2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 14, 2002
Cheney focuses on violence in Israel NEWS IN BRIEF4
SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt (AP) - Vice Presi-
dent Dick Cheney said yesterday that Israel and the
Palestinians share the burden of ending Middle East
bloodshed. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met
with Cheney and promised to apply pressure, too.
At a news conference with Cheney at this Red Sea
resort, Mubarak also addressed another difficult
Mideast issue, saying he believes Iraq's Saddam Hus-
sein is close to agreeing to allow the return of U.N.
One of Cheney's missions on his trip to the region
- to make a case for widening the war on terrorism
to include Iraq - has been overshadowed by the spi-
raling loss of life in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"The United States will do all it can to end the
tragic violence between Palestinians and Israelis
and to resume a serious negotiating process,"
The Bush administration, which has demanded that
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat do more to end the
violence, has lately been more openly -critical of
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Asked if he believed the burden for restoring peace
had shifted to Sharon given this week's Israeli offen-
sive in the West Bank and Gaza, Cheney said: "I think
the burden is on both parties to bring an end to the
"It's not going to be possible to make progress until
both parties can agree to a cease-fire," he added.
Mubarak cited "great concern" over what he called
"the current deteriorating situation in the Middle
He said he and Cheney agreed to make "extensive
efforts" to try to put into place an initiative by CIA
Director George Tenet and former U.S. Senate Major-
ity Leader George Mitchell.
RAMALLAH, West Bank.
Violence persists despite tentative truce
Enforcing a curfew, dozens of Israeli tanks patrolled the deserted streets of this
West Bank town yesterday and waged sporadic firefights with bands of Palestin-
ian gunmen. A senior Palestinian security officer, an Israeli soldier and an Italian
photographer were killed.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian after he opened
fire on an Israeli vehicle in the Gaza Strip. Late yesterday, two Palestiniats
entered Nahliel, a Jewish settlement northwest of Ramallah, and stabbed a settler,
seriously wounding him, settlers and the military said.
The Israeli action in Ramallah was a continuation of its two-week-old military
offensive; army chief Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz told a parliamentary committee about
20,000 Israeli soldiers are now stationed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
International diplomatic efforts have mounted as the Mideast endures its blood-
iest stretch since fighting erupted nearly 18 months ago. But there is widespread
skepticism that they can quickly reverse the momentum of recent fighting, which
has included multiple Palestinian suicide bombings and a half-dozen Israeli incur-
sions into Palestinian towns and refugee camps.
More than 160 people have been killed on the Palestinian side and almost 60
have been killed on the Israeli side in March.
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U.S. forces corner al-Qaida, Taliban fighters
WASHINGTON (AP) - President
Bush said yesterday he was "plenty hot"
to learn that student visas for two Sept.
11 hijackers were delivered months after
they flew planes into the World Trade
He ordered his attorney general to
investigate and urged reform of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Bush described the matter as "a wake-
up call for those who run the INS," but
said the agency has antiquated informa-
tion systems and needs an upgrade.
"They got the message and hopefully,
they'll reform as quickly as possible,"
The president said he was "stunned,
and not happy" when he learned that no
one intercepted the visas for Mohamed
Atta and Marwan A-Shehhi before they
arrived at a Florida flight school on
"Let me put it another way: I was
plenty hot," Bush told reporters at a news
conference in the White House briefing
Before Bush spoke, Attorney General
John Ashcroft directed Justice Depart-
ment Inspector General Glenn Fine to
find out why immigration officials failed
to pull the notification letters and why
there was such a long delay in processing
The president ordered Ashcroft, whose
department includes the INS, and Home-
land Security Director Tom Ridge to
investigate and report back to him.
Bush said he was unhappy that the
visas remained in the immigration"
pipeline even though the names on the
forms were widely known. He said INS
Commissioner James Ziglar was respon-
sible for'this embarrassing disclosure,"
but should be given a chance to rectify
"His responsibility is to reform the
INS, let's give him time to do so. He has-
n't been there that long," Bush said.
Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) chair-
man of the Senate Intelligence Com-
mittee, said he would propose
changes in the way the IN issues
and monitors student visas. Specifi-
cally, Graham called for cross-check-
ing records between police
departments, intelligence agencies
and Interpol, the global law enforce-
ment arm, "to provide a more com-
plete profile of prospective
On Monday, exactly six months after
the attacks, Huffman Aviation in Venice,
Fla., received student visa approval
forms for Ata, 33, and Al-Shehhi, 23..
