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March 16, 2001 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-16

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 16, 2001


Chechens hijack Russian plane

AL-KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Chechen
a nen wielding knives and claiming to have a bomb
'hijacked a Russian plane carrying 174 people after it
eft Turkey yesterday and forced it to land in the holy
Saudi city of Medina. Reports said 45 hostages were
:freed or escaped the plane..
Security forces surrounded the aircraft and a Saudi
team was negotiating with the hijackers, said Abdul
Fatah Mohammad Atta, the Medina airport manager.
4 The standoff continued into the early hours today,
about 12 hours after the hijacking began.
After ariving in Saudi Arabia, the hijackers freed
-all the women and children, airport officials said.
They didn't give a number, but the official Saudi Press
Agency reported 17 were freed. The agency said 15
others passengers escaped from the airplane's rear
By early today, state Saudi television reported that a

total of 45 hostages had left the plane, but it did not
give a breakdown on how many had escaped or been
Television footage showed women and children
boarding a bus near the aircraft and arriving at an air-
port building, where they were given food. Most
looked healthy, with some smiling.
The hijackers said they wanted to fly to
Afghanistan, Saudi officials at the airport said on con-
dition of anonymity.
Abdul-Hamid Mishrif, operations manager at Med-
ina airport, said "a young man who was hurt by the
hijackers" was among those freed. Russian state RTR
television in Moscow quoted deputy director of the
Federal Security Service Vladimir Ponichev as saying
the man was a steward who suffered serious wounds.
There were conflicting reports over the number of
hijackers. Turkish officials said there were two. But

according to RTR, Ponichev said radio contact
between Saudi authorities and the hijackers showed
there were four.
The airport officials said the hijackers allowed food
and beverages to be taken aboard the plane. The pas-
sengers were tired and uncomfortable, but appeared to
be otherwise well, the officials said.
Negotiations were proving difficult, because the
hijackers spoke neither English nor Arabic, Atta
said, adding Russian diplomats had been called
from the city of Jiddah, 200 miles south of Medina,
to help.'
A Saudi security official said there was no intention
of raiding the plane.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, according to
a Russian report, spoke to his Saudi counterpart Saud
al-Faisal by telephone, asking for the plane and
hijackers to be returned to Russia.


1 .}
Bush outlines campaign finance goals
President Bush urged Congress yesterday to approve campaign reform legisla-
tion that would ban soft money donations by corporations and labor unions, pro-
tect the rights of individuals and groups to express their views, and prohi
unions or corporations from using shareholder or member funds for politi
activity without permission.
Bush's statement of principles differs in some key ways with the main reform
vehicle that will be debated next week in the Senate, a measure sponsored by
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.). But McCain said he
was heartened that Bush stopped short of threatening to veto their bill.
Bush has long opposed the McCain-Feingold bill but sought to avoid being
blamed if campaign reform legislation fails this year. By issuing the statement of
principles, Bush attempted to influence the debate in Congress while avoiding
any veto threats that might cast him, at this stage of the debate, as an opponent of
White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said Bush believes prospects
passage of reform legislation have brightened after a decade of legislative gi
lock. "I think the dynamic has changed this year," Fleischer told reporters. "The
presideht is determined to take advantage of that and to get it signed into law"
Summer blackout- inevitable' inCali
Power blackouts "appear inevitable" in California this summer and could spill
into neighboring Western states, the Bush administration says, even as stocks of a
gasoline additive raise concerns of another summer of price spikes at the pump.
Energy Secretary Spence Abraham told a Senate hearing that the adminis*
tion is trying to find ways to increase power supplies in the West, where prices
have soared because of shortages. The administration strongly opposes price con-
trols, he said.
"The problem will get worse, and blackouts this summer appears inevitable,"
Abraham said. The administration's hope is that "California doesn't start a wave
of blackouts that go beyond its borders," he said.
Abraham announced no specific actions to ease the Western electricity crunch,
although he said he has discussed the possibility of a small amount of additional
power being obtained from Mexico.
He said the administration opposes price controls on wholesale power sales in
the West, despite pleas from California and the Northwest that federal interven-
tion in "a broken market" is essential.


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NEW YORK (AP) - The stock
market stabilized yesterday following
three days of volatile trading, but
tense investors traded cautiously amid
continuing uncertainty about the
economy in this country and overseas.
Although investors were hoping
that the 317-point plunge blue chips
took Wednesday would inspire a rally,
they saw little reason to do much buy-
The Dow advanced 57.82 to close
at 10,031.28 after rising more than
100 points early in the session. The
Dow fell below 10,000 on Wednesday
for the first time in five months and
fluctuated above and below that mile-
stone throughout yesterday's dealings.
Broader market indicators were
mixed. The Nasdaq composite index
slipped 31.38 to 1,940.71 after falling
below 2,000 Monday for the first time
in more than 27 months.
Wall Street's broadest measure, the
Standard & Poor's 500, rose 6.85 to
1,173.56. However, the S&P 500 is
down nearly 25 percent from its closing
high of 1,527.46, reached a year ago.
The dive blue chips took Wednes-
day was particularly unsettling
because such upsets had for months
been largely reserved for the Nasdaq.
Investors had taken comfort in think-
ing the slowing economy was hurting
mostly the tech sector, leaving the
broader market relatively intact.
"A lot of people were looking at the
staple stocks as sort of immune to the
bubble popping that happened in the

