2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 25, 2003
A man looks at a charred dormitory belonging to the Patrice Lumumba Friendship of Peoples University in
Moscow early yesterday. An early-morning fire raced through a Moscow dormitory filled with foreign students.
Do1m 'fire in Russia
lees 36 students dead
on death for
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - A jury decided yester-
day that John Allen Muhammad should be executed for
taking it upon himself to choose who should live and who
should die during the sniper attacks that gripped the Wash-
ington area for three terrifying weeks last fall.
The enigmatic Muhammad reacted with the same flinty
look he had through most of the trial.
The jury deliberated more than five hours over two days
before deciding the fate of Muhammad, a 42-year-old Gulf
War veteran who masterminded the attacks and asked
police to "Call me God" during the reign of terror.
The jury's recommendation is not final. Judge Leroy
Millette Jr. can reduce the punishment to life in prison
without parole when Muhammad is formally sentenced on
Feb. 12, but Virginia judges rarely take such action.
Some jurors said the lack of any emotion or remorse
from Muhammad, combined with the broad scope and vio-
lence of the shootings, convinced them that the death
penalty was the only option.
"I looked for something in him that might have shown
remorse," said juror Robert Elliott. "And I never saw it the
The jury concluded that prosecutors proved both aggra-
vating factors necessary to impose the death penalty: that
Muhammad would pose a danger and that his crimes were
wantonly vile. Muhammad was sentenced to death on both
counts he was convicted of last Monday: committing mul-
tiple murders within three years and committing murder as
part of a plot to terrorize the public.
"They took pleasure in terrorizing people," prosecutor
Paul Ebert said yesterday of Muhammad and fellow sus-
pect Lee Boyd Malvo. "They took pleasure in killing peo-
ple. That's the kind of man that doesn't deserve to be in
The jurors looked solemn as they came back with their
decision; Muhammad stood ramrod straight as he lis-
The courtroom was silent; the judge had warned
against any outbursts before the jury's decision was
NwHEIN S II\TRO B RIT E FWOR L .r--
Gov't plans to release terror suspects
The government has freed 20 prisoners from its high-security prison for
foreign terror suspects in Cuba, bringing the total released to more than 80,
and plans to send dozens more home soon, officials said yesterday.
The next batch, however, will probably get out of the Guantanamo Bay
prison only if their governments promise to continue to imprison and
investigate them, two senior U.S officials said.
The latest releases stem from negotiations that were sped up after Ameri-
can allies complained the Bush administration was taking too long to
resolve the cases of hundreds of foreigners captured in the global war on
terrorism, another official said.
The prisoners have been held without charges and without access to
lawyers, some for nearly two years.
The Pentagon said yesterday it had transferred 20 prisoners on Friday,
bringing to 88 the number who have left the facility since it opened in Jan-
On Sunday, the military flew about 20 new prisoners into Guantanamo,
most of them captured in the continuing fight in Afghanistan, one official
said. That means the number in Cuba remains about 660, although the gov-
ernment won't give an exact count.
MOSCOW (AP) - A pre-dawn fire swept
though a rundown Russian dormitory for quaran-
tined foreign students yesterday, trapping many
behind permanently locked exits and causing
some to leap from the five-story building.
Thirty-six students died and nearly 200 were
injured, some from frostbite after fleeing half
naked into the bitter cold. The students - from
Asia, Africa and Latin America - had just
arrived in Moscow and were being held in the
dorm awaiting medical checks before starting
"It was like a horrible nightmare," Abdallah
Bong, a student from Chad. "We saw them crying
for help and jumping out of the windows, and we
could do nothing to save them."
Bong and other witnesses said dozens of fire
engines were slow to reach the blaze, jammed into
a narrow access road blocked by parked cars.
"Students had to do it all themselves, holding
mattresses for those who were jumping out," said
Nafafe Tengna, a journalism student from Guinea.
The fire, believed to have been caused by an
electrical malfunction, engulfed the building at
People's Friendship University. It burned for
more than three hours, though Moscow fire safe-
ty department spokesman Yevgeny Bobylyov
insisted that firefighters arrived on time and did
their job well.
Flames gutted most of the dorm above the
ground floor. Smoke poured from windows as a
wet snow fell in the early morning darkness. The
fire left the building's concrete walls streaked
with black soot, and nearby trees were caked
with ice that had formed from water used to
extinguish the blaze.
Turkish court charges 9 in suicide bombings
A Turkish court today charged nine suspected accomplices in last week's Istanbul
suicide bombings, alleging they aided or were members of an illegal organization.
Three other suspects were released, defense lawyer Selahattin Karahan said.