The men were aboard separate hijacked
planes that struck the World Trade Center
towers, killing thousands.
The pair trained at Huffman in 2000
and early 2001 and sought student visas
so they could attend technical schools.
The visa for Atta, of Egypt, was
approved in July 2001 and a visa for Al-
Shehhi, of United Arab Emirates, was
approved the following month, said Russ
Bergeron, an immigration agency
Bergeron described the paperwork the
flight school received as a backstop on
notification the INS gave the men and
the school last summer. He said the INS
had no information "regarding these peo-
ple and their link to terrorism" when the
visas were granted.
INS officials assured a Kentucky con-
gressman yesterday that a federal pro-
cessing center in London, Ky. was not
responsible for the delayed paperwork.
The agency said Affiliated Computer
Services Inc. processed and returned the
documents to the INS within the time
period stipulated by its contract, said Dan
DuBray, spokesman for Rep. Harold
"We were very concerned about the
impression that this contractor was
given the blame for the agency's
process," DuBray said. "The contractor
performed the contract the way it was
Affiliated Computer Services has a
five-year, $75 million contract with the
U.S. Marine helicopter gunships blasted cave entrances yesterday in the rugged
mountains, seeking to stop al-Qaida and Taliban fighters from escaping after U.S.
and Afghan troops seized control of this valley.
Afghan commanders said many al-Qaida and Taliban fighters - including their
commander, Saif Rahman Mansour - got away before Afghan troops overran
three villages and a commanding ridgeline early yesterday.
U.S. officials said they were holding about 20 prisoners who were being interrogated.
Pentagon officials had repeatedly said the only choice facing the enemy troops
was to "surrender or die," although Afghan commanders had been prepared to
allow them to leave.
A U.S. officer estimated that 500 al-Qaida fighters were killed in the 12-day
offensive in eastern Afghanistan. But Afghan troops said they found only 25 bod-
ies in the initial sweep of the area. Others may be buried in caves that collapsed
during the bombing.
Leading the final assault were Afghan commanders Zia Lodin and Gul Haider,
who had floated the idea of a negotiated exit.
Fuel efficiency plan
rejected in Senate
The Senate gave automakers a
reprieve yesterday by rejecting a plan to
require that they produce cars, trucks
and sport utility vehicles that run 50
percent farther on a gallon of gas.
The industry and its unions lobbied
hard against requiring a 36 mile per
gallon average by 2015. Supporters of
the higher standard said it would save
millions of barrels of oil 'and could be
reached through current and emerging
Instead, the Senate by a 62-38 vote
told the Transportation Department to
develop new fuel economy rules over
the next two years, but did not require
specific mileage increases.
Separately, senators voted 56-44 to
exempt pickup trucks from future
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), sponsor of
the. 36 mpg proposal, said that proposal
was "an artful dodge, a great escape"
from doing anything about fuel economy.
HARAR E, Zimbabwe
Winner declared in
President Robert Mugabe was
declared the winner yesterday of Zim-
babwe's bitterly contested presidential
election - a victory opponents and inde-
pendent observers said was tainted by
intimidation and fraud but backers saw as
a mandate for seizing white-owned land.
The government said Mugabe was
re-elected to a six-year term with about
56 percent of the vote. Morgan Tsvan-
girai, who waged the first serious chal-
lenge to Mugabe since independence
from Britain, had 42 percent of the 3.1
million votes cast.
Tsvangirai denounced the results as
"the biggest election fraud" he's seen.
The former labor leader also charged
that the election was "illegitimate in the
eyes of the people."
The United States and several Euro-
pean nations said Mugabe's victory was
marred by violence and intimidation.
close in on budget
Despite improvements in the economy
and pressure from conservatives to bal-
ance the federal budget, House Republi-
cans were expected late yesterday to
endorse a $2.1 trillion spending blueprint
that would produce a $46 billion deficit
The budget, which would fully fund
large spending increases sought by Presi-
dent Bush for defense and homeland
security, demonstrates how hard it will be
for Congress to avoid deficits during a
time of war - and in an election year.
The House Budget Committee was
expected to approve the GOP-backed
budget resolution late yesterday on a
party-line vote, sending it to the full
House for a vote next week. That marks
the beginning of a congressional budget
debate that is littered with political land
mines for members of both parties.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
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