2A - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 24, 2003
Immigrants arrested in Wal-Mart raid NEWS IN BRIEF , *
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP)- Federal agents
raided Wal-Mart's headquarters and 60 of its
stores across the country yesterday, arresting
more than 300 illegal workers in an immigration
crackdown at the world's biggest retailer.
, In Michigan, Wal-Marts in Traverse City and
Coldwater were raided, according to Garrison
Courtney, a spokesman with Immigration and
Customs Enforcement. The number of workers
arrested in Michigan wasn't immediately
The workers, in the country illegally, were
members of cleaning crews that the company
hired through a contractor, but federal law
enforcement officials who spoke on the condi-
tion of anonymity said Wal-Mart had direct
knowledge of the immigration violations. They
cited recordings of meetings and conversations
among Wal-Mart executives, managers and con-
"We have seen no evidence of this from the
INS, and, if that turns out to be true, we will
cooperate fully with law enforcement officials,"
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams said.
The workers were arrested as they finished
their night shifts at Wal-Mart stores in 21 states.
Agents also hauled away several boxes of docu-
ments from an executive's office at Wal-Mart
headquarters in Bentonville.
An employer can face civil and criminal
penalties for knowingly hiring illegal immi-
grants or failing to comply with certain employ-
ee recordkeeping regulations.
Wal-Mart Stores had sales last year of $244.5
billion. The company has about 1.1 million
employees in the United States, and it uses more
than 100 third-party contractors to clean more
than 700 stores nationwide, Williams said.
"We require each of these contractors to use
only legal workers," she said.
The law enforcement sources said the investi-
gation grew out of earlier probes of Wal-Mart
cleaning crew contractors in 1998 and 2001.
All the arrested workers were in the country
illegally, said Garrison Courtney, a spokesman
with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
They were detained at local immigration offices.
Those who had no criminal record were released
with instructions to appear before immigration
Wal-Mart is not the first big company to be
targeted in an immigration investigation. Six
managers at Tyson Foods, based one town away
from Wal-Mart in Springdale, were charged in
an immigrant-smuggling case in 2001.
One defendant shot himself to death a few
months after being charged, and two managers
entered guilty pleas early in the case. A jury
acquitted the poultry company and three other
Ulysses Yannas, an analyst with the invest-
ment firm Buckman, Buckman and Reid, said
it is too much to expect Wal-Mart to keep
track of all of its vendors' workers. But he
said the investigation could present a problem
for the company.
"It is a question of what else it might bring
out. These are long, drawn-out processes," Yan-
Top Wal-Mart officials learned of yesterday's
sweep when store managers began calling head-
quarters for guidance in dealing with the raids.
Courtney said agents searched the office of
one of Wal-Mart's executives. Williams, the
spokeswoman, said they spent several hours in
the office of a "mid-level manager" at Wal-
Mart's headquarters and carried away several
boxes of paperwork.
She said she did not know if any other Wal-
Mart administrative offices were searched.
Israel plans for new settlements in W. Bank
Israel disclosed plans yesterday to build nearly 300 homes in West Bank settle-
ments, despite a freeze on construction required by a U.S.-backed peace plan. Pales-
tinians condemned the project and urged the United States to intervene.
An associate of Yasser Arafat, meanwhile, said the Palestinian leader was
unnerved by an army raid near his compound this week, and clenched a submachine
gun as he declared he felt the "smell of paradise."
Israel has said it would "remove" Arafat at an unspecified time, but has not
explained whether this means expulsion or assassination. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon said this week that Arafat is the major obstacle to peace, but in an earlier
newspaper interview backtracked from threats to expel the Palestinian leader.
The construction of 273 apartments in West Bank settlements was disclosed yes-
terday by Israel's Housing Ministry, which published an ad in an Israeli newspaper
inviting contractors to bid on them. The apartments are slated for Karnei Shomron, a
settlement deep in the northern West Bank, and Givat Zeev, on the outskirts of
"The Housing Ministry builds all over Israel, including the West Bank," said min-
istry spokesman Kobi Bleich. "This tender is in line with a decision taken by the
government of Israel."
Bush's trip marked with Islam questions
The subject of religion has taken a prominent spot right where President Bush
didn't want it - front-and-center in the war against terrorism.
