2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 26, 2002
Palestinians call off truce talks
JERUSALEM (AP) - Palestinians called off talks
set for yesterday to end a weeklong Israeli siege of
Yasser Arafat's office in the West Bank town of
Ramallah, complaining that Israel would not allow
international negotiators to meet Arafat first.
Israel maintained its grip on the ravaged com-
pound while easing curfew restrictions in other parts
of Ramallah, defying a U.N. Security Council resolu-
tion and pressure from the United States, Europe and
the Arab world to pull back.
One consequence of the siege is a halt to efforts to
reform Arafat's regime, said a top official, Mahmoud
Abbas. Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, is Arafat's
deputy and has been mentioned as a possible prime
minister if the Palestinians decide to appoint one to
take over some of Arafat's duties in the framework of
But Abbas said there can be no talk of reforms
"while our president is under such cruel and unprece-
dented aggression." Abbas told The Associated Press
that he has been meeting with other reform-minded
Palestinians, but they have discussed only how to end
Israel, Europe and the United States have joined
many Palestinians in demanding reforms in Arafat's
unwieldy and corrupt regime.
Israel sent tanks and bulldozers into Arafat's com-
pound last Thursday after a Palestinian suicide
bomber blew up a Tel Aviv bus, killing himself and
six other people.
On Monday, the U.N. Security Council passed a
resolution demanding that Israel end the siege, pull
its forces back toward the lines they held before vio-
lence erupted two years ago, while condemning
attacks on civilians and calling on the Palestinians to
put those responsible for terror attacks on trial.
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said Israel
cannot carry out the resolution "because the other
part will not be fulfilled," charging that Palestinian
security forces are not stopping militants from carry-
ing out attacks.
However, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-
Eliezer, like Peres a member of the moderate Labor
Party, set a different condition for ending the block-
ade, demanding the surrender of 19 terror suspects in
Arafat's office. "The rest are not important," he told
Israel has changed its demands several times,
according to the Palestinians. Until Ben-Eliezer
spoke, Israel was saying it would not withdraw from
the compound until about 200 people holed up inside;
surrender, among them 50 allegedly involved in
attacks on Israelis, including Palestinian intelligence
chief Tawfik Tirawi.
Tirawi denied the allegations in an interview with
the Israeli daily Maariv and vowed not to surrender.
"Yasser Arafat and I will fight to the last minute,"
Ben-Eliezer said talks were underway to resolve
the standoff, but Palestinians canceled a meeting
with Israeli officials set for yesterday because Israel
refused to allow representatives of the so-called
Quartet to meet with Arafat first.
NEWS IN BRIEF
YAMOUSSOUKRO, Ivory Coast
U.S. forces rescue children in Africa
American schoolchildren waving U.S. flags evacuated a rebel-held city under
French military escort yesterday, as U.S. special forces landed in this West
African nation to help rescue Westerners caught in its deadliest uprising.
The convoy of 10 to 12 cars left rebel-held Bouake bound for Yamoussoukro,
40 miles to the south, where U.S. special forces in C-130s arrived hours earlier
to receive them.
The children swung American flags out windows of the cars as the con-
voy headed to safety down the region's main road, after a new night of spo-
radic gunfire outside the International Christian Academy.
Many of the children wore T-shirts sporting American flags. Some of the
youngsters leaned out the windows to yell "Vive la France!" at another
French convoy headed the other way, into Bouake.
About 100 American children ages 5 to 18 attend the mission boarding
school in Bouake, intended for sons and daughters of missionaries based
across Africa. Another 60 children also attend the school, which has a staff
of 40, most of whom are American. About 100 well-armed French troops had
moved into the whitewashed compound early yesterday, securing the school after
rebel forces breached the walls two days earlier to fire out from its grounds.
Gunmen kill 7 at Karachi organization N b allowshospitals to refuse abortion
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) -
Gunmen entered the offices of a
Christian welfare organization in the
southern port city of Karachi on
yesterday, tied workers to their
chairs and shot each in the head,
officials said. At least seven people
were killed and another was critical-
The shooting was the latest in a
string of violent attacks against
Christians and Westerners, who
have been increasingly targeted
since Pakistani President Gen. Per-
vez Musharraf's decision to crack
down on Islamic extremist groups
and join the U.S. war against the
Taliban and al-Qaida in neighboring
"Today's incident shows that the
government has failed to protect
us," said Bishop Victor Mall, head
of the Diocese Church of Pakistan
in Multan, an area in Punjab
province that has spawned a number
of militant Muslim groups.
