2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 29, 2001
Taliban commander rallies troops
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The
Taliban's supreme leader radioed his
commanders yesterday and called on
them to fight to the death against
Americans in southern Afghanistan,
where U.S. Marines were building up
their forces at a desert base.
In Washington, U.S. officials said a
small group of soldiers from the 10th
Mountain Division has assembled out-
side the northern Afghan city of
Mazar-e-Sharif to serve as a quick-
reaction force in the event of renewed
Taliban resistance. The officials,
speaking on condition of anonymity,
said the deployment comprised no
more than two dozen soldiers. One
official said the numbers might be
The 10th Mountain Division had
about 1,000 of its soldiers providing
security at an air base across the bor-
der in southern Uzbekistan for several
weeks, the officials said.
Also in the north, anti-Taliban
forces began clearing the bodies of
hundreds of fighters loyal to Osama
bin Laden killed during a three-day
prison uprising near Mazar-e-Sharif.
The Pentagon said yesterday that
U.S. airstrikes damaged a compound
near the Taliban's last stronghold, Kan-
dahar, believed used by senior figures
from the Taliban or bin Laden's al-
Qaida movement. It was unclear if any
Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria
Clarke'said a "confluence of intelli-
gence" indicated that senior Taliban
leaders were in the building, including
supreme leader Mullah Mohammed
Omar, but "we do not have any sense
Omar was there."
However, the Pakistan-based South
Asian Dispatch Agency quoted a Tal-
iban spokesman, Mullah Abdul Wahab
Khairkhwah, as saying Omar was "not
too far" from the site when the attack
occurred late Tuesday.
The agency quoted an unidentified
Taliban official as saying Omar was
whisked away at the last moment when
militia counterintelligence noted the
presence of two men suspected of
working for the Americans.
"I think Tuesday was the last day for
these two men," the official was quot-
ed as saying.
Yesterday, the Taliban's supreme
leader told his commanders to hold fast.
"Stick to your positions and fight to
the death," Taliban official Hafiz
Majidullah quoted Omar as saying.
"We are ready to face these Ameri-
cans. We are happy that they have
landed here and we will teach them a
" At the Pentagon, Rear Adm. John
Stuffiebeem acknowledged that top Tal-
iban leaders were still issuing orders,
but said describing them as "still firmly
in control would be an overstatement."
NEWS IN BRIEF r,
WASH INGTON h
Dems fail to expand anti-terror bill
The House handed a victory to President Bush yesterday by derailing a
Democratic drive to pour billions of extra dollars into anti-terrorism efforts,
defense and aid to New York.
The largely party-line 216-211 vote moved the House to the verge of
approving a $20 billion package to finance the war in Afghanistan and the
battle against domestic terrorism. It also included help for New York and
other communities recovering from the attacks that leveled the World
Trade Center's towers, damaged the Pentagon and killed thousands of peo-
With just four defections, GOP lawmakers rallied behind Bush's threat to veto
the legislation if money were added to it. Bush has cast the fight as a test of fis-
cal austerity, coupling that with a promise to seek more money early next year if
"Congress will respond" when more money is requested, said Rep. Ray
LaHood (R-Ill). "But we need to be responsible about these things."
Democrats said now was the time to lay out more money to buy vaccines, hire
sky marshals, secure Russian nuclear material, increase food inspections and
otherwise thwart terrorists.
Enron appears on threshold of bankruptcy
Enron Corp., once the world's largest energy trader, slid toward bankruptcy yes-
terday in one of the most spectacular downfalls Wall Street has ever seen after its
would-be rescuer Dynegy Inc. backed out of an $8.4 billion deal to take it over.
Enron's stock crashed to less than a dollar, down from a high of around $90
over a year ago. The company with a market value of $80 billion last fall is now
worth about $500 million.
Dynegy pulled out after Wall Street lowered Enron's credit rating to junk status,
triggering an obligation to repay billions of dollars in debt that Enron probably can-
not cover. Analysts said the seventh-largest U.S. company in terms of revenue faces
almost certain bankruptcy after a free-fall that began weeks ago with the disclosure
that some of its executives had engaged in off-the-books business deals.
"It's the end of Enron, no question about it," said Gordon Howald, an analyst at
Credit Lyonnais Securities in New York. "I don't know who else could step in."
Dazed workers trickled out of Enron's downtown Houston headquarters, across
the street from the company's new $200 million, 40-story glass tower. They said
they couldn't predict Enron's future - or their own.
Opposition insists it should govern
KOENIGSWINTER, Germany (AP) - The
northern alliance rejected the United Nations' pro-
posal for an international security force for
Afghanistan, insisting yesterday that a security force
-theirs - is already in place.
They also dampened expectations that the former
king would head an interim administration.
Deciding on the makeup of a security force, as well
as an interim administration, are the two difficult goals
of a U.N.-sponsored meeting of four Afghan factions
at a mountaintop manor outside Bonn.
"We don't feel a need for an outside force. There
is security in place," the northern alliance's chief
negotiator, Younus Qanooni, said at the second day
of the talks.
If a security force is needed to enforce an agree-
ment on an interim government, Qanooni said it
should be comprised of Afghanistan's ethnic groups.
The other groups at the conference - supporters
of ex-King Mohammad Zaher Shah, and two other
exile groups based in Cyprus and Pakistan - are
pushing for a neutral, U.N.-backed force.