No trial date was set. The charges are punishable by up to five years in prison.
After hours of questioning, the court after midnight charged one of the suspected
accomplices with aiding and abetting an illegal organization and eight others with
membership in an illegal organization, Karahan said.
Four other detainees had already been released yesterday, apparently for lack of
The charges came just five days after the bombings of the British consulate and a
London-based bank in Istanbul. Fifty-seven people died in those attacks and the earli-
er bombings of two synagogues in the city.
The suspects covered their heads with jackets and coats as they arrived at
the court yesterday. A police line held back a crowd of shouting relatives,
including several women wearing black chadors, the all-covering garment
rare in downtown Istanbul.
Deaths of two U.S. soldiers
ellicit miXed emotions
MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - The killings of two U.S.
soldiers, who witnesses said were dragged from
their car and pummeled with rocks, offended some
in this neighborhood of dilapidated houses and pot-
holed streets where the deaths occurred. But few
Iraqis were shocked by the brutality, and some even
"They are occupiers, and this is their punish-
ment," truck driver Hisham Abed said yesterday of
the soldiers. "The Americans make nothing but
empty promises. There's no electricity, no gasoline
and no work."
Gunmen ambushed a U.S. patrol here yesterday,
wounding one soldier. Nevertheless, Mosul, Iraq's
third-largest city, has been among the safest areas
for American soldiers, a place where U.S. troops
could stroll bustling streets and frequent stores and
Countering some Iraqi witnesses, Army Maj. Joe
Yoswa, a Pentagon spokesman, said yesterday that
there was no evidence the soldiers' throats were
slashed after assailants shot the two Sunday as they
drove through Mosul's working class neighborhood
of Ras al-Jadda, sending their vehicle crashing into
Yoswa also said there was no indication the men
were beaten with rocks or that their bodies were
mutilated. The official said Iraqis robbed the car
they were driving and stole personal effects from
the soldiers' bodies.
Witnesses said that an Iraqi mob, most of them
teenagers, dragged the two bloodied soldiers from
the car, threw them to the ground and pummeled
their bodies with concrete blocks - scenes remi-
niscent of the savagery in Somalia against Ameri-
can troops a decade ago.
A few accounts said the soldiers' throats were cut
- either by the attackers or by the mob. But wit-
ness Bahaa Jassim said the wounds appeared to
have come from bullets. Jassim, also a teenager,
was among Iraqis who said they saw the crowd
pummel the soldiers' bodies with concrete blocks.
The Pentagon identified the men as Command
Sgt. Maj. Jerry Wilson, 45, of Thomson, Ga., and
Spec. Rel Ravago IV 21, of Glendale, Calif.
Armed attacks have been fewer in Mosul than in
the volatile "Sunni Triangle" to the south. Com-
merce flourishes, and Iraqis feel safe enough to
venture out at night to a far greater extent than their
countrymen in Baghdad and other cities.
Senate awaits final
vote on Medicare bill
The Senate cleared the way yester-
day for final congressional passage
of legislation to add a prescription
drug benefit and a free-enterprise
flavor to the government-run
Medicare program, repelling twin
attacks by die-hard Democratic
"Today is a historic day and a
momentous day," said Senate Majori-
ty Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), antici-
pating a final vote no later than
today on a bill to make the most
sweeping changes in Medicare since
the program was created in 1965.
Defiant in defeat, Sen. Edward
Kennedy (D-Mass.) said the legisla-
tion "starts the unraveling of the
Medicare system," and he accused
the Republicans of planning a fol-
low-up attack on Social Security
after the next election. He indicated
he would delay final passage as long
may hit store shelves
Federal health officials are debat-
ing if it's time to put emergency con-
traception - also called the
morning-after pill - on pharmacy
shelves right next to the aspirin,
available without a prescription.
Proponents say such a move would
greatly increase women's ability to get
the pills in time to prevent pregnancy:
preferably within 24 hours but no more
than 72 hours after rape, contraceptive
failure or just forgetting birth control.
The Food and Drug Administration says
emergency contraception is very safe to
use. But the question is whether women
will understand exactly how and when to
take it without any professional advice.
Traffic deaths linked
to state speed limits
States that raised their speed lim-
its to 70 mph or more have seen a
big jump in traffic deaths, according
to a report yesterday by an auto safe-
ty group. Some 1,880 more people
died between 1996 and 1999 in the
22 states with higher speed limits on
rural interstates, said the study,
which was compiled by the Insur-
ance Institute for Highway Safety,
funded by insurers.
