2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 8, 2003
Bush rallies to end federal taxes on
stock dividends, send rebate checks
NEWS IN BRIEF
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CHICAGO (AP) - President Bush asked Con-
gress yesterday to "push the economy forward" with
a $674 billion plan to abolish federal taxes on stock
dividends, speed up promised income tax cuts and
send rebate checks to 34 million low- and middle-
Democrats said the lion's share of the package favors
the rich, a fact the White House argues misses the point
that the wealthy pay by far the most in taxes.
In an address to the Economic Club of Chicago,
the president said the economy is strong, "yet there
are warning signs I won't ignore, and I hope the
Congress doesn't igflore, either."
The 10-year package, all but $4 billion of it for
cutting taxes, goes to Congress amid rising govern-
ment deficits and as Democrats gear up to challenge
Bush's re-election bid.
"He has put forward an irresponsible, ineffective,
ideologically driven wish list," said Sen. Joseph
Lieberman (D-Conn.), who is likely to seek the
Democratic presidential nomination.
The president and his allies counter that the pack-
age will spur consumer and business spending,
expanding the economy and helping the govern-
ment's budget figures.
Bush outlined his economic plan three weeks
before his State of the Union address, which is
expected to focus on terrorism and the potential
war in Iraq. Tax cuts are the centerpiece of his
domestic policy agenda, but Bush also is laying
plans to overhaul the Medicare and Social Secu-
The economic package's first-year cost of $102
billion would equal about 1 percent of the country's
$10 trillion annual gross domestic product. That is
within the range of what most economists say is
needed to stimulate the economy, though they differ
on whether tax cuts or government spending should
dominate the package.
Part of the reason for the high price tag is that
Bush sought to touch all his political bases - from
the conservatives who are calling for across-the-
board tax cuts to the broader range of middle-class
voters who tend to sway presidential elections and to
important constituencies such as senior citizens and
small business owners.
In the final weeks of an intense internal debate,
Bush cast aside the advice of his more cautious aides
and offered a package twice the size that Congress
was told to expect. He decided to ask lawmakers to
eliminate taxes on stock dividends - not just cut
them - and to include the highest income rate in his
Some presidential advisers feared cutting taxes to
the wealthiest Americans would pose a political
problem. Bush settled on a strategy to confront the
"The president does not believe in punishing peo-
ple because they are successful," White House
spokesman Ari Fleischer said aboard Air Force One
en route to the address. "The president does not
believe in getting into class warfare."
That's just what Democrats accused him of doing.
"He's speaking the rhetoric working Ameri-
cans are so eager to hear, but offering only
words to distract from his big, new tax breaks
for the wealthiest Americans," said Sen. John
Kerry of Massachusetts, another Democratic
YoungPalestinians banned from work
Israel banned Palestinians younger than 35 from entering the country to work
yesterday - even if they have permits - the latest punitive measure after a dou-
ble Palestinian suicide bombing in Tel Aviv killed 22 bystanders.
Israel also drew complaints from Britain by banning Palestinian negotiators
from attending a London session planned for discussing reform in the Palestinian
The Israeli government has said it would close three Palestinian universities in
response to the attacks, but took no action yesterday.
A splinter of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, linked to Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the two bombings in Tel Aviv,
and Israel blamed Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.
Though the Palestinian leadership denounced the attack, the deadliest inside
Israel since March, Israel enacted measures aimed at Palestinian officials, ban-
ning them from leaving the country.
Britain had announced it would host Palestinian, European and U.N. rep-
resentatives at a conference Jan. 13-14 to discuss administrative reforms in
Arafat's regime. After angry exchanges, Israel and Britain appeared to be
trying to defuse the disagreement, with Britain expressing the hope that
Israel would lift the ban.
U.S. builds new Persian Gulf command post
The U.S. battle staff that would run a war against Iraq has begun assembling at a
Persian Gulf command post linked to air, land, naval and special operations com-
manders in the region, officials said yesterday.
The same Central Command planners were at the post, called Camp As
Sayliyah, last month for a weeklong exercise before returning to their permanent
headquarters in Florida, but this time it is not an exercise.
They are positioning themselves to kick off any military action against Iraq that
President Bush should deem necessary, although officials stressed that the move-
ment does not mean war is imminent or inevitable.