"People in our community now
feel more insecure," he said. "Our
people are being killed."
The killings took place at the
third-floor offices of the Institute
for Peace and Justice, or Idara-e-
Amn-o-Insaf, a Pakistani Christian
charity that does work in the city.
Victims were tied up in chairs
with their hands behind their backs
and their mouths taped before being
shot point-blank in the head,
according to Karachi Police Chief
All seven of the dead were Pak-
istani Christians, contradicting ear-
lier police reports that three of the
victims were Muslim. One worker
who survived the attack later died in
a hospital, police said.
It was not clear who was behind
Shah said police found eight
empty shell casings, one for each of
those shot. He said five of the dead
were found seated in a main room at
the office, and the sixth was tied to
a chair in the bathroom. He said
police are questioning an office
assistant who was tied up and beat-
en by the attackers, but not shot.
Police want to know how the gun-
men got into the office, which had
an electronic door that could only
be opened from the inside. The
office assistant has told police there
were two gunmen involved in the
shooting, Shah said.
By late morning, hundreds of
police had cordoned off the 13-story
building in a central business dis-
trict of Karachi.
A female relative of one of the
victims arrived at the office, sob-
bing and beating herself in anguish
before being led away by police.
The House passed a bill yesterday that would let hospitals and insurance com-
panies refuse to perform or pay for abortions without forfeiting Medicare and
other federal funding.
Anti-abortion activists hailed the 229-189 vote as a key action that would shield
Catholic hospitals and other health providers that oppose abortion. Supporters of
abortion rights accused conservatives of attempting to scale back women's access
to the procedure.
The debate provoked strong emotions among lawmakers.
"The question before us is not the question of abortion," said Rep. Todd Akin,
(R-Mo). "The question is whether we protect the various health care organiza-
tions, whether we want to protect their right to have a choice, to even have an
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) countered: "This bill is not about religious free-
dom or protecting the right of conscience. This bill is simply about making it
harder for women."
The Bush administration earlier in the day offered its support.
Wanna go to the Biggest
Party of the
Effect of war on
Th.e rising drumbeat of war
against Iraq is taking 'a toll on the
U.S. economy. Oil prices are climb-
ing, consumer confidence is falling
and Wall Street is suffering stom-
With the economy still struggling
to emerge from last year's recession,
there is growing concern that the
potential adverse effects from a war
with Iraq could push the country
into another downturn.
Much will depend, economists say,
on how the fighting unfolds. A quick
U.S. victory, they believe, would likely
translate into a quick retreat in oil
And the end to the uncertainty over
the war's outcome should help bolster
consumer and business confidence.
These developments probably would
mean an invasion of Iraq would have
little long-lasting effect on the U.S.
GOP collects $8
million at fundraiser
President Bush raised at least $8 mil-
lion last night for Republican Senate
candidates, adding to a GOP fund-rais-
ing lead that has left Senate Democrats
at a 2-to-1 cash disadvantage heading
into the final month before the election.
The Republican reserves - roughly
$34 million for the Senate GOP com-
mittee and $42 million for the Repub-
lican National Committee as
September began - will let the party
pump money into last-minute get-the-
vote drives and advertising campaigns
in tight races around the country that
could decide control of Congress.
Though Democrats control the
Senate for the first time in three
election cycles, party officials
acknowledge they'll be forced to
make tough choices down the stretch
on where to spend money.
"Could they (Republicans) go out
and buy a lot more TV ads right in the
last 10 days? Sure, they'd probably be
able to," Democratic National Commit-
tee chairman Terry McAuliffe said.
bill encounters snag
The White House yesterday strongly
denounced a proposed compromise on
the Homeland Security Department
bill, leaving the Senate tied in knots
over President Bush's demand for more
powers to hire, fire and deploy the pro-
posed agency's workers.
The proposal by Sen. Lincoln Chafee
(R-R.I.) and Democratic Sens. John
Breaux of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of
Nebraska would reduce the president's
existing ability to exempt workers from
union agreements in matters of national
security, White House spokesman Ari
Fleischer told reporters.
"The proposal is a rollback and a
restriction at a time when the presi-
dent needs flexibility and the authori-
ty to fight terror," Fleischer said. "It
has been described as a compromise.
It is not."
The proposal, which appeared to
command enough votes to pass, would
give Bush much of the flexibility he
wants to set up a new personnel system.
- Compileaffrom Daily wire reports.
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