"Peace is not possible without neutral forces, and
there are no neutral forces in Afghanistan. There are
only northern alliance forces, and they are not neu-
tral," said Anwar-ul-Haq Ahadi, a delegate of the
Peshawar group that is based in Pakistan.
Zalmai Rassoul, whose group represents the for-
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mer monarch, said that one option was to include
Afghans in a wider security force. He said he hoped
The fall of Kabul to northern alliance forces has
prompted international calls for the United Nations
to oversee a political settlement to the long-running
civil war in Afghanistan. A multinational force
drawn mainly from moderate Muslim nations has
been in planning, drawing troops from Turkey,
Indonesia, Bangladesh and Jordan.
Eight foreign journalists have been killed in
Afghanistan over the past several weeks since north-
ern alliance forces began pushing the Taliban out of
most of the country.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush
administration signed a contract yester-
day to buy 155 million doses of small-
pox vaccine from a British firm,
preparing for the possibility terrorists
would try to spread the deadly virus.
he The contract with Acambis Inc. will
al bring the nation's stockpile to 286 mil-
lion doses of the vaccine by the end of
next year, promising protection for
800 every American should bioterrorists
attack with the all-but-extinct virus.
Sit "The risk does exist and we must be
prepared," said Health and Human Ser-
vices Secretary Tommy Thompson.
The vaccine can be administered four
days after exposure to smallpox and still
offer protection. For that reason, and
because the vaccine can cause some rare
ets and but deadly side effects, officials have no
plans to resume the routine vaccinations
2001. Service to of Americans that ended in 1972.
airfare and 1500 Thompson said that buying the new
rip purchase from
hase only. Prices vaccine is sure to prompt emanor
ly be available on the shots by some Americans and
oeyatopician debate in Congress and at the White
House over whether vaccinations should
The government already has 15.4
million doses of smallpox vaccine on
hand, and each of them will be diluted
to create five doses, bringing the total to
77 million. Researchers are studying
whether each dose could be further
diluted, to get 10 doses from each one.
In either case, the diluted vaccine
would only be used if the new doses had
not yet been delivered, or if they ran out,
said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the
National Institute of Allergy and Infec-
- An additional 54 million doses have
already been ordered from Acambis and
" are expected to be delivered next year.
The new contract will bring another
155 million doses, which are expected
by late fall 2000. They will cost the gov-
ernment $428 million, or $2.76 per
dose. That's less than the $509 million
that the Bush administration has asked
from Congress to pay for the new vac-
The initial budget request assumed
that the government would need to buy
250 million doses, but new research has
found that the existing vaccine can safe-
ly be diluted, meaning much less new
vaccine is needed.
To make the newest batch of vac-
cine, Acambis has teamed with Bax-
ter International, which will begin
brewing doses immediately at an
undisclosed European factory, said
Acambis spokeswoman Lyndsay
Wright. Acambis' own manufacturing
will begin ,soon at a factory in Cam-
bridge, Mass., she said.
"Between the two of us, we have the
manufacturing capability," she said.
After the vaccine is manufactured, it
must be tested in clinical trials and then
approved by the Food and Drug Admin-
istration. The FDA promised a sped-up
review but promised not to lower its
Europe new target
of AIDS epidemic
Eastern Europe and the republics of
the former Soviet Union are fast
becoming the new battleground
against AIDS, with teen-agers the
hardest hit, according to a U.N. report
on the epidemic published yesterday.
Russia has seen the number of people
infected with HIV double almost annual-
ly, UN. officials said at a news conference
in Moscow. Ukraine became the first
nation in Europe to report that 1 percent
of its adult population is HIV-positive.
"The epidemic is rising faster in East-
ern Europe than anywhere else in the
world and it is still in its early stages," said
Peter Piot, executive director of the Joint
UN. Program on HIV/AIDS, which oper-
ates in more than 100 countries.
The combination of economic inse-
curity, high unemployment and deterio-
rating health services throughout
Eastern Europe are behind the steep
rise, U.N. officials said.
Court weighs online
free speech, porn
The Supreme Court, struggling yes-
terday to find a balance between pro-
tecting children from online smut and
preserving free speech, questioned
whether a sweeping national standard
could rule the unruly Internet.
There can be no objective nationwide
standard to judge what is damaging for
youngsters but might have artistic, edu-
cational or other value for adults, said
American Civil Liberties Union
lawyer Ann Beeson.
"A national standard would be an
exercise in futility," she said.
The court is expected to rule next
year on the Child Online Protection
Act, Congress' latest attempt to shield
children from sexually explicit pic-
tures and other material readily avail-
able to anyone with a computer. The
court struck down an earlier version of
the legislation as an unconstitutional
limit on free speech.
Man sues to overturn
ban on dwarf-tossing
A 3-foot-2-inch radio personality
sued yesterday, seeking to overturn
Florida's ban on dwarf tossing so he
can earn money in the barroom attrac-
tion. Dave Flood, who appears on a
morning radio talk show as "Dave the
Dwarf," said he doesn't think the state
can dictate how he earns his living.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District
Court names Gov. Jeb Bush and the
head of the state agency which
enforces the 1989 law. The law allows
the state to revoke the liquor license or
fine a bar that allows dwarf tossing, an
activity that was popular in some
Florida bars in the late 1980s.
Flood wants to wear a harness with
handles so patrons at bars can pay to
pick him up and toss him onto an air
mattress or a padded area, his lawsuit
said. The lawsuit, which does not seek
damages, contends the ban is unconsti-
- Compiledfrom Daily wire reports.
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