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September 09, 1999 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-09

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18A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 9, 1999

NATION/\WORLD

Federal government to start gn buyback effort

Los Angeles 'ines
WASHINGTON -Opening a new front in
the debate over gun violence, the Clinton admin-
istration will announce today the federal govern-
went's largest effort to buy firearms now in pri-
te hands, the Los Angeles Times has learned.
The Department of Housing and Urban
evelopment will provide S14 million in grants
to police departments and public housing
authorities in at least 20 cities, enabling local
officials to buy back and destroy as many as
280,000 guns.
"While you are working on reducing the sale
of guns to people who shouldn't have them, you
41so have to do something about reducing the
tpmber of guns that are currently in circulation,"
14UD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said yesterday.
Since some cities have drawn criticism for
reselling guns purchased in buy-back programs,
the HIJD initiative will require municipalities to
4grep to destroy any weapons they buy, officials

said. Only stolen guns - which will be returned
to their legal owners -- or guns needed for
police investigations will be exempted.
Gun buy-back programs have become
increasingly popular with mayors and police
chiefs in recent years -- though there is little
decisive evidence of their effectiveness. Hoping
to provide firmer answers, HUD plans to spend
$ million on a study of buy-backs, including its
own new program.
President Clinton is scheduled to announce
the gun initiative in a ceremony at the White
House. At the session, he will be joined by may-
ors and police chiefs from around the country.
The local officials also are expected to lobby
lawmakers in support of gun control measures
that the administration wants passed, including a
controversial proposal to impose strict new
background check requirements on all firearm
transactions at gun shows and pawnshops. The
proposals have remained stalled in Congress

since the Senate approved them in .\;ay,
responding in part to the public outcry that fo-
lowed the shootings that took 15 lives at
Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo_ a
month earlier.
The new buy-back plan will use existing feder-
al funds and congressional approval will not be
required. Cities and public housing authorities that
want to participate must apply to HUD, which
then will provide grants based on an evaluation of
the proposals. HUD officials said that they intend
to disburse the first money by November.
The program drew cautious applause from
law enforcement and gun control groups but was
greeted with skepticism from the National Rifle
Association.
"This is certainly not the answer to our prob-
lem but it does help and we have to use and
adapt any reasonable method we can to reduce
the level of violence in these communities," said
Hubert Williams, president of the Police

Fundation in Washington, D.C..
Wayne LaPierre. the NRA', exeenie vice
president, said that the group is ".not opposed" to
buV-back prorams but considers them most ly
''sound bites and photo ops" that have no
"'impact on a criminal -... or a v iolcnt juvenile
that wants a gn, Rather than invest ing in buy -
hack programs, LaPierre said, the administration
could do more to discourage gun violence by
increasing funding for prosecuting violations of
existing gun laws.
Supporters view buy-ackprogrs as a way
to reduce the number of guns in circulation and
in particular an opportunity to reduce the risk of
accidental shootings by removing guns from
homes. Critics consider the programs a largely
cosmetic effort unlikely to have much impact in
a nation where more than 200 million guns are
in circulation. "You can't make a dent,'' IaPierre
said. "What you can make is a headline"
Critics and supporters alike agree that buy-

backs tend to attract weapons from law-abilg
citizens, rather than criminals. But program ro-
ponents maintain that, even removing old fini-
lv guns buried in the attic, can reduce the ria of
shootings.
"It probably has less effect on people vith
criminal intentions;' said Naomi Paisse, om-
munications director for Handgun Controlnc..
a leading gun control advocacy group. 'it, if
we save even 20 kids a year from an acciental
shooting because an old gun has gotten o of a
home, that's certainly worth doing."
This year alone, buy-back program have
been launched in New York City, Wasington
and Atlanta, as well as smaller cities uch as
Dayton, Ohio and South Bend, Ind.
Cuomo said that conversations withmunici-
pal officials made clear that more cities would
pursue gun buy-back programs if the had the
funds for them. "Funding is a barrer to commu-
nities who want to do this," he sail.

Dow Jones Industrial Average NASDAQ and
S&P 500 Composite for eek 9/1-917
4 Close Change NASDAQ Close Change S&P Close Change
0,937.88 +108.60 2,750.80 +1.1.45 1,331.07 +10.06
),843.21 -94.67 2,734.24 -16.56 1,319.11 -11.96
L,078.45 +235.24 27842.58 +108.34 1,357.24 +38.13
NO TRADING DUE TO THE LABOR DAY HOLIDAY
,034.13 -44.32 2,839.30 -3.28 1,350.45 -6.79
s from the week: During this past summer, the Federal Reserve decided the American economy
d towards an inflationary state and tried to "cool" down one of the longest running bull markets
ising interest rates twice, once on June 30 and again on August 24. But there have been sporadic
e the last increase, that the Fed will make another rate hike if economic data that is released in
g weeks has any signs of inflationary pressure. Last Friday, the Labor Department reported that
added fewer jobs to their payrolls and more significantly, the report showed that average hourly
a key inflationary gauge, also rose less than expected. This caused stocks to race higher as the
had its biggest point gain ever for one day.
ie Dow Jones Industrial Average? The DJIA represents 30 stocks traded on the New York Stock
(NYSE) and are all major factors in their respective industries. These stocks are widely held by
s and institutional investors. Many financial advisers think of it as a good indicator in telling
he NASDAQ Composite? The NASDAQ is the fastest growing stock market in the U.S. due to
screen-based stock market, compared.to a trading floor market like the NYSE. It also has almost
echnological stocks available for trading, which has proved to be a very volatile industry in the
e of years.
the S&P 500? The S&P 500 is a marketvalue weighted index composed of 400 industrial
transportation, 40 financial, and 40 utility. It is a far broader measure than the DJIA
takes into account 500 different stocks traded on the two main exchanges (NYSE and
-AMEX) compared to the DJIA's 30 all traded on the NYSE.

