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February 20, 2003 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-02-20

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 20, 2003


302 Iranians die in plane crash




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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - An Iranian military
plane carrying 302 members of the elite Revolu-
tionary Guards crashed in the mountains of
southeastern Iran yesterday, killing all on board
in the country's worst plane crash ever, state-run
media reported.
The plane was en route from Zahedan, on the
Pakistan border, to Kerman, about 500 miles
southeast of Tehran, state-run Tehran television
reported. It crashed in a mountainous area about
20 miles from its destination.
The Russian-made Antonov airliner operated
by the Iranian military lost contact with the con-
trol tower at 5:30 p.m. yesterday, according to the
The official Islamic Republic News Agency
said rescuers had reached the crash site and that
all 302 people on board had been killed, making
the crash the deadliest in Iran's history. The death
toll surpassed the 290 killed on July 3, 1988,
when an Iran Air A300 Airbus was shot down
over the Persian Gulf by the USS Vincennes.
The agency said the plane's passengers and
crew were all members of the Revolutionary
Guards. Earlier reports said 270 were aboard, but

Yesterday's crash was the
latest in a string of air
disasters in Iran mostly
involving Russian-built
the latest media updates didn't explain the
State television and radio did not offer reasons
for the crash and did not address the possibility
of terrorism. There was heavy snowfall in many
parts of Iran yesterday, including in Zahedan,
which hadn't seen snow in three years.
Associated Press efforts to reach provincial
officials were unsuccessful early today.
Tehran television quoted an anonymous official
as saying the forces had visited the impoverished
Sistan-Baluchestan province, of which Zahedan
is the capital, for an "important mission."

The Revolutionary Guards, under the direct
control of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, are seen as the defenders of Iran's
Islamic regime. The guards protect Iran's borders
and defend ruling hard-liners in this ultra-conser-
vative society.
The government issued a statement offering
condolences to the families of the victims, televi-
sion and radio reports said.
Iranians were preparing for an Islamic holiday
today, the feast of Velayat, when Shiites believe
Islam's prophet Muhammad appointed his son-in-
law, Ali, as his successor.
Yesterday's crash was the latest in a string of
air disasters in Iran mostly involving Russian-
built aircraft.
A Ukrainian An-140 aircraft flew into a moun-
tainside Dec. 23, 2002, while preparing to land at
an airport near the central city of Isfahan, killing
all the estimated 46 scientists aboard.
In February 2002, a Russian-made Tupolev Tu-
154 airliner, carrying 119 people, smashed into
snow-covered mountains not far from its destina-
tion of Khorramabad, 230 miles southwest of

ANKARA, Turkey
U.S., Turkey fail to reach compromise
The United States failed again yesterday to secure Turkish consent to deploy
U.S. forces needed for a northern front against Iraq, as U.S. ships loaded with
tanks and other armor awaited orders in the Mediterranean.
Secretary of State Colin Powell called Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul
yesterday after a Turkish Cabinet meeting ended with no decision, and a top Turk-
ish leader said there were no plans for parliament to take up the issue until at least
next week.
In Brussels, Belgium, NATO approved the urgent deployment of AWACS radar
aircraft, Patriot missiles and chemical-biological response units to protect Turkey.
NATO also ordered experts to report on how the alliance could assist Turkish
civilians if there were an Iraqi attack, such as by repairing damaged water and
power networks.
But Turkish support for an Iraq operation was in question, stalemated over
demands for a reported $30 billion in loans and aid before Turkey will let U.S.
soldiers deploy against neighboring Iraq.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of Turkey's ruling party, said after a Cabinet
meeting that there had been "no positive" outcome in negotiations with the Unit-
ed States.
Gephardt enters crowded presidential race
Rep. Dick Gephardt, a 26-year veteran of Congress who failed to return
Democrats to power in the House, announced his candidacy for president yester-
day with a broad attack on Bush administration policies he said "left us isolated in
the world, and stranded here at home."
Entering a crowded Democratic field, the Missouri lawmaker promised to repeal
Bush's tax cuts and use the savings to deliver health insurance to "everyone who
works in America." He accused Bush of pursuing "the economics of debt and regret."
Gephardt also sought to distinguish himself from lesser-known Democratic
rivals by embracing his long record in politics. "I think experience matters," he
said in a text of his address. "It's what our nation needs right now"
"I'm not the political flavor of the month. I'm not the flashiest candidate around,"
said Gephardt, whose 1988 presidential campaign fizzled after winning the Democ-
ratic caucuses in Iowa. "But the fight for working families is in my bones."
Surrounded by friends and family in the gymnasium at his former elementary
school, Gephardt said, "Here in the home of my values, here at the heart of the Amer-
ican dream, I announce my candidacy for the president of the United States."


