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November 06, 2002 - Image 2

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4

2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 6, 2002

NATION/WORLD

Sharon announces early elections

JERUSALEM (AP) - A reluctant
Ariel Sharon yesterday called early
elections for Jan. 28 after the breakup
of his fractious coalition, sending
Israel into a tempestuous campaign
that threatens further instability in the
Mideast at a time of a possible con-
frontation with Iraq.
The surprise move also brought
Sharon's archrival for Likud leader-
ship, Benjamin Netanyahu, back into
government as temporary foreign min-
ister. Netanyahu said he will challenge
Sharon for the party leadership in a
primary to be held within weeks.
The winner of that struggle will face
the Labor Party leader in the general
election. One of the issues on the table
then will be how to approach the Pales-
tinians, whether to emphasize negotia-
tion or war and whether to expel Arafat.
Yesterday Netanyahu reiterated his
long-standing view that Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat should be expelled
and said the explusion could come dur-
ing a U.S. strike against Iraq.
"I think the most appropriate time
will be when Saddam Hussein is
thrown out," Netanyahu told Israel TV
"I think that will be possible."
The dramatic political developments
underscored the growing political
volatility in Israel, which has had five
prime ministers in seven years.
Sharon's coalition lasted only 20
months, despite his aim to hang on
until next October, the originally
scheduled election date.
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Sharon flip-flopped over 24 hours,
saying Monday -it would be irresponsi-
ble to hold early elections, and
announcing yesterday he was dissolv-
ing parliament because he was unable
to set up a stable coalition after the
departure of the moderate Labor Party.
Sharon accused Labor of "political
caprice" by bolting over Sharon's
refusal to cut funding to Jewish settle-
ments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Palestinian reaction was muted. "We
hope the Israeli people will elect a
government that can deliver peace,"
said Cabinet minister Saeb Ereket.
The elections could well be influ-
enced by the Palestinian militant
groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad,
which boasted yesterday their bombing
and shooting attacks on Israelis led to
Sharon's downfall.
In the past, suicide bombing cam-
paigns by Palestinian militants strenght-
ened Israel's hawkish right. Both Hamas
and Islamic Jihad vowed to continue
such attacks during the race.
"Sharon's failure is one of the
achievements of the uprising," said
Ismail Abu Shanab, a Hamas leader in
the Gaza Strip.
On Monday, an Islamic Jihad
bomber killed himself and two Israelis
in a shopping mall in central Israel -
and Hamas said there would be more
attacks during the election campaign.
The violence has pushed Israelis to
the right amid growing disillusionment
with Arafat, who has done little to stop
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Israeli Labor party leader Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, left, and Israeli
Knesset members Shimon Peres, Ofir Pines Paz, Ephraim Sneh and
Michel Melchior, rear right, pause during a press conference.

the attacks.
However, the result of the election
could be yet another Likud-Labor
coalition.
Both Sharon and Labor chief
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer face internal
challenges.
In Labor's Nov. 19 election for a new
leader, Ben-Eliezer - who as Sharon's
defense minister oversaw military offen-
sives against the Palestinians - trails a
pair of more dovish candidates, legisla-
tor Haim Ramon and Haifa Mayor
Amram Mitzna, a retired general.

Likud's primaries will take place in
coming weeks. Initial polls suggested
Netanyahu, who was voted out of office
in 1999, would wrest the party leader-
ship from Sharon, but more recent sur-
veys indicated he had fallen behind.
Winners of the Labor and Likud pri-
maries will be their parties' candidates
for prime minister. Israel is returning
to an indirect electoral system, with
voters choosing a party, not a prime
minister. The politician first able to
form a stable coalition will become
premier.

