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October 24, 2001 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-24

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 24, 2001


ongress trng to resume work


The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - Expressing more frustration
than fear, members of Congress returned to work yes-
terday, holing up in makeshift accommodations with
skeletal staffs as environmental technicians continued
to scour six House and Senate office buildings for
anthrax contamination.
So far, authorities said, the contamination appears to
be limited to four sites ---- none in the Capitol itself--
and congressional ofticials announced yesterday night
that the Russell Senate Office Building will reopen
today. But with five new cases of inhalation anthrax
among postal workers reported since Sunday, includ-
ing two fatalities, the mood was somber and restrained
as the House dispensed with several noncontroversial
matters and the Senate broke a logjam holding up
action on spending bills. On the sidelines, the office
shutdowns continued to create massive headaches for
lawmakers and aides cut off from computer hard dri-
ves, important documents and normal contact with
constituents and others.

While most senators worked out of the Capitol -
some in their private "hideaways", others in the Demo-
cratic or Republican cloakrooms - many House
members took temporary refuge in the imposing head-
quarters of the General Accounting Office at 4th and G
Streets NW. The GAO cleared two entire floors, dis-
placing 1,200 employees, to make way for all 435
members, each of whom was allotted two laptop com-
puters and cramped space for three aides.
Congressional leaders said the Cannon, Longworth
and Rayburn House office buildings and two on the
Senate side - the Dirksen and Hart buildings - will
remain closed pending the results of environmental
tests. The Hart building - where anthrax spores were
released Oct. 15 when a junior staffer opened a letter to
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) -
could remain closed for weeks.
"The Hart and Dirksen buildings will reopen as
soon as environmental remediation to remove the evi-
dence of anthrax spores is completed, or until those
areas that have been tested positive have been sealed to
allow for remediation without exposing other areas to

contamination," Daschle and Senate Minority Leader
Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said in a statement yesterday.
For all the inconveniences and anxiety, lawmakers
expressed confidence in the decision by congressional
leaders to call them back into session as well as the
environmental measures that they say have sharply
reduced the anthrax threat on Capitol Hill.
"People are aware of the fact that somebody tried to
commit homicide against members of the Capitol Hill
family, so that's a serious truth," Senate Intelligence
Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-Fla.) said in an
interview. "But most of the people here are mature
adults who've had some previous experience in dealing
with stressful circumstances and I do not believe that
they've succumbed to emotional meltdown over this."
Following the discovery of the anthrax spores in
Daschle's office last week, medical personnel swabbed
the nasal cavities of 5,000 congressional staff, Capitol
police, reporters and others to determine how far the
bacteria had spread. So far, 28 people have showed evi-
dence of exposure to the spores, although that does not
mean they will get anthrax.

BELFAST, Northern Ireland
IRA begins disarming for first time
The Irish Republican Army announced yesterday that it has begun to disarm
for the first time, saying it wants to prevent the collapse of the peace process,
long threatened by the impasse over IRA weapons.
There was no immediate word on the number of weapons being put out of use
or the method. The IRA said only it had "implemented the scheme" accepted by
an international disarmament commission in August, the details of which were
never made public.
The announcement came one day after Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and
his deputy, Martin McGuinness, urged their allies in the IRA to make good on
their long-delayed promises to put their weapons "beyond use."
"Our motivation is clear. This unprecedented move is to save the peace process
and to persuade others of our genuine intentions," the IRA statement said.
"The political process is now on the point of collapse. Such a collapse would
certainly, and eventually, put the overall peace process in jeopardy," it said.
The IRA pledged in May 2000 to put its weapons "beyond use," a euphemism
for disarmament. But its failure to fulfill the promise has constantly angered
Protestants ---- to the point that now the impasse threatened to bring down the
Protestant-Catholic government.


Three letters that contained
anthrax were dated Sept. 11

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three let-
ters contaminated with anthrax all were
dated the same day as the Sept. 11
attacks on New York and Washington
and contained anti-American and anti-
Israel messages, officials said yester-
The Justice Department released
copies of the letters as it sought help
from the public in identifying those
responsible for the mail attacks that
have killed three people and poisoned
more than a dozen others.
The identical dates are yet another
indication that the anthrax attacks were
coordinated. Authorities have already
said the strain of anthrax in the New
York and Washington letters and bacte-
ria found at a Florida publishing com-
pany were similar. And the three letters
were all postmarked from Trenton, N.J.
Letters sent to NBC's Tom Brokaw

and The New York Post appeared iden-
tical. Both warned recipients to "Take
penacilin now," an apparent mis-
spelling, and also said, "Death to Amer-
ica," "Death to Israel" and "Allah is
The envelope that contained the New
York Post letter was written in the same
sort of block letters, slanted to the right,
as two envelopes addressed to Brokaw
and Senate Majority Leader Tom
Daschle, released earlier.
The letter to Daschle contained seven
lines written in block letters similar to
the other two. "You can not stop us. We
have this anthrax. You die now. Are you
afraid? Death to America. Death to
Israel. Allah is great."
Atop all three notes was the date "09-
11-01" in identical handwriting. The
letters to Brokaw and the New York
Post were postmarked Sept. 18. rThe