Meanwhile, Britain ordered a task force of ships and 3,000 Royal Marines to
head toward the Gulf and mobilized 1,500 reserve soldiers, joining the United
States in increasing military pressure on Saddam Hussein.
And in France, where there has been less support for Bush's war talk,
President Jacques Chirac told French troops to be prepared for deployment
if Baghdad does not comply with U.N. orders to eliminate weapons pro-
Daschle not to
WASHINGTON - Senate Democ- leaning in the direction of offering my
ratic leader Tom Daschle said yester- candidacy for president."
day he will not run for president, even Associates say his wife and other
as some staff members were preparing family members had been upbeat
for a weekend announcement of a race about a White House run. He talked
for the White House. with his family Monday night about
"I'm not going to run for presi- his pending decision.
dent because my passion is right "I've been coming to a point where I
here," Daschle said during a brief- could make a decision for several
ing about the new session of Con- weeks," Daschle said. "But my family
gress. "I must say I feel as good and I made the decision in the last 24
about this decision as any I've ever hours."
made. I'm very honored and grati- Daschle's announcement means
fied to have the opportunity to be the current field for the 2004 party
Democratic leader." nomination consists of fellow Sens.
The 55-year-old South Dakota law- John Kerry of Massachusetts and
maker said he will run for re-election John Edwards of North Carolina,
to the Senate in 2004. He also said he along with outgoing Vermont Gov.
may consider running for president in Howard Dean and Rep. Dick
the future. Gephardt of Missouri. Sen. Joseph
Daschle had talked enthusiastically Lieberman of Connecticut is
about such a race recently, including expected to enter the race but has
Sunday night in his home state when not announced a final decision. And
he said after a meeting with con- the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York
stituents: "I think it's fair to say I'm has said he plans to run.
Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle of South Dakota yesterday
made a surprise announcement that he will not run for the
Democratic presidential nomination.
N. Korea urged to renounce weapons
Ricin finding linked
to al-Qaida terrorists
Police said yesterday they found
traces of ricin - a deadly poison
twice as potent as cobra venom -
in a north London apartment and
arrested six men of North African
origin in connection with the viru-
lent toxin that has been linked to al-
Qaida terrorists and Iraq.
London police said material
seized at a flat in the Wood Green
neighborhood on Sunday had tested
positive yesterday for traces of the
toxin, tiny amounts of which can kill
an adult. There is no antidote.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking
to a meeting of British ambassadors,
said the find highlights the threat posed
by weapons of mass destruction.
"As the arrests ... show, this danger
is present and real, and with us now,
and its potential is huge," he said.
Ricin is derived from the castor
bean plant, which is grown around
SAN JOSE, Calif.
State loses contact
with sex offenders
California has lost track of more than
33,000 convicted sex offenders, despite
a law requiring rapists and child moles-
ters to register each year for inclusion
in the Megan's Law database.
"We don't know where they are,"
acknowledged Margaret Moore, who
until recently ran California's sex
Sex offenders are not checking in with
law enforcement, which in most cases is a
felony. And many overworked police
departments are not following up. Experts
say sex offender databases nationwide
have fallen short of their promise.
"It's not only in California," said
Laura Ahearn, executive director of
Parents for Megan's Law, a national
victims' rights group. "We're expecting
sex offenders to be reporting their
addresses and that's the problem."
Radio hosts play trick
on Venezuelan leader
Two radio hosts known for playing
pranks on the air called Venezuela's pres-
ident and used tape recordings of Fidel
Castro to get him to believe he was talk-
ing to the Cuban leader.
Venezuelan Information Minister Nora
Uribe confirmed yesterday that the call
occurred. She said President Hugo
Chavez "caught on and hung up."
But a recording provided by the
Cuban-American radio announcers has
Chavez, who is struggling to end a
month-old national strike by opponents,
talking for about two minutes. He happi-
ly answered what he thought would be a
friendly call Monday morning from Cas-
tro, one of his closest allies.
On the other end of the line were
WXDJ-FM disc jockeys Joe Ferrero
and Enrique Santos.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Standing in neat
rows on a snow-covered plaza, tens of thousands of
North Koreans rallied yesterday in Pyongyang call-
ing for a stronger military. The communist state said
U.S. economic sanctions against it would lead to war.