Tensions increase as Sierra
Leone waits for lost leader

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) -
He has been freed from prison, par-
doned and promoted to a job that
makes him the equivalent of a vice
president. He has traveled to at least a
half-dozen countries, met with presi-
dents and attended a regional summit.
Again and again, he has promised
peace.
But Foday Sankoh, the leader of
Sierra Leone's feared Revolutionary
United Front rebels, has yet to come
home.
Instead, the man who may hold the
key to peace in this West African nation
has been letting an increasingly nervous
Sierra Leone wait -- and wait - for
him. And the longer he is gone, the less
stable the peace agreement appears.
A former foot soldier and photogra-
lpher, Sankoh was sentenced to death
last year for treason, vilified for leading
a rebel movement whose terror tactics
left tens of thousands of people dead or
horribly maimed in a macabre cam-
paign of hand, leg, car and lip amputa-
tions. But instead of facing a firing
squad, he found himself signing a
peace treat in early July, ending eight
years of civil war in exchange for a

power-sharing government that includ-
ed the rebels.
Sankoh promised to return soon to
Sierra Leone. Two months later, he's
still promising.
For weeks, he lived at a hotel in
nearby Lome, Togo, where the peace
accords were negotiated and signed.
From there, he traveled to a number
of African countries, including Algeria
for the Organization of African Unity
summit and Libya, where he has long-
standing ties to Moammar Gadhafi.
Sankoh says he'll go back to Sierra
Leone once his trip is over, but diplo-
mats and government officials worry
he may -- yet again - stretch out his
absence.
"We just don't know when he's going
to come back," said a frustrated top
government official.
The longer Sankoh is gone, the clos-
er this war-ravaged nation comes to
once again descending into anarchy.
"Now is the moment to join hands
with Sierra Leoneans and consolidate
peace," said Olara Otunnu, the U.N.
special representative for children and
armed conflict, in urging Sankoh to
return.
But Sankoh doesn't seem to be lis-
tening. He and his aides have offered a
variety of explanations as to why he's
stayed away. Sometimes they say it's
security, sometimes transportation,
sometimes problematic schediuling.
Sometimes, they indicate his return
could spark wider violence.
"The security is not just for his per-
son, but for everybody," said Paolo
Bangura, a top RUF official.
But without Sankoh's return, the
already-shaky peace accord grows even
shakier. Sankoh will soon become a
government minister with the power of
a vice president. Without his support,
or at least his presence, the power-shar-
ing agreement appears sure to fail.
Sankoh, whose followers often refer
to him simply as "Pa" or "the leader," is
revered by the movement's soldiers as a

near deity, a spiritual guic whose phi-
losophy - a vague meldig of agrarian
populism, revolution ait traditional
African principles -suposedly gov-
erns their actions.
In reality, his rebel grou is about lit-
tle more than diamonds ad violence.
The RUF controls vas swathes of
Sierra Leone, including the eastern
provinces, where rich dianond mines
have helped keep the roup well-
armed.
In addition, diplomats ay Burkina
Faso and Liberia long suported the
RUF.
More worrisome to Westrn nations,
though, Sankoh's ties t> Libya's
Gadhafi.
More than a decade ago, tankoh and
Liberia's warlord-turner-president
Charles Taylor reportedF trained
together in Libya, along wit some of
their soldiers.
Gadhafi also has clos: ties to
Burkina Faso's presiden, Blaise
Compaore, who was epeatedly
accused by Western diplomas of fun-
neling weapons to the RUF rbels.
The main weapon of he RUF,
though, has been terror. Theyhave laid
waste to large sections Siern Leone,
burning villages, killing civiians and
waging a brutal campaign of amputa-
tions. A rebel offensive in January lev-
eled entire blocks of Freetown, leaving
hundreds of amputees.
With such a bloody recent history,
most Sierra Leoneans have desperately
mixed feelings about the peace accord
They are angry, Sankoh 'has bees
rewarded with power but also believ
the peace deal may be the only chanc
for peace.
Now, though, many feel Sankoh s &
squandering his chance.
"They have already done everythig
to us, what can they do to us nova"
asked Joe Stevenson, an apostolic nn-
ister in Freetown. "We want himto
come out from the bush and join Pith
us."

y Daily Staff Reporter Kevin Magnusonfrom wire reports.

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