Chairman of SEC
resigns under fire

NEWS IN BRIEF 2
U.N. resolution will force. Iraq to disarm
The Bush administration will submit a revised resolution today to the U.N.
Security Council that makes clear that Iraq must disarm, a senior administration
official said.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the proposal has broad
council support. Secretary of State Colin Powell worked out some of the final
points during a telephone conversation with French Foreign Minister Dominique
de Villepin, the official said.
The Security Council plans to meet this morning to consider the U.S. draft.
The official said the resolution, the product of six weeks' intense debate, takes
into account the views of the United States and other council members.
"It makes clear that Iraq is in material breach (of prior resolutions)," the official
said. Earlier, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher spoke of "growing
support in the council for a strong resolution that makes clear to Iraq that it has
failed to comply in the past, that it needs to comply with a tough inspection
regime, that there'll be serious consequences if it doesn't."
Powell also conferred during the day with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
and three foreign ministers, Igor Ivanov of Russia, Jorge Castaneda of Mexico
and Joschka Fischer of Germany.
JERUSALEM
Four plead guilty to bombing that killed 35
Four Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem pleaded guilty yesterday to direct
involvement in four bombings that killed 35 people, including five Americans at
Hebrew University, court officials said.
Prosecutors said the four belonged to a 15-member cell that orchestrated attacks
that included a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem cafe in March that killed 11 Israelis,
and the Hebrew University cafeteria bombing in July that killed a total of nine people.
One of the Palestinians, house painter Mohammed Oudeh, admitted to planting
the bomb in the cafeteria at Hebrew University, in the eastern part of Jerusalem.
Unlike most Palestinians in the West Bank, Palestinians living in east Jerusalem
have Israeli identity cards. This allowed them to travel freely inside Israel and plan
the attacks, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors demanded that three of the four be given life sentences. The court
postponed sentencing until December.
In violence yesterday in the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers came under
fire and responded by shooting dead two Palestinians and injuring 19, according
to the army and Palestinian officials.
WASHINGTON ardo Blyde asked during a congression-
al debate on Monday's violence.
worldCom charges "At least 17 people were wounded by
extend to '99 fraud rubber bullets and more than 60 others
hurt by rocks or felled by tear gas in the
The government yesterday expanded clashes between Chavez's supporters
its civil fraud charges against World- and police and National Guard troops
Com and the company raised its esti- in downtown Caracas.
mate of inflated earnings to more than The violence began after hundreds of
$9 billion in one, of the most stunning Chavez's supporters tried to block
accounting scandals of the year. opposition marchers from delivering
The Securities and Exchange Com- more than 2 million signatures to the
mission announced that it had broadened National Election Council demanding
the scope of its civil fraud charges, origi- the referendum.
nally filed against the telecom company
in June, to include an additional charge VATICAN CITY
and to allege that WorldCom misled Vatican to decide fate
investors starting at least as early as 1999
through the first quarter of this year. of gays in priesthood
WorldCom is in settlement talks with
the SEC. The nation's second-largest The Vatican said yesterday it is draft-
long-distance carrier, which is operat- ing new guidelines for accepting candi-
ing under bankruptcy court protection, dates for the priesthood that will
said it told the SEC during those dis- address the question of whether gays
cussions that, based on "very prelimi- should be barred.
nary reviews" of its accounting, it The brief statement by the Vatican's
expects an additional earnings restate- Press Office gave no indication what the
ment that could bring the total hole in conclusion may be despite news reports
its books to more than $9 billion. that the document will include directives
against the admission of homosexuals.
CARACAS, Venezuela Vatican congregations have been
studying the issue for several years, but
V alt the question has received renewed
referendum clashes attention given the clerical sex abuse
scandal in the United States.
Venezuela's government weighed a Most of the victims of molestation
petition yesterday for a nonbinding refer- by priests have been adolescent boys.
endum on Hugo Chavez's presidency as Experts on sex offenders say there is
opponents charged he had lost control of no credible evidence that homosexu-
his government after a day of street riots. als are more likely than heterosexu-
"Is there a government in Venezuela? als to abuse children.
Who has the authority in
Venezuela?" opposition lawmaker Ger- - Compiled from Daily wire reports.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Securities
and Exchange Commission Chairman
Harvey Pitt resigned under pressure
yesterday night over a series of politi-
cal missteps that had embarrassed the
Bush White House.
In a letter to President Bush, Pitt
said "the turmoil surrounding my
chairmanship" had made it difficult to
do his job. "Rather than be a burden to
you or the agency, I feel it is in every-
one's best interest if I step aside now,
to allow the agency to continue the
important efforts we have started."
The White House quickly accepted
his resignation.
Three administration officials, speak-
ing on condition of anonymity, said the
White House welcomed the resignation
of a regulator who had created a host of
political problems for Bush in the run-
up to last night's elections.
The latest came when Pitt failed to
share with fellow commissioners infor-
mation about William Webster, the
newly named chairman of an account-
ing industry oversight board, before the
agency voted last week to put the for-
mer CIA and FBI director in charge of
the panel.
The revelation led SEC commission-
ers, including Pitt, to request an inter-
nal investigation tomorrow of
Webster's selection - and renewed the
almost daily drumbeat of calls from
Democrats and other Pitt critics for his
resignation.
A senior White House official said
Bush aides heard over the weekend that
Pitt was inclined to resign. Neither the