given 15 years

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) - A
Moroccan student was convicted
yesterday of more than 3,000 counts
of accessory to murder for helping
Mohamed Atta and two other sui-
cide pilots in the Sept. 11 attacks on
the United States, ending the first
trial connected to the suicide
Mounir el Motassadeq was sentenced
to the maximum 15 years in prison for
helping the Hamburg-based al-Qaida
terror cell that included Atta, the lead
hijacker and two other suicide pilots.
In addition to the 3,045 counts of
accessory to murder, he was convicted
of five counts of attempted murder and
bodily injury. El Motassadeq denied the
charges during his 3 1/2-month trial, and
his lawyers had demanded acquittal.
Judge Albrecht Mentz sided with
the prosecutors' argument that a com-
plex mosaic of evidence proved the
Continued from Page 1A
failing health, the prosecution allow a
deposition between Fishman and Mar-
tin to take place. But the government
refused to allow Fishman to question
their star witness, hoping that Martin's
health would hold up until July.
Corbett said that a deposition is usual-
ly a "discovery tool" for the defendants.
"We operated on what was the best
decision to make at the time," he said..
Corbett said he did not know
whether the next hearing, scheduled
for Feb. 26, would be adjourned.
Fishman could not be reached for
Martin, a retired Ford autoworker,
pleaded guilty last May for using the
proceeds from his illegal gambling
ring to loan four University basketball

defendant was "a cog that kept the
machinery going."
"The accused belonged to this group
since its inception," Mentz said in read-
ing the verdict. "He knew and approved
the key elements of the planned attacks."
El Motassadeq has acknowledged
knowing six other alleged members of
the Hamburg cell - Atta and two
other suicide pilots, Ziad Jarrah and
Marwan al-Shehhi; and organizers
Ramzi Binalshibh, Said Bahaji and
Zakariya Essabar. But he says he knew
nothing of their plans.
A slight, bearded man, El Motassadeq
sat between his lawyers and showed no
emotion as the verdict was read.
Prosecutors allege el Motassadeq
used his power of attorney over al-She-
hhi's bank account to pay rent, tuition
and utility bills, allowing the plotters to
keep up the appearance of being normal
students in Germany.
players a total of $616,000 before and
during their playing days at the Univer-
sity. As part of a plea bargain, Martin
agreed to help prosecutors in the Web-
ber investigation, as well as the
NCAA's investigation of the Universi-
ty's basketball program. Martin con-
firmed he gave Webber $280,000 from
Webber, his father, Mayce, and his
aunt,'Charlene Johnson, were indicted
in September on charges of obstruction
of justice and lying to a federal grand
jury in August 2000. The grand jury
was investigating Martin's illegal
involvement in a lottery centered
around Detroit-area auto plants. Web-
ber and his family members are
accused of lying about the money Web-
ber received from Martin while he was
in high school at Birmingham Detroit
Country Day and at the University.
Continued from Page 1A
typical American venues, such as
McDonald's, and not wear Universi-
ty or other noticeably American
Emory's students in London
received directions to a University
safe haven in the city in the event of
an emergency.
But most exchange students agree
that they continue to feel safe in
Yodkovik said that overall, she
has not experienced any major
problems being an American in
Wilion said she has not taken
extra steps to ensure her personal
"I'm avoiding large groups and
going to certain places, but I can't
say I'm taking any more precau-
tions than I normally do," she said.
But Golshani said that at times,
she has had to suppress her political
opinions around Europeans, espe-
cially her support for the war and
"There are some things in Ameri-
ca you would talk about, but here,
they're just a lot more closed off
about it," she said.
"I am not open with what my
political beliefs are."
Continued from Page IA
Abriola, a University faculty
member since 1984, specializes in
the study of groundwater contami-
She won the Outstanding Educator
Award from the Association for
Women Geoscientists in 1996 and
was designated the Darcy Distin-
guished Lecturer of the National
Grnind Water Anciation.

Rejected theories for
shuttle crash renewedf
In the days after Columbia'st
destruction, NASA officials were
adamant: No way could a piece of<
foam have caused that kind of dam-
age. No way did ice or metal come'
off the fuel tank. No way was the
left wing breached.I
All that - and more - is back on
the table and under the microscope,<
now that an investigation board is call-
ing the shots.I
In the 2 1/2 weeks since Columbia
shattered 38 miles above Texas, both
NASA managers and board members
have cautioned that the investigation
is in continual flux, with, new infor-.
,mation turning up all the time. Yester-j
day, NASA said the shuttle's noset
landing gear was found in the eastl
Texas woods.
But it is the board thatlias empha-
sized that everything is under consider-
ation, no matter how seeminglyt
irrelevant or obscure or unimaginable.1
SEOUL, South Korea<
Activity at N. Korean
site alanns analysts
In the past month, U.S. spy satellitest
have detected smoke rising from the
once shuttered buildings clusteredi
around a loop of North Korea's Kury-
ong River. Trucks arrived and depart-4
ed, and workers bustled.<
The Yongbyon Nuclear Center is onel
of the most heavily guarded areas in one
of the world's most secretive nations, and
it is the focal point of rising tensions over

North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
American analysts aren't sure what is
going on there, and some South Korean
experts think the North is staging phony
activity as a bargaining chip in its effort
to get Washington to sign a nonaggres-
sion treaty. But the increased movement
at the site 50 miles north of the capital,
Pyongyang, has increased anxiety over
the North's intentions.
Neighboring nations worry the North
may be resuming its program to produce
nuclear weapons, fearing that could bring
an arms race in the region or even war.
Federal aid to Sept. 11
victims rife with fraud
A $,10 million federal prqgrgm to
reimburse New Yorkers for air condi-
tioners, filters, vacuums and other air-
purifying tools after the World Trade
Center collapse is rife with fraud and
abuse, government officials say.
As many as 90 percent of the more
than 219,000 applications for reim-
bursement were filed by people not suf-
fering from the effects of contaminated
air, according to estimates from federal
They say fraud has taken several
forms: Some people have manipulated
the program to score a free air condi-
tioner, while con artists have posed as
federal employees and sold air-purify-
ing items to residents.
About $45.8 million has been paid
out so far, and while many applications
are legitimate, officials said millions
have been paid to people scamming the
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.


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