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tech stocks. (But) it has carried over
to a limited degree," to blue chips,
said Richard A. Dickson, technical
analyst at Scott & Stringfellow Inc. in
While the market expected the Nas-
daq to test the 2,000 level, the Dow's
falling below 10,000 was "a yellow
flag being raised that the rest of the
market isn't immune," Dickson said.
Yesterday's slim gains followed a
positive session in Japan, in which
stocks finished up 2.6 percent. Eco-
nomic instability in Japan, where the
government admitted that the country
is in a state of deflation, helped send
shares skidding in the United States
and in Europe Wednesday.
Most analysts doubt the market
here will move substantially higher
anytime soon. They say investors are
still grappling with fears that earn-
ings and the economy will be weak
for the foreseeable future.
"The real question that is smacking
us in the eyeballs is, has the stock mar-
ket reached a level that can be stabilized
and investors can be encouraged?" said
Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer
for First Albany Corp.
Unfortunately, "this is not an inspir-
ing stock market today," Johnson said.
"I'm not impressed."
Yesterday's session mirrored the
meager bump-up stocks made Tues-
day after the Nasdaq's big slide the
day before. Analysts said that lack of
commitment by investors doesn't
bode well for a rally.
tries to
erase debt
Secretary Spence Abraham's political
advisers are raising rxloney to cover
debt from his failed Senate re-election
campaign in Michigan, but he is dis-
tancing himself from the effort to
avoid a conflict of interest as a Cabinet
Abraham Senate 2000 owes
$228,767.82 for campaign expenses,
according to records filed Jan. 31 with
the FEC.
Federal ethics rules prevent federal
employees, including Cabinet offi-
cials, from directly raising funds,
although Abraham could help in a
passive role, such as attending fund-
raising events. His advisers say he will
not take any part.
Susan Nelson, a Washington fund-
raiser working for Abraham, said the
team will not solicit or accept dona-
tions from the energy interests Abra-
ham now oversees.
Abraham spent about $12 million
on the race. The first-term Republican
lost to Democrat Debbie Stabenow in
a close race. President Bush nominat-
ed him as Energy Secretary less than
two months after the loss.
Nelson said raising money is not
easy now that the race is over.
"People are really nice, but it's slow
going," she said. "People went above
and beyond to give to him during the
campaign, so I think a lot of people
maxed out or gave him all that was in
their budget."
Groups that advocate changes in the
campaign finance system say Abra-

ham's case highlights the problems of
fund-raising in Congress. While Abra-
ham cannot solicit donations from
energy interests with issues before
hi a canraftnmi nfnthi .n enlA hova

Population New
York tops 8 million
New York's population topped 8
million in the 2000 Census, a record
for the nation's biggest city and a vivid
illustration of the impact of surging
immigration that is transforming the
According to census figures
released yesterday,, the city grew only
because of increasing numbers of
Asians and Hispanics. The black pop-
ulation is stable and the number of
non-Hispanic whites fell over the past
New York is the biggest urban bene-
ficiary of a wave of immigration that is
producing a split picture among the
nation's older big cities, where deterio-
ration and flight have been dominant
themes for decades.
Cities that attract immigrants have
turned around decades of loss. Those
include Chicago, whose population
grew for the first time since 1950,
TETOVO, Macedonia
Leader threatens to
declare all-out war
Special police units pounded ethnic
Albanian rebel positions near here
with mortar rounds yesterday as-Mace-
donia's prime minister threatened to
send -in the army to wage all-out war
against the guerrillas.
When the police barrage peaked
midafternoon, heavy blasts rattled
Tetovo every few seconds as mortar
rounds exploded in the mountains

overlooking the city.
An escalating rebel insurgency
spread this week from border clashes
to this city on the outskirts of western
Macedonia's ethnic Albanian heart-
land, further undermining NATO's
peacekeeping efforts in the region.
The ethnic Albanian rebels, who
call themselves the Nationai Lib*
tion Army, openly admit that they
cross into Macedonia from NATO-pro-
tected Kosovo, a mainly ethnic Alban-
ian province of Serbia.
Congress toughens
bankruptcy laws
The Senate voted yesterday to make
it harder for people to erase their do
in bankruptcy courts and close a loop-
hole in present law that allows wealthy
debtors to shield their assets in luxury
The 83-15 vote in favor of the most
sweeping overhaul of bankruptcy laws
in 20 years occurred just two weeks
after the House passed a similar bill,
but one that left wealthy homeowners
in some states protected.
Personal bankruptcy filings have
declined in the last two years, but the
legislation comes against the backdrop
of a sagging economy and shaken
stock market.
It was the second business-friendly
measure to pass both houses of the
new Congress. Last week, Congress
voted to repeal workplace rules
aimed at curbing repetitive motion
- Compiled from Daily wire repos


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