president nor his aides requested the
resignation, but Pitt called the White
House personnel office yesterday after-
noon and said he intended to resign.
There were no objections, thus Pitt
submitted his resignation late yester-
day afternoon. In it, Pitt said he
thought the controversy was hurting
his ability to lead the SEC.
The official said Bush won't have a
replacement immediately. They had not
begun to search for candidates as of yes-
terday night and expected Senate confir-
mation to be difficult in the intense
political climate, the official said.
Pitt, who first worked at the SEC in
the late 1960s and built his career as an
attorney in appearance-conscious Wash-
ington, has been criticized for meeting
with the heads of companies under SEC
investigation and for his close ties to the
accounting industry - at a time when
the SEC is investigating major account-
ing fraud at big corporations. Pitt repre-
sented the Big Five accounting firms
while in private practice.
In this latest instance, Pitt withheld
information about Webster's lead role
on the auditing committee for U.S.
Technologies, a company facing
investor lawsuits alleging fraud. Web-
ster told The New York Times that Pitt
assured him that SEC staff had looked
into the issue and it would not pose a
problem.
Last month, Democrats asked Bush
to remove Pitt, whom they accused of
bowing to the accounting industry by
opposing the appointment of John
Biggs to head the oversight board.

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Attorney of suspected
sniper denies charges

The Michigan Daily (ISSN 0745-967) is published Monday through Friday during the fall and winter terms by
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14 1 F ; _- *_

4

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) - John
Allen Muhammad's lawyer derided the
government's extortion charges against
the sniper suspect yesterday, accusing
prosecutors of overreaching in order to
make a federal case out of the murder
spree.
The lawyer's claims came as a feder-
al judge ordered Muhammad held
without bail.
Federal prosecutors brought charges
against Muhammad last week under

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weapons and extortion law in the Octo-
ber sniper attacks that killed 10 people
in the Washington, D.C., area. He
could get the death penalty.
In court, federal public defender
James Wyda accused prosecutors of
trying to "shoehorn this case into
federal courts" in using the extortion
law. He said the government is try-
ing to prove that "these seemingly
random attacks were all motivated
by a crackpot scheme to collect $10
million."
Wyda noted that authorities did not
even receive a note demanding the
money until Oct. 19, well into the
shooting spree.
"This is no longer a murder case;
this is an extortion case," he said out-
side court. "They can't prove extortion.
They can't meet their burden of proof
in making this a federal case."
In arguing against bail, federal pros-
ecutor James Trusty told Chief Magis-
trate Judge Jillyn K. Schulze that
Muhammad, 41, used multiple names
and birth dates and had been living out
of a car.
The other sniper suspect, 17-year-
old John Lee Malvo, was ordered
detained Monday after appearing at a
closed juvenile hearing in federal court
in Paltnmcr. PFedr a ,hrgeshavea lso

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