It was based on data collected by the
Land Transport Safety Authority of
New Zealand. Congress repealed the
55 mph national speed limit in Novem-
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
President Bush, wearing an Army jacket, speaks before soldiers
and families at Butts Army Air Field yesterday.
Continued from Page 1
unfounded. A number of studies have
connected socioeconomics with family
"I think there's a large research base
that shows that divorce rates and rates of
union dissolution are higher for low
income families," said Kristin Seefeldt,
research investigator for the School of
But Smock's study added a different
perspective, studying marital and pre-
marital separation from the child's per-
spective. While children of white
families see the benefit of stability in
marriage of minority families may not
see the same benefit.
Research at the University supports
this claim. Associate psychology Prof.
Brenda Volling, who leads the Mar-
riage and Child Development Study,
said that this study is fairly consistent
with previous research conducted on
marriage and cohabitating couples.
The study, whose research subjects are
predominantly white, continues to find
that marriage is a strong positive influ-
ence on a child's life.
The results of past research, showing
the benefits of marriage for children of
at least wealthier families, begets socio-
logical and political questions.
For children of low-income families,
there are undoubtedly programs provid-
ing counseling and support, said Social
Work Prof. William Meezan.
But the focus on low-income and
minority families left some researchers
ill-at-ease. Divorce is not a socioeco-
nomic phenomenon, and there are num-
ber of factors that contribute fo a child's
well-being, such as proper schooling.
Likewise, there are various external fac-
tors other than separation that contribute
to household instability.
"Any event that is traumatic could
certainly have an impact on a child's
well-being. Depending on how traumat-
ic a break up is, it could potentially have
an impact on a child's short term or long
term well being," Meezan said.
More strikingly, there are times when
the opposite can be true. In cases of hos-
tile relationships, parental separation can
often help a child and a family.
"A lot of that depends on the individ-
ual situation. A lot of times we see the
children benefit from the parents split-
ting," said Beth Blanchard, program
director for the University's Children's
Center for Working Families.
Studying the benefits of marriage
holds political significance as well, as
both the federal government and Michi-
gan have attempted to provide martial
incentives - under the assumption that
the institution is beneficial for all.
"One of the Bush administration's pri-
orities for welfare reform is to try to
strengthen the institution of marriage.
The idea is that, for lower income par-
ents, poverty will go down and child
well-being will improve. Our article
suggests that, when encouraging mar-
riages between black and Hispanic fami-
lies, they are just as likely to break up
whether they are married or cohabiting,"
said Smock. Seefeldt also noticed the
same trend in Michigan. "Several years
ago the state embarked on initial efforts
to strengthen marriage through policy,"
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Continued from Page 1
questions about where they're going
and what activities they're doing, in
order to prevent underage drinking.
"I always found the best tool of
dealing with the kids was the car
keys," Dingell said, waving his own
car keys for effect.
Tildon said the class provided a per-
fect balance of education.
"It reinforces the message that
underage drinking is illegal while
underscoring some of the issues
associated with this issue," she
Continued from Page 1
Fornell said this year's holiday shop-
ping season will be an improvement
over last year's - which he called
"pretty bleak" - but will not be as suc-
cessful as in the years before the reces-
sion that began in 2001.
"I don't think we'll see much of an
increase in spending over the last quar-
ter," he said. "People are still cautious
and there's a question of where the
money will come from."
Fornell added that earlier in the year,
people could spend more because they
had received extra pocket change from
President Bush's tax cut program, and
he many consumers face high mort-
gage payments on their houses, he said.
Sprunk said from what she has
heard from friends and classmates,
she also believes people will spend
more money this holiday season than
last year but not as much as several
Although national gross domestic
product, the total of all goods and serv-
ices produced in the United States,
increased by 7.2 percent in the third
quarter of this year - the biggest quar-
terly jump since 1984 - economists
also predict the growth will level off
Saul Hymans, director of the Univer-
sity's Research Seminar in Quantitative
Economics, said national GDP growth
will increase by 4.5 percent in the
fourth quarter - a decline of almost 3
percent from the "remarkable" third
Fornell said his predictions about the
future of the national economy are
more conservative than those of some
economists, but he said lower growth
and consumer spending this holiday
season could actually benefit the econ-
omy in the long run.
"I think it's much better to have sus-
tained, slower growth" than rapid bursts
of growth, he said.
NEWS Shabina S. Khatri, Managing Editor
EDITORS: C. Price Jones, Kylene Kiang, Jennifer Misthal, Jordan Schrader
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Naila Moreira, Jameel Naqvi, Kristin Ostby, Mona Rafeeq, Adam Rosen, Karen Schwartz, Maria Sprow, Dan Trudeau, Trista Van Tine, Ryan Vicko
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