Daschle letter was postmarked Oct. 9.
Attorney General John Ashcroft said
investigators hope to garner new leads
by releasing photographs of the letters
and to warn Americans of mail to be
wary of.
"All of these ... we hope will alert
citizens and others to the kind of thing
to look for," said Ashcroft.
Despite the dates on the letters,
Ashcroft said authorities can't prove a
link to the men who carried out the air-
liner attacks last month.
The FBI is investigating whether
additional anthrax-laced letters have
been sent. The White House yesterday
said anthrax was discovered in an off-
site mail facility. The origin of the
anthrax was unknown. Mail handled at
the off-site facility is processed through
a postal facility on Capitol Hill that
processed the Daschle letter.
Bush tells
Israel to
its troopns
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - President Bush
demanded yesterday that Israel with-
draw its troops from Palestinian-run
parts of the West Bank and Gaza
Strip, delivering the stern message
personally to Israeli Foreign Minister
Shimon Peres.
Bush's personal intervention, fol-
lowing warnings by lower-ranking
White House officials, underlined
concerns that Washington's custom-
ary support for Israel could hurt U.S.
efforts to retain Arab and other Mus-
lim countries as allies in the war on
Although Bush and Peres had not
been scheduled to meet, the president
joined talks between the Israeli offi-
cial and National Security Advisor
Condoleezza Rice. He stayed 25 min-
utes, an extraordinarily long time for
a drop-in visit.
White House spokesman Sean
McCormack said Bush asserted that
he is Israel's best friend, but the pres-
ident called for an immediate end to
the Israeli invasion of Palestinian ter-
ritory launched last week after the
assassination of a member of the
Israeli Cabinet.
During his three days in Washing-
ton, Peres has assured members of
Congress, reporters, Jewish groups
and other audiences that Israel will
pull back its troops as soon as the
Palestinian Authority arrests the
assassins of Tourism Minister
Rehavam Zeevi. But the administra-
tion told him that isn't good enough.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
told Peres that the forces should be
withdrawn "immediately," regdless
of whether the Palestinian authorities
move against the assassins, State
Department spokesman Richard
Boucher said. McCormack said he
didn't know if Bush used the same
words, but "that is our position."
The exchange clearly came as a
surprise to Peres, who has long been
able to persuade U.S. officials to soft-
en criticism of Israeli actions. Peres'
center-left Labor Party has threat-
ened to abandon Israel's coalition
government if the Israeli army
doesn't withdraw soon.
Administration officials applauded
the strong support Peres offered the
I R miitarv actions in Afghanistan.

Pilot error blamed
for 1999 plane crash
The pilots bringing American Air-
lines Flight 1420 into Little Rock, Ark.,
in June 1999 failed to set the wing pan-
els that would have helped slow the
plane down on the slick runway, federal
safety investigators said yesterday.
Staff investigators for the National
Transportation Safety Board said at a
hearing that neither the pilot nor the
co-pilot set the switch for the spoilers,
and neither checked with the other to
make sure the panels would operate.
The safety board was meeting to
approve a final report on the crash of
Flight 1420, which killed I1 people
including the captain when itran off the
runway, injuring roughly 100 people.
Since then, American has changed its
procedures and requires the pilot and
co-pilot to acknowledge the spoiler
switch has been turned on, When turned
on, the spoilers automatically deploy
when the plane lands on the runway.
Corporations would
benefit from stimulus
General Motors, IBM and Kmart are
among corporations that would receive
billions of dollars in tax refunds under a
$100 billion House Republican econom-
ic stimulus package. Democrats say it is
far too generous to companies and does
too little for individuals. Seven compa-
nies would get a total of $3.3 billion in
refunds of alternative minimum taxes
they .paid as far back as 1986. The tax,

which the House legislation also would
repeal outright, is intended to ensure a
basic minimum income tax is paid by
companies and individuals that claim
numerous deductions and credits.
IBM would get a $1.4 billion refund,
according to the nonpartisan Congres-
sional Research Service, while GM
would get $832 million, Kmart $102
million and General Electric $671 mil-
lion. Others specified for big refunds
include Enron, $254 million; U.S. Steel,
$39 million; and Kroger, $9 million,
Odyssey successfully
enters Mars orbit
NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey space-
:raft successfully entered orbit late
yesterday around the Red Planet,
where the space agency ~uffeied
embarrassing back-to-back failures on
its previous two missions.
Engineers and scientists-at NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory received pre-
liminary indication shortly before 8
p.m. that a programmed engine firing
had slowed the spacecraft and allowed
Mars to capture it into an egg-shaped
orbit. Mission control erupted in cheers
as officials exchanged hugs and hand-
shakes after tense minutes of waiting.
"Right now is just a fulfillment of
many years of effort by a lot-of peo-
ple," said Roger Gibbs, deputy project
The spacecraft will take until late
January to settle into a final, circular
mapping orbit 250 miles above the
- Compiledfrom Daily wire reports.

BOGOR. Indonesia
Hundreds of refugees die when ship sinks *
Dreams of a new life in Australia ended in death for hundreds of refugees
after a worn-out pump draining water from their leaky Indonesian boat broke
down in the Indian Ocean. As the wooden vessel filled with water, dozens of
men bailed frantically, some with their bare hands. Terrified women and chil-
dren were trapped in the overcrowded hold.
The boat sank in 10 minutes as heavy rain fell on the otherwise placid sea.
Of the 418 people aboard - mostly refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and
other countries -- only 44 survived the disaster Friday.
Yesterday, stunned survivors were recovering in a refugee hostel in Bogor,
about 40 miles south of Jakarta. Many were injured, and some cried as they
recounted their ordeal. The youngest survivor, 8-year-old Hussein Jawad, lost
his parents and 13 other relatives.
While many who escaped the sinking boat drowned, he clung to a piece of,
the wreckage for two days until fishermen came.
"It was like doomsday," said Bahram Khan, a farmer from Jalalabad,
Afghanistan, who lost four brothers.."I can still hear the screams."

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NEWS Nick Bunkley, Managing Editor
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