2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 16, 2001
Sharon agrees to unity government
Former prime minister Ehud
Barak to be new defense minister
JERUSALEM (AP) - Prime Minister-elect Ariel
Sharon and Ehud Barak agreed on formation of a
unity government yesterday, with Barak's party get-
ting the key defense portfolio. Israeli media said
Barak would be the new defense minister.
Sharon and Barak met for two hours yesterday and
Barak - who was resoundingly defeated by Sharon
only last week - accepted Sharon's offer of the top
Cabinet post, Israeli TV and radio reported.
Barak's office said in a statement that a decision
was made to set up a unity government, and that
Barak's Labor party would receive the defense and
foreign ministries. Officials close to Barak were not
available for comment on the media reports of his
agreement to stay in government.
Violence persisted yesterday as two mortar shells
fired by Palestinians fell on a Jewish settlement in the
Gaza Strip, and Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian
who was trying to infiltrate another settlement there.
No casualties were reported in the mortar attack at
Netzarim, an isolated enclave in central Gaza. The set-
tlement had come under mortar attack twice before. A
Palestinian police officer whom Israel believed to be
responsible for the earlier attacks was killed Tuesday
by Israeli helicopters firing rockets.
The Palestinian killed near Kfar Darom, another
isolated settlement in Gaza, was identified as Nasser
Hassanat. He was a member of a Palestinian security
force, according to documents he carried.
Funerals for young Israeli soldiers and a civilian -
eight were killed Wednesday by a Palestinian bus dri-
ver - weighed heavily on politicians seeking a coali-
tion between Sharon's Likud party and Labor.
Sharon, who cannot take office until he forges a
majority coalition, was confident. "I will set up a unity
government," he told reporters before meeting Euro-
pean Union peace envoy Miguel Moratinos. Sharon
said it would "enable us to reach security and peace."
Other prominent Israelis had harsh words for the
Palestinians. President Moshe Katsav, visiting the
family of a soldier killed in an earlier attack, said
Arafat incites Palestinians to attack Israel, while talk-
ing about peace at the same time.
"That's Yasser Arafat, with his conflicting messages
and dual morality and two-faced behavior," Katsav
A leading rabbi recommended that Israel seize the
Palestinian town of Bethlehem as retaliation for gun-
fire at a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem and
Rachel's Tomb, a Jewish holy site near Bethlehem.
Rabbi Shalom Mashash, chief Sephardic rabbi of
Jerusalem, was quoted by a Jewish weekly as saying
that Israel gave the Palestinians control of towns for
peace. But since there was no peace, Israel should
take back Bethlehem, he said.
Sharon has said he would not order the capture of
areas under Palestinian rule.
Israelis were in a somber mood as reports of funer-
als dominated the news. In the coastal city of
Ashkelon, weeping parents buried four young soldiers
one after the other at the military cemetery under gray,
They were among the eight killed Wednesday when
a Palestinian bus driver crashed into a crowd of sol-
diers and civilians at a bus stop south of Tel Aviv. The
driver, Khalil Abu Olbeh from Gaza City, was shot
and captured after a highway chase.
In response, Israel clamped its toughest quarantine
yet on the West Bank and Gaza, banning Palestinians
from entering Israel or leaving for other countries,
limiting internal travel, enforcing a sea blockade and
closing the Palestinian airport.
NEWS iN BRIEF
HIEADLINES FROM ,AROU~tND THE WORLD 3
Bush asks for review of civilian policy
President Bush said yesterday the Pentagon should review its policy on civil-
ian participation in military exercises like the emergency ascent drill a Navy sub-
marine was performing when it sank a Japanese fishing vessel.
Sixteen civilians were aboard the submarine when the accident happened. To
were at control stations, although Navy officials insist they had no connection
with errors that caused the collision.
"I look forward to the Defense Department review of the policies, the current
policies, particularly in light of the recent tragedy that took place in Hawaii,"
Bush said. "I want to reiterate what I said to the prime minister of Japan: I'm
deeply sorry about the accident that took place, our nation is sorry that the acci-
dent happened, and we will do everything we can to help recover the bodies"
Rear Adm. Stephen Pietropaoli, a Navy spokesman, told reporters that both
the Atlantic and Pacific submarine fleets are reviewing procedures involving
embarkation of civilian guests on sea maneuvers.
Pentagon officials said a preliminary Navy investigation of the submarine
lision may be finished within days. Adm. Thomas Fargo, commander of the
Pacific Fleet, will then decide whether the findings warrant court-martialing the
sub's captain or crew.
Panel to subpoena 3 in Rich pardon probe
Three of President Clinton's closest White House aides - former chief ofstaff
John Podesta, lawyer Beth Nolan and adviser Bruce Lindsey - will be subpoe-
naed for the next House hearing into millionaire Marc Rich's pardon, offici s
The questioning will reach into the Bush administration this time, a committee
source said, with the committee likely to call Vice President Dick Cheney's chief
of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, one of Rich's former lawyers.
