves to $2 Mil1er
Lites or $2.50 Coronas with Bacardi Limon shots.
LSA first-year student Rebecca Mall said she plans to be
in line by 10 a.m.
"My GS1 and I obsess about 'The Real World,"' she said
enthusiastically. "I am from San Francisco and I used to See
Puck all the time in his boxcar."'~
Though he said he doesn't obsess about the show, LSA
sophomore Simon Perazza said he wouldn't mind getting a
spot. "I want to live in a phat house and not pay rent so then
I could save money," he said.
"I don't want to do 'Road Rules,"' Perazza added. "I don't
want to live in a trailer, but I will live in a house.'
And for those worried if the pimple, albeit tiny, on their nose
will hinder their audition, McFadden had some reassuring
Attractiveness "plays a small part," he said. "Obviously.a
person has to have some sort of appeal. In past casts, looks
haven't really been an issue.
"I'm not going to name individual people - like, hey
you're ugly - that wouldn't be right."
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-3-on-3 basketball tournaments
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