2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 3, 2004
Rover finds proof of past Mars water NEWS IN BRIEF
WASHINGTON (AP) - Water per-
colating through the soil once created a
friendly environment that would have
been ideal for life to flourish on Mars,
NASA scientists say.
It is not known how long this envi-
ronment lasted or if any organism
actually developed. But scientists
directing robot rovers prowling the
Martian surface said yesterday the evi-
dence now is clear that some rocks
"were once soaked with liquid water."
"The ground would have been suit-
able for life," said Steve Squyres of
Cornell University, the lead investiga-
tor for science instruments on the rover
Opportunity. "That doesn't mean life
was there. We don't know that."
Mars now is cold and dry and there
is no apparent evidence of life on its
But Squyres said chemical and geo-
logical clues gathered by Opportunity
give dramatic proof that at some time
in its past, liquid water coursed over
the rocks and soils.
Such conditions on Earth, Squyres
said at a news conference, "would be
capable of supporting life.
"We believe that that place on Mars
for some period of time was a habit-
able environment," he said.
Squyres said it is not known how
long the life-environment lasted, if the
water collected in surface pools or
underground, and when in the long his-
tory of Mars the liquid water existed.
Answers to those questions, he said,
probably will require missions that
scoop up Martian samples and bring
them to laboratories on Earth.
NASA researchers from the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
Calif, who are guiding the exploration
of Mars by Opportunity and its twin,
Spirit, said the primary goal of the
rover mission was to find evidence of
That goal was accomplished, they
said yesterday, when Opportunity used
all of its instruments to study a fine,
layered rock called El Capitan. The
rock is embedded in the wall of the
crater where the six-wheeled robot
"The ground would have been suitable for life."
Lead investigator for science
- Steve Squyres
instruments on the rover Opportunity
began its journey on Mars.
"We've been attacking that outcrop
with everything we have," said
Squyres. The payoff is chemical and
geological evidence of a water history
at that one spot.
Benton C. Clark III, a Lockheed Mar-
tin Space Systems scientist and a mem-
ber of the rover team, said that when
Opportunity used an abrasion tool to
bore into the rock it found "an astound-
ing amount of salt" crystalized inside.
"The only way you can form such
large concentrations of salt is dissolve
it in water and allow the water to evap-
orate," Clark said.
Clark said the salts may have been
dissolved in water and then crystalized
as the water evaporated. Salts of
bromine and chlorine, he said, are
deposited in patterned layers that match
the evaporation sequence found on
Earth when briny water pools dry up.
The scientists also found what they
call "blueberries," small, globular-
shaped inclusions in the rock that can be
formed by water. The inclusions are
rather like blueberries in a muffin, hence
Some of the spherical objects have
rolled into a small basin, called the
"blueberry bowl" by scientists, and will
be analyzed further by Opportunity to
confirm their water origin.
Images also show voids the size of
pennies randomly distributed in the mar-
tian rocks. Such voids, called vugs, are
often formed in rocks on Earth when
chemicals crystalize and then erode
away, leaving behind an empty space.
Gun legislation voted down in Senate
Senate Republicans scuttled an election-year bill to immunize the gun industry
from lawsuits yesterday after Democrats amended it to extend an assault weapons
ban and require background checks on all buyers at private gun shows.
The National Rifle Association began pressuring senators to vote against the
bill after Democrats won votes on the two key gun control measures. The 90-8
vote against the bill virtually ends any chance for gun legislation to make through
Congress this year.
"I now believe it is so dramatically wounded that I would urge my colleagues to
vote against it," said Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), the sponsor of the gunmaker
Democrats won close votes on their amendments to change the Republican legis-
lation, a strategy aimed at pressuring the GOP-dominated House to accept the
restrictions to gain passage of the gunmaker-immunity bill. While Democrats won't
get the gun ban extension and the gun show legislation, they called the vote a suc-
cess. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, "The immunity bill was a terrible bill.
We're better off at the end of the day than we were at the beginning of the day."
Executive pleads guilty to record tampering
Former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers was charged yesterday with falsifying
the books at the long-distance company in the biggest corporate fraud case in
American history, and his chief financial officer pleaded guilty and agreed to tes-
tify against him.
Ebbers was accused in a federal indictment of taking part in a scheme to falsely
inflate earnings by $11 billion. He was charged with securities fraud, conspiracy
and making false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Former chief financial officer Scott Sullivan agreed to plead guilty to the same
charges and cooperate with prosecutors in hopes of reducing a potential 25-year
"I took these actions, knowing they were wrong, in a misguided effort to pre-
serve the company to allow it to withstand what I believed were temporary finan-
cial difficulties," Sullivan, 42, of Boca Raton, Fla., said in court.
In a steady voice, Sullivan said he was motivated to plead guilty by "sincere
Rebel takes over army
in Haiti; U.S. skeptical
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Rebel leader
Guy Philippe declared himself the new chief of
Haiti's military, which was disbanded by ousted
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and pledged yes-
terday that rebel forces will disarm.
