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March 20, 2003 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-20

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


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U.S. troops
search for
al-Qaida in
sudden raid
BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AP) -
About 1,000 U.S. troops launched a
raid on villages in southeastern
Afghanistan today, hunting for
members of the al-Qaida terrorist
network in the biggest U.S. opera-
tion in just over a year, military
officials said.
Helicopters ferried troops from
the Army's 82nd Airborne Division
to the remote, mountainous area as
the hunt for Osama bin Laden and
his terror network intensified,
according to U.S. military officials
in Washington.
Military officials in Afghanistan
confirmed the operation was underway,
but would provide no details.
"I do not have anything to say about
the Kandahar operation at this time,"
said Col. Roger King, U.S. army
spokesman at the U.S. headquarters at
The troops left from their base in
Kandahar, the former Taliban strong-
hold in southern Afghanistan.
Radio transmissions had been
detected coming from caves above the
villages, said military officials in
It was the largest U.S. military oper-
ation in Afghanistan since Operation
Anaconda just over a year ago. That
eight-day battle involved hundreds of
Taliban and al-Qaida fighters against
thousands of American and allied
Afghan troops.
There have been a series of raids
on both sides of the Afghanistan-
Pakistan border in the weeks since
authorities captured al-Qaida's No. 3
figure, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,
in Pakistan on March 1. Authorities
have said Mohammed is giving
information to U.S. interrogators and
have said some of the subsequent
arrests came as a result of
Mohammed's capture.
Mohammed, an alleged mastermind
of the Sept. I1 terrorist attacks in the
United States, is being interrogated by
American officials at an undisclosed
The agents who captured him in a
suburb of Islamabad found computers,
mobile telephones, documents and
other evidence that could help lead to
other al-Qaida members.
There have been increased attacks
on Afghan government posts in south-
ern Afghanistan in recent weeks. The
authorities have blamed remnants of
Taliban, al-Qaida and loyalists of Gul-
buddin Hekmatyar, a renegade rebel
commander labeled a terrorist by the
United States.
of Cuban
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - A Cuban
airliner carrying 29 passengers was
hijacked last night and landed under
U.S. military escort in Key West, U.S.
authorities said.

Six hijackers took over the plane and
surrendered to authorities in Key West,
said FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela
in Miami.
She did not know if any of the
hijackers, passengers or six crew
members were hurt.
"All I have right now is that it was
resolved," Orihuela said.
Air Force fighter jets were sent
from Homestead Air Force Base,
and escorted the Douglas DC-3 to
Key West International Airport. offi-
cials said.
Air traffic controllers at Miami
International Airport spotted the
plane on radar about 7:45 p.m. and
were unable to make voice contact,
said FAA spokeswoman Kathleen
The aircraft landed a little after 8
p.m., and the passengers were
released about a half hour later,
Bergen said.
The plane originated from the Isle
of Youth, off the main island's
southern coast, Bergen said.
It was still on the runway more than
an hour after it landed, said sheriff's
spokeswoman Becky Herrin.
The alleged hijackers were in FBI
custody and the passengers were being
interviewed by U.S. Customs agents,
she said.
"The hijackers were separated fairly
quickly from the passengers and crew.


Standoff with angry
fanner ends in peace
The farmer who drove his tractor
into a pond near the National Mall
and threatened to set off explosives
surrendered yesterday after a 48-
hour standoff that snarled rush-hour
commutes and kept some monu-
ments off limits'to tourists.
Dwight Watson, who was protest-
ing farm policies he said were forc-
ing him out of his family's
tobacco-farming business, was taken
into custody at about midday. No
explosives or weapons were found in
a preliminary search of both the
tractor and the Jeep he had aban-
doned in the large pond in Constitu-
tion Gardens, a federal park east of
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
U.S. Park Police planned to con-
suit with federal prosecutors on
potential charges against the 50-
year-old Watson of Whitakers, N.C.
thorities may decide to seek a psy-
chiatric exam.
11 cases of mystery
illness found in U.S.
Health officials said yesterday that
11 suspected cases of a mysterious flu-
like illness have emerged in the United
States, while on the other side of the
world, medical investigators continue
to puzzle over how the illness spread
in a Hong Kong hotel.
Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention chief Julie Gerberding said

Senate rejects drilling in Alaska park
The Senate yesterday narrowly rejected oil drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge,
rebuffing the Bush administration on a top energy goal it had hoped to win with a
wartime security appeal.
Despite intense lobbying by pro-drilling senators and the White House in
the hours leading up to the vote, Democrats mustered the support needed to
remove a drilling provision from a budget resolution expected to be approved
later this week.
An amendment offered by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to strip away the pro-
vision passed 52-48.
Development of the millions of barrels of oil beneath the 100-mile coastal
plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska has been a
key part of President Bush's energy plan. Environmentalists contended drilling
there would jeopardize a pristine area valued for its wildlife.
All but five Democrats voted against refuge drilling. There were eight
Republicans who joined the Democrats in favor of barring oil companies
from the refuge.
With one or two senators holding the balance, both sides stepped up their lob-
bying to try to sway anyone thinking of shifting.
Recorder could hold clues about Columbia
In what could be one of the most significant debris discoveries yet from the
shattered Columbia, searchers found a data recorder that may hold valuable clues
as to what destroyed the space shuttle, the accident investigation board said yester-
day night.
A spokeswoman for the board, Laura Brown, said the ship's recorder was intact
but sustained some heat damage. Officials are hoping that temperature and aero-
dynamic pressure data can be retrieved from its magnetic tape, she said.
Brown compared the recorder to an airplane's black box.
"We have no way of knowing whether the data can be recovered," she said. But
she added that if it can, "it will give us, hopefully, a lot of information about what
was going on with the orbiter."
The recorder was discovered near Hemphill, Texas, and was being sent to John-
son Space Center for analysis. Officials said they believe it was found yesterday.
The discovery was all the more thrilling for NASA and the investigation
board because it had been days since any major pieces of the shuttle had
been found.



the suspected U.S. cases are people
who recently traveled to Asia and later
developed fever and respiratory prob-
lems, matching definitions for the
mystery illness, called "severe acute
respiratory syndrome" or SARS.
The illness, for which there is no
treatment, has caused 14 deaths,
including five who died months earlier
in China.
The worldwide number of cases,
including the 11 suspect U.S. cases,
now totals 264, according to the World
Health Organization.
Study: Binge eating
influenced by gene
Binge-eaters who say they can't help
it may be right.
A study suggests a weak gene, not
feeble willpower, may be the cause
for some. people. The research may
point the way to a future pill to tame
their appetites.
The joint Swiss-German-Ameri-
can study makes the strongest case
yet that genetic mistakes can cause
an eating disorder, researchers say.
Traditionally, eating behavior has
been viewed as complex and cultural
in its causes.
"Willpower is not always impor-
tant to reduce weight. Some people
can by willpower. Some cannot, and
I think these patients have a hard
time," said Fritz Horber, the leader
of the binge-eating study at the
Hirslanden Clinic in Zurich,
-- Compiled from Daily wire reports.


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