The House Government Reform Committee also asked Clinton and Rich to
release all their aides and lawyers from any executive privilege so they can testify
at the committee's March 1 hearing without betraying any confidentiality oaths.
This comes as a U.S. attorney in New York announced she had opened a criminal
investigation into whether money played any role in Clinton's last-minute pardon of
the fugitive financier. Senate and House committees are also probing that possibility,
with the House holding its second hearing on the matter next month.
Rich was wanted by the Justice Department on charges of evading more than
$48 million in taxes, fraud and participating in illegal oil deals. .10
Bush open to ending
annual evaluation of
WASHINGTON (AP) - Presi-
dent Bush is open to ending the
annual U.S. evaluation of Mexico's
drug-fighting efforts, officials said
yesterday, in a goodwill gesture on
the eve of Bush's trip to visit newly
installed Mexican President Vicente
"Mexico has seen a new birth of
freedom," Bush said at the State
Department as he prepared for the
first foreign trip of his presidency.
Fox and other Mexican leaders have
railed against the congressionally
mandated drug certification
process, which can result in eco-
Talks between the two leaders are
expected to trace a wide range of
issues, including immigration,
trade, energy and drugs. But no
major developments are planned for
the scheduled 7 1/2-hour session at
San Cristobal, the site of Fox's
dusty ranch 210 miles northwest of
Mexico City in the state of Guana-
Bush and Fox - both ranch own-
ers who favor Western wear and
'enchiladas - plan to stress their
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personal ties, not their nations' dif-
ferences. As they meet, there will be
a series of picture-taking sessions
showing them in cozy, casual set-
"President Fox and I met as gov-
ernors, and I look forward to deep-
ening our friendship," said Bush, a
former two-term Texas governor.
"But I look forward even more to
forging a deeper partnership
between our two great nations."
One sticking point in U.S.-Mexi-
co relations is the 14-year-old law
requiring the U.S. president to certi-
fy annually which of nearly 30
countries are cooperating in the
fight against drug trafficking. Those
considered not to be doing enough
can be "decertified" and face possi-
ble sanctions. The next deadline for
State Department decisions on certi-
fication is March 1.
The process has infuriated many
countries, most notably Mexico, that
view it as a condescending and hyp-
ocritical exercise by the nation that
.is the world's largest consumer of
illegal drugs. Mexico has never
failed to be certified.
Food For Thought
Who was the better fighter?
Rather than keep their
heads down, American rifle-
men were trained to instant-
ly charge an ambush, which
often took place from 30-50
feet away. "It sounds coun-
terintuitive," one grunt told
me, "but in the end, it was
the safest thing to do."
More to come in future ads.
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Sportsgrill & Pub
McVeigh doesn't ask
for life to be spared
Oklahoma City bomber Timothy
McVeigh allowed a deadline to pass
yesterday without asking the president
to spare his life.
McVeigh, 32, is scheduled to die by
lethal injection May 16 in the first exe-
cution by the federal government in 37
years. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons set
the execution date after McVeigh
dropped all appeals. Under federal
rules, lie had one month after the date
was set to file a request for clemency.
Attorney Rob Nigh Jr. said yester-
day that he had drafted a clemency
petition in case McVeigh wanted to
submit it. McVeigh's attorneys said
they would discuss their client's deci-
sion at news conferences today.
The Gulf War veteran was convicted
of murder and other charges in the
April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred
P. Murrah Federal Building that killed
168 people and injured more than 500.
Gunmen in military
garb kill 12 villagers
Hooded gunmen in military garb
armed with submachine guns shot and
killed 12 villagers and wounded three
in the western state of Sinaloa, author-
ities there said yesterday.
About a dozen attackers stole a truck
in the village of Limoncito de Ayala
and went door to door Wednesday
night, rounding up the victims and forc-
ing them into the truck at gunpoint, wit-
nesses said, according to the state police
report. All the victims were men, one of
them only 12 years old, and all were
farmers or bricklayers.
One of the bricklayers jumped out of
the truck and tried to run. The report
said the gunmen shot him to death, then
moved the truck some blocks away and
shot the rest. They fled in a wai
pickup truck. The government he s
agency Notimex said the rest of the vil-
lagers fled to surrounding hills where
they spent the night.
United sels flights
to Paris for $24.98
Want to fly round-trip to Paris for
less than $25?
United Airlines mistakenly listed
such eye-popping fares on its Web site
for nearly an hour last month. A total
of 143 tickets were sold at the near-
giveaway prices before the airline
informed the buyers that the fares that
looked too good to be true were just
that, United said.
United blamed a technical error for
the fares that appeared .
wwwual.com on the evening of P'
31. The Web site offered San Francis-
co to Paris for $24.98, with similar
deals for flights to Hong Kong, and
"We certainly apologize for any-mis-
understanding and inconvenience it may
have caused to customers," United
spokesman Chris Brathwaite said yes-
terday. United has offered to find the
lowest possible fares for the customers.
- Compiled from Daily wire rept.
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