North Korea's saber-rattling came hours before
the United States, Japan and South Korea agreed
to urge Pyongyang to renounce its nuclear
weapons programs if it wanted better ties with
the rest of the world.
The three allies have stressed a peaceful resolution
of the rising tensions - a stance President Bush reit-
"In this case, I believe, working with countries in
the region, diplomacy will work," Bush said, speak-
ing in Chicago on economic policy. "We have no
aggressive intentions, no argument with the North
Korean people. We're interested in peace in the Kore-
But North Korea's rhetoric, broadcast to the world.
through its official Korean Central News Agency,
"Sanctions mean a war, and the war knows no
mercy," the KCNA, monitored in Seoul, declared
In the North Korean capital, more than 100,000 peo-
ple in dark overcoats and caps attended a state-orches-
trated rally and vowed to "exert utmost efforts to
increase the national defense capacity," the KCNA said.
Braving icy cold weather, the demonstrators shook
clenched fists against the backdrop of white-and-red
communist slogans, according to KCNA photo-
graphs carried by South Korea's Yonhap news
In Washington, the U.S. State Department
announced yesterday that the United States is willing
to talk to North Korea but will not make concessions
to freeze Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.
Winding up two days of talks with South Korea
and Japan, a statement approved by all three govern-
ments endorsed dialogue with North Korea as a use-
ful vehicle for resolving serious issues.
To follow up on the trilateral talks that began Mon-
day, South Korea's national security adviser, Yim
Sung-joon, left for Washington on Tuesday to meet
his U.S. counterpart, Condoleezza Rice. From Wash-
ington, Yim will travel to Tokyo for more talks.
Later this week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
James Kelly will travel to Seoul.
On Monday, the U.N. International Atomic Energy
Agency gave North Korea a second chance to aban-
don its suspected weapons programs - stopping
short of referring the matter to the U.N. Security
Council and effectively delaying the possibility of
President Bush reaffirmed that the United States
has "no intention of invading North Korea," but
urged North Korea to permit international monitor-
ing of its nuclear facilities.
Welcoming the IAEA decision, South Korea's For-
eign Ministry yesterday urged North Korea not to
miss a "precious chance" to resolve the issue "diplo-
matically and peacefully."
Congress renews plan
aiding unemployed for
13 additional weeks
comparing Allegra to placebo
in the treatment of asthma
You may be eligible for the study if you are:
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" 18-80 years old
" Use of an albuterol or similar inhaler
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+ Study-related assessments and study medication
at no charge
+ Blood testing for allergies at no charge
WASHINGTON - Pausing barely
long enough to take the oath of
office, the new Republican-con-
trolled Congress hastened toward
passage of unemployment assistance
for victims of the sagging economy
yesterday, working with unusual
speed on a day customarily set aside
for ceremony and socializing.
"First bill, passed it," said Sen. Bill
Frist (R-Tenn.), the newly minted major-
ity leader, shortly after the Senate
approved the bill to restore lapsed bene-
fits despite complaints from Democrats
it didn't go far enough. Across the Capi-
tol, Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said
the House would clear the measure for
President Bush's signature in a day or
two, ensuring no disruption of benefits
for those currently receiving them.
The legislation, estimated to cost
$7.2 billion, would renew a program
of 13 weeks of federal benefits for
jobless workers who have exhausted
their 26 weeks of state benefits. The
13-week program expired on Dec.
28, but administration officials say
the benefits can continue uninter-
rupted as long as Bush signs legisla-
tion to renew them by tomorrow.
Officials said an estimated 750,000
people are affected, plus an addi-
tional 1.6 million who are expected
estimated to cost
$7.2 billion, would
renew a program of
13 weeks of federal
benefits for jobless
workers who have
exhausted their 26
weeks of state
moned congressional leaders from
both parties and both chambers to the
White House for a meeting this after-
noon on the work ahead.
With the Senate in Republican
hands, Bush also resubmitted 31 judi-
cial nominations, including two that
were at the center of pitched political
battles in 2002. U.S. District Judge
Charles Pickering of Mississippi and
Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla
Owen were blocked from confirmation
to the federal appeals courts by votes
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