The president's journey through Asia, a trip designed to allay fears that Ameri-
ca targets the Muslim world, was instead roiled repeatedly by questions over
whether the United States is a Christian nation that is anti-Muslim, and whether
the Muslim world is anti-Jewish.
Bush got caught in the middle when he took Malaysian Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad to task for criticizing Jews, but then didn't seem inclined to
discipline a high-ranking American military officer, Lt. Gen. William Boykin, for
comparing the anti-terror effort to the struggle between Christians and Satan.
For many in the Muslim world, religious motives were plain to see.
"While they condemn Dr. Mahathir when he speaks about the Jews and
other injustices inflicted on the poor and the Muslims, there are no such con-
demnation or reaction when the Muslims are called terrorists," a columnist in
the New Straits Times newspaper, which has close ties to Mahathir's party,
Art Horinek leaves a Wal-Mart store In North Olmsted, Ohio.
The store was one of 60 Wal-Marts in which federal officials
arrested more than 300 Illegal workers early yesterday.
Wages, gifts lure African boys to West
ONIGONGON, Nigeria (AP) -
Lured from home by the promise of a
bicycle, Wasiu Goyikon entered a life
of hard labor at 9 - smashing stones
into gravel in Nigeria's sweltering
Nearby, boys as young as 4 strug-
gled with rocks and hammers.
Always, the boys were worked to
exhaustion; sometimes, they were
worked to death.
The rescue of 190 scarred and beat-
en child workers - none older than
15 - from Nigeria's quarries, and the
arrests of six smugglers who allegedly
put them there, comes as part of an
unprecedented West Africa challenge
But an estimated 200,000 children
continue to be shipped across West
and Central Africa's borders each
year, some ending up in brutally diffi-
cult jobs - or in shallow graves near
the granite pits.
And as Wasiu illustrates, breaking
West Africa's child trade is no simple
Because, at 20 cents a day, in a land
where poverty offers few options,
Wasiu has a job he wants.
"The next time I go home, I will
bring my younger brother back to
work here," Wasiu, now 15, told The
Associated Press, sweating as he
swung a hammer. "What choice do
At that salary, Wasiu and two
friends shovel and smash enough
gravel to fill the dump truck that is
their daily quota. Each day's load is
sold for $50 - more than 100 times
their combined wages.
Wasiu is one of the lucky ones: He
got his bike. He survived. And at the
end of his last contract, he received
his wages for years at hard labor:
Since September, Nigerian police
have arrested six alleged smugglers,
including accused kingpin Gilbert
Zinjo, for allegedly trafficking chil-
dren into the pits from across the bor-
der in Benin, one of the world's
Zinjo's ring signed up the children
with payments to their parents of as
little as $30. They promised the boys
gifts that seldom materialized, accord-
ing to investigators, charities and the
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Exercise slows onset
of breast cancer
Exercising and maintaining a
healthful weight when young can
delay the onset of breast cancer in
women at very high risk of the disease,
according to a study of women with a
genetic mutation that gives them an 82
percent lifetime risk of developing the
Researchers also found that women
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The study, appearing today in the
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Officials need billions
for Iraqi rebuilding
U.S. and Iraqi officials pleaded for
billions to rebuild Iraq at a donors con-
ference that opened yesterday with
warnings that they might not get all
they need right away.
Despite the approval last week of a
U.N. resolution setting out Iraq's future
course, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan acknowledged that lingering
divisions over Washington's role in run-
ning the country might deter some
But in his opening remarks yesterday,
Annan urged that such concerns be set
aside, saying "the long-term challenge
of reconstruction has to be faced by all
ST. CATHARINES, Ontario
Niagara falls jumper
released by judge
A Canadian judge yesterday agreed
to release a U.S. citizen who survived
a plunge over Niagara Falls and
ordered him to stay out of Canada
except for court appearances.
After his brother posted his bail of
$1,000 Canadian ($760 U.S.), Kirk
Jones spoke briefly with a swarm of
reporters before leaving in a sports
utility vehicle with a tabloid televi-
"Monday, I feel like I reached out
and touched the face of God and he
smiled," Jones said of his plunge. "I'm
feeling very happy to be alive. I ask no
one to ever try such a stunt again."
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
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