2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 3, 2002
Calif. residents return
home after evacuations
NEWS IN BRIEF
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Arafat ready to accept offer for peace talks
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) - A
second wave of residents displaced by South-
ern California's wildfires returned home yes-
terday as a weekend of cooler, calmer weather
helped firefighters begin to get the upper
As the threat began to diminish, authorities
also sent home some of the thousands of fire-
fighters who have been battling blazes scat-
tered from San Diego County to the suburbs
of Los Angeles.
Some evacuees got the go-ahead Saturday
to check on their homes. Among them were
JoDee Ewing and her husband, Steve, who
found little standing of their 1920s-era house
but the stone chimney, the foundation and -
for some inexplicable reason - their rose
"I still have roses blooming," said Ewing, 40.
"But there's no toilets. They disintegrated."
The fire that started Oct. 25 just up the
road from the Ewings' place, in Upper
Waterman Canyon on the edge of the San
Bernardino National Forest, consumed
In the last week, that blaze and a half-
dozen others across Southern California have
burned about 750,000 acres, destroyed nearly
3,400 homes and killed 20 people.
In San Bernardino County, some firefight-
ers were beginning to head to home, said U.S.
Forest Service spokesman Bob Narus,
although he couldn't say exactly how many.
In San Diego County, firefighters were
expected to begin leaving after spending a
few hours resting yesterday morning, said
California Department of Forestry spokes-
woman Barb Daskoski.
Though fog, lower temperatures and even
snow slowed the spreading flames, more than
12,000 firefighters were still on the lines
Following an Israeli offer, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said yesterday he
is ready for peace talks, while about 6,000 Palestinians returned to jobs in Israel
for the first time in a month.
In an abrupt turnaround last week, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said con-
tacts were already underway with Palestinian officials, adding, "We are ready to
enter negotiations at any time." Sharon had previously conditioned talks on a
crackdown on violent Palestinian groups responsible for attacks on Israelis.
Asked about Sharon's remarks, Arafat told reporters he would accept an
offer for talks. "There is no official communication, but we are ready," he
said after meeting a delegation of Greek lawmakers at his headquarters in the
West Bank town of Ramallah.
Talks on the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan have been stalled for weeks
because of Palestinian bombing attacks and Israeli military operations, along
with the Palestinians' inability to form a stable government.
Arafat has often said he is ready to talk peace, but Israel and the United
States are boycotting him, charging that he is tainted by terrorism. They insist
on dealing with an empowered prime minister.
Donald Bieker looks at his nephew's charred car
that was destroyed by wildfires yesterday in
Iran warns de
cause less U.N
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's supreme
leader said yesterday that "excessive demands"
from abroad could prompt Tehran to retreat
from a recent commitment to give inspectors
from the U.N. nuclear watchdog more access
to its atomic facilities.
The warning by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
comes as the International Atomic Energy
Agency evaluates a dossier on Iran's nuclear
program that Tehran supplied to meet an Oct.
31 deadline to prove it is not developing atom-
ic weapons - as U.S. officials believe.
Iran agreed last month to allow unfettered
inspections of its nuclear facilities and to stop
enriching uranium - a process that creates
fuel for nuclear plants but also can be used to
"If parties to the talks with us or centers of global
power come up with excessive demands and we
feel that our interests and values are harmed, we
won't hesitate to end this trend (of cooperation),"
Khamenei said in a speech on state-run television.
"Peaceful nuclear technology is our legitimate
right and no country and no organization can
deprive us of this right, including the right for
production of our own nuclear fuel."
Khamenei spoke before a large group of mili-
tary and government officials at a party marking
the daily breaking of the fast for the Muslim holy
month of Ramadan.
Khamenei, who has the final say on all state mat-
ters, said he will intervene to stop the Iranian gov-
ernment from making decisions he considers
"So far, nothing has been done against our prin-
ciples," he said.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Vax
Sniper trial illustrates missed opportunities
A woman worried that she could be the next victim in the Washington-
area sniper shootings saw a suspicious blue car but didn't tell police
"because they were looking for a white van."
A police officer spoke to John Allen Muhammad, who was driving a blue
car near one of the shootings, but let him go.
A dispatcher got a call from someone claiming responsibility for the
attacks, but tried to refer him to another agency. The caller hung up. Testimo-
ny in Muhammad's capital murder trial has been replete with such reminders
of missed opportunities to end the three-week series of attacks in which 10
people were killed.
