2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 27, 2002
Death toll nears 2,000 after Afghan quake
NEWS 1IN BRIEFf
'I" AON WORL 'I
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - An earthquake
devastated mountain villages in northern
Afghanistan, where officials yesterday estimated at
least 1,800 people died and thousands more were
injured in a region already hard-hit by hunger,
drought and war.
At the scene, the military commander from the
Baglan region said the Monday night quake col-
lapsed 20,000 mud-brick houses. Gen. Haider Kahn
estimated between 600 and 1,000 people remained
trapped and said the death toll could hit 2,000.
Yusuf Nuristani, a government spokesman, told
reporters in Kabul that the death toll had reached
1,800 by yesterday afternoon with 2,000 injured.
Kabul television later reported 5,000 hurt. In Geneva,
U.N. spokeswoman Elisabeth 'Byrs said Afghan
authorities- had initially reported the death toll could
Aid agencies said thousands - perhaps tens of
thousands - were homeless, as aftershocks contin-
ued to jolt the majestic Hindu Kush mountains that
tower above Kabul and separate the capital from the
extreme north of the country.
There were fears of landslides as the earth contin-
ued to heave after the Monday night quake, which
was centered about 105 miles north of Kabul.
No Americans or foreigners were known to be
among the missing or dead. Brig. Gen. John Rosa
told a Pentagon briefing that no coalition forces were
hurt by the quake.t
The old part of Nahrin town was leveled and
some 40 other villages on Nahrin plain were affect-
ed, prompting aid groups to gear up to provide
shelter for 6,000 to 7,000 families in that area
alone, U.N. spokesman Manoel de Alemida e Silva
"These people were hit by 20 years of war,
three to-four years of drought and now comes the
earthquake," said Mirielle Borne, an aid worker
with the independent agency ACTED who
arrived in the stricken town as night fell yester-
"It just keeps piling up. They just take it as it
comes. It's a matter of holding on to the next day."
Immediate concerns included getting water, food
and shelter to the area, where 80 percent of the fami-
lies had been targeted before the quake to receive
wheat from the World Food Program.
Borne said she expected villagers from even
more remote regions to arrive in district centers
by donkey or on foot in coming days, seeking
help and bringing word of additional damage and
The only good news, she said, was the weather. "It
is cold, but there is no rain or snow, and people are
either sleeping at relatives homes or are sheltering in
for slave reparations
Arafat will not attend peace summit
Yasser Arafat decided yesterday not to attend a key Arab summit, and his Cabi-
net accused Israel of trying to "blackmail" the Palestinian leader with tough con-
ditions for letting him go. Arafat's absence could undermine Arab support for a
Saudi peace overture being presented in Beirut.
Despite calls by the United States that he let Arafat go to the summit, Sharon
said "conditions are not ripe" to do so. He insisted the Palestinian leader call a
cease-fire first and that Washington back any Israeli ddcision to bar Arafat from
returning home if there is violence during his absence.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher insisted Israel grant a "round
trip" for Arafat to and from the summit, which opens in the Lebanese capital
Underscoring the incendiary situation on the ground, two observers from an
international force in the West Bank were shot and killed. The Israeli military said
Palestinians opened fire on their car on a road used mostly by Jewish settlers
north of Hebron, where the force is stationed.
The two observers - from Turkey and Switzerland - were the first members
of the force to be killed. The monitoring group was created in 1994 as part of an
agreement dividing Hebron into Palestinian and Israeli-controlled zones.
Bush names surgeon general, NIH director
President Bush picked a made-for-Hollywood trauma surgeon to be the nation's
top doctor yesterday after more than a year of searching. He also chose an Alger-
ian-born radiologist to run the government's premier medical research facility.
Bush nominated Richard Carmona, the Arizona surgeon and SWAT team cop,
as surgeon general and Johns Hopkins University medical school administrator
Elias Zerhouni to direct the National Institutes of Health.
"These are distinguished physicians who have worked tirelessly to save lives
and to improve lives," Bush said.
Carmona, whose expertise also includes terrorism preparedness, once dropped
from a helicopter to save someone stranded on a cliff. "I worried that maybe he
wasn't the best guy to educate our Americans about reducing health risks," Bush
joked at a White House ceremony highlighting the colorful life stories of his
The president made clear that he expects Zerhouni, who will manage more than
$20 billion in medical research grants, to hew to White House opposition to govern-
ment-sponsored studies on new embryonic stem cells and cloning of human tissue.
NEW YORK (AP) - A federal law-
suit seeking unspecified reparations
for the 35 million descendants of
African slaves was filed yesterday
against the Aetna Insurance Company,
the FleetBoston financial services
group and railroad giant CSX.
The lawsuit also claims that as many
as 1,000 unidentified corporations may
have profited from slavery and some-
times helped it continue in the United
States between 1619 and 1865.,
"The practice of slavery constituted
an immoral and inhumane depravation
of Africans' life, liberty, African citi-
zenship rights, cultural heritage and it
further deprived them of the fruits of
their own labor," the lawsuit said.