"These are heartbreaking things," said former FBI profiler Clint Van
Zandt. "These are things that police officers and FBI agents are beating
themselves in the head with and saying: 'My God, if only we would have,
should have, could have. We might have gotten them sooner, if only."'
The trial enters its third week of testimony today as Muhammad faces charges
in one of the killings, that of Dean Harold Meyers, who was shot at a Manassas-
area gas station on Oct. 9, 2002.
An Iranian woman chants "Death to the U.S." slogans as
women listen to the sermon during Friday prayers at the
Tehran University campus In Iran.
Woman charged after Bush security breach
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A
woman who rammed her car into an
arena where President Bush had
just given a speech was charged
with aggravated assault on a police
officer, authorities said yesterday.
Chief David Mitchell, spokesman
for the DeSoto County sheriff's
department, said Betina Mixon was
being held in the DeSoto County
jail without bond and would be
arraigned today or tomorrow.
Federal officials said Mixon, 29,
had no intention of harming the
president and no federal charges are
pending against her.
Her friend said she may have
wanted to hurt herself.
Mixon, of Horn Lake, had her
three children in her car when she
crashed into a wall of the DeSoto
County Civic Center on Saturday.
Bush had just spoken at a campaign
rally for Haley Barbour, the Republi-
can nominee for governor, and was in
his limousine preparing to leave, a
senior administration official said.
The president left the arena less
than five minutes later from an exit
about 40 yards from the crash.
The Secret Service was reviewing
how the car was able to drive past a
police checkpoint and penetrate the
security perimeter around the
Southaven, Miss., arena, agency
spokeswoman Ann Roman said.
Alicia Graves, 19, who said she
had known Mixon for about 10
years, said her friend had gone
through a lot the last few months.
"With marriage, her dad just dying and her
brother sick and all that, I think she just had a
- Alicia Graves
Mutual fund scandal
leads to investigation
Federal regulators and New York's
top law enforcer, pressing investiga-
tions of a mutual fund scandal, also
are drawing up an overhaul of the $7
trillion industry that traditionally has
enjoyed a pristine image.
New York Attorney General Eliot
Spitzer is lashing out at the Securities
and Exchange Commission for what
he calls its failure to detect abuses and
act quickly. "Heads should roll" at the
agency, he says. Companies must be
forced to pay back to investors the hefty
fees received for managing mutual funds
during the time they allowed fund trading
abuses to occur, Spitzer said yesterday.
"If they're expecting to get settle-
ments (with regulators) they're going
to have to give much more back than
just their losses. They're going to be
paying stiff fines and giving back
their management fees.
First openly gay
The Episcopal Church became the
first major Christian denomination to
make an openly gay man a bishop, con-
secrating V Gene Robinson yesterday as
bishop of New Hampshire. The act
almost certainly means disgruntled con-
servatives will break from the church.
Robinson, 56, became a bishop when
the 55 other bishops attending his conse-
cration surrounded him for the laying on
of hands. The historic moment came
more than an hour into the ceremony
and after two Episcopal clerics took
advantage of the traditional opportunity
Leaders of the global Anglican Com-
munion have said his consecration puts
their worldwide association in jeopardy.
"With marriage, her dad just
dying and her brother sick and all
that, I think she had a nervous
breakdown," Graves said yesterday.
Mixon, a nurse's aide, also had a
hysterectomy and "wad having a lot
of stomach problems," Graves said.
It had nothing to do with politics,
Graves said. "She's not even regis-
tered to vote."
Graves and federal officials said
Mixon was trying to locate her moth-
er-in-law, who was attending the rally.
"The kids' grandma was there
inside, and she said she wanted to
get her kids somewhere safe,"
"I think she wanted to try to get
her to get the kids so she could go
and try to hurt herself."
Graves said Mixon's children
were now staying with relatives.
U.S. criticized for oil
company share freeze
Russia's foreign minister criticized
the United States yesterday for express-
ing concern about actions against the
oil giant Yukos, but President Vladimir
Putin's new chief of staff said he doubt-
ed the wisdom of freezing a large
chunk of the company's shares.
Last week, U.S. State Department
spokesman Richard Boucher said the
Bush administration regarded the
arrest and jailing of Yukos head
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and the freez-
ing of 44 percent of the company's
shares, as raising "serious questions
about the rule of law in Russia."
"The United States is trying to place
the actions of the judicial organs of
Russia in doubt," said Foreign Minis-
ter Igor Ivanov.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
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