In a statement, Aetna said, "We do
not believe a court would permit a law-
suit over events which - however
regrettable - occurred hundreds of
years ago. These issues in no way
reflect Aetna today."
CSX said the suit had no merit and
should be dismissed.
"Slavery was a tragic chapter in our
nation's history," the company said in a
statement. "It is a history shared by
every American, and its impacts can-
not be attributed to any single compa-
ny or industry."
Officials at FleetBoston did not
immediately return calls seeking
Lawyer Roger Wareham said the
lawsuit sought damages that would be
put into a fund to improve the health,
education and housing opportunities
for African Americans.
"This is not about individuals receiv-
ing checks in their mailbox," he said.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit was iden-
tified as Deadria Farmer-Paellmann,
who said that she went to law school
with the goal of eventually suing for
damages as a result of slavery.
She said as many as 60 companies
had cooperated with her five years of
research and provided documents
showing how they had assisted the
institution of slavery.
KHARWAR, Afghanistan (AP) -
In the mountains and gorges of east-
ern Afghanistan, U.S. aircraft are
hunting for al-Qaida and Taliban
fighters after local Afghan command-
ers reported sightings of al-Qaida's
second in command.
Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri report-
edly was traveling on horseback with
three senior clerics and 26 al-Qaida
officials, all Arabs. U.S. officials, how-
ever, say there is no credible evidence
al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden or his
top aide is among the group.
Al-Zawahri, the spiritual adviser and
personal physician to bin Laden, was
last seen about a week ago near the site
of this month's Operation Anaconda
battles between U.S. troops and al-
Qaida fugitives in neighboring Paktia
province, according to Mohammed
Momen, an Afghan intelligence officer
From there, Momen and other
Afghan authorities believe al-Zawahri
made his way to this part of eastern
Afghanistan's Logar province, about 55
miles southwest of Kabul. It is a region
with a long history of support for the
"We are sure, 100 percent, they
came in this direction," Momen said as
his car lunged and lurched over a rock-
strewn road through the Darang Gorge
that leads to Kharwar - a forlorn and
parched plain flanked by snow-
Overhead, a U.S. reconnaissance
plane could be heard prowling the
skies. Four distinctive jet streams of
B-52 bombers were seen against the
Momen said he had received word
that al-Zawahri plans a meeting with
his supporters sometime this week in
one of three places. - Kharwar,
Charkh or Sur Tangi Gorge. All are
within 50 miles of each other.
At the Pentagon, U.S. military
officials played down reports that al-
Zawahri or bin Laden himself have
been sighted. In December, U.S.
officials, acting on tips from Afghan
allies, said they believed bin Laden
was cornered in the Tora Bora cave
complex. When the area was over-
run, no trace of bin Laden was
"It's almost a weekly occurrence that
we get a couple of reports," of sight-
ings. Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria
Ruling allows drug
users to be evicted
The Supreme Court reinforced a
hard line against drugs yesterday,
backing rules that permit eviction
of families from federally subsi-
dized housing if any family mem-
ber or guest is involved in
The decision came a week after
justices indicated they were ready to
allow wider drug-testing in schools,
and they are also handling narcotics
cases this year that could condone
government intrusion for public
Chief Justice William Rehnquist,
quoting Congress, wrote in the
housing decision that "with drugs
leading to murders, muggings, and
other forms of violence against ten-
ants," aggressive eviction policies
He also cited Congress' desire to
end "the reign of terror" in public
Free speech rights
claimed for judges
Candidates for judgeships should' be
able to tell voters what kind of judge
they are getting, a lawyer trying to
overturn state gag orders for judicial
candidates argued to the Supreme
"The people can be trusted to make
the decisions ... as long as they have
the information to make those deci-
sions," lawyer James Bopp argued on
behalf of the Minnesota Republican
party and a failed Republican candidate
for a state judgeship.
Greg Wersal claims he was unconsti-
tutionally silenced when he wanted to
tell Minnesota voters how, as a state
judge, he would be tough on criminals.
Wersal argues that he was at a huge dis-
advantage as he began a 1998 race
against Alan Page, a former Minnesota
Vikings football star, and needed to
make himself stand out.
in Levy investigation
Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.), whose
re-election bid ended earlier this month
with a defeat in the California state pri-
mary, is getting no rest from authorities
probing the disappearance of former
intern Chandra Levy.
Condit, who publicly has said only that
he shared a "very close" relationship with
Levy, surrendered bank statements, phone
records and other materials from his con-
gressional office under subpoena last fall.
Now he has been subpoenaed to testify
before a Washington grand jury within the
next two weeks. News of the subpoena
was first reported in The Washington Post.
His appearance will represent the
first sworn testimony for the six-term
lawmaker. Condit has been questioned
repeatedly by law enforcement officials'
since Levy disappeared last spring, but
never before under oath.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
N.E.R.D. SIMPLE PLAN
in Search Of... No Helmets, No Pads...Just calls
AVALANCHES BIG HEAD TODD & THE MONSTERS
Since I Left You Riviera
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