Philippe then said he would arrest Prime Min-
isterYvon Neptune on corruption charges.
"The country is in my hands!" Philippe
announced on Radio Signal FM.
Philippe, flanked by other rebel leaders and
senior officers of Haiti's police force, told
reporters, "I am the chief," then clarified that he
meant "the military chief."
He said he was "not interested in politics" and
was ready to follow the orders of interim President
Boniface Alexandre, chief justice of the Supreme
Court, who was installed Sunday.
Asked whether he would disarm if requested
to, he said, "We will."
He then summoned 20 police commanders to
meet with him yesterday and warned that if they
failed to appear he would arrest them.
U.S. Marines guarded Neptune's office in the
Petionville suburb, where Philippe was headed
with hundreds of supporters in a convoy impeded
by adoring and cheering crowds.
Neptune's whereabouts were not immediately
known. Local radio reported that he was evacuat-
ed by helicopter. It was also unclear whether
American or French marines - who arrived in
recent days to secure diplomatic missions and
other sites - would try to protect him. Neptune
is a top member of Aristide's Lavalas party and
his former presidential spokesman.
In a phone call to The Associated Press,
Philippe said Neptune would face corruption
charges. The rebels appear to be taking advantage
of a power vacuum in the wake of Aristide's
abrupt departure Sunday.
Shortly before that phone call, Philippe
appeared on the second-floor balcony of the
colonnaded former army headquarters before a
cheering crowd of hundreds. A burly rebel stand-
ing next to Philippe urged them to accompany the
rebel chief to Neptune's house.
"Arrest Neptune!" the crowd chanted.
In Washington, Assistant U.S. Secretary of
State Roger Noriega said Philippe "is not in con-
trol of anything but a ragtag band of people."
"The international military buildup in Haiti
will make Philippe's role less and less central in
Haitian life. And I think he will probably want to
make himself scarce," Noriega told the U.S. Sen-
ate Foreign Relations Committee.
"We have sent that message to him. He obvi-
ously hasn't received it."
Philippe, who arrived in Port-au-Prince in a
rebel convoy Monday, apparently plans to trans-
form his fighters into a reconstituted Haitian army.
The army ousted Aristide in 1991 but then was
disbanded by him in 1995, a year after he was
returned to power by 20,000 American troops.
remorse and a deep sense of contrition."
America is "breathing down" the necks
of terrorists and will never relent, Presi-
dent Bush said yesterday, marking the
first anniversary of the Homeland Securi-
ty Department. In a speech to some 200
department employees, Bush said the
United States was cutting off the terror-
ists' money supply, chasing down terror-
ists leaders and disrupting their networks.
This came amid claims that while the
administration is more aware of threats, it
is not doing enough about them.
"We are relentless," Bush said. "We
are strong. We refuse to yield. The rest of
them hear us breathing down their neck.
... We will bring these killers to justice."
His speech came as an internal Justice
Department investigation concluded that
continuing delays in the integration of
FBI fingerprint files with U.S. Border
Patrol databases were leaving the country
vulnerable to terrorists.
Estrogen can cause
dementia, study says
Long-term use of estrogen slightly
increases women's risk of a stroke and
possibly of dementia, the government
said yesterday, halting the nation's last
major study of the hormone a year early
because of the safety concern.
5.6 million women who've undergone
hysterectomies do - doesn't appear as
risky as taking it with the hormone
progestin. Use of estrogen alone for
seven years didn't increase women's
risk of breast cancer or heart attacks,
while taking the two-drug combination
for even shorter periods did.
The findings, announced by the
National Institutes of Health, may make
it more difficult for women to decide
whether to take some form of hormone
therapy at menopause and, if so, for
Abducted girl found
seven years later
Luz Cuevas took one look at the dim-
pled, dark-haired little girl at a birthday
party and instantly knew two things:
She was watching her own daughter -
presumed killed in a 1997 fire - and
she needed a way to prove it.
So Cuevas pretended the 6-year-old
girl had gum in her hair, removed five
strands from the child's head, folded
them in a napkin and placed them in a
plastic bag. "Because of TV I knew they
needed hair for the DNA." Cuevas said.
The DNA tests confirmed that the girl
was Cuevas's only daughter, Delimar
Vera. Investigators believe a family
acquaintance stole the 10-day-old baby
from her crib, set the fire to cover the
crime and raised the girl as her own.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
A U.S. Marine guarding the presidential palace walks by
Haitian policemen raising the flag in Port-au-Prince yesterday.
-- qAI- - -
in raKistan Using estrogen alone - as roughly
QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) - Attack-
ers sprayed gunfire and lobbed
grenades into a solemn religious pro-
cession of Shiite Muslims yesterday,
then blew themselves up as survivors
scattered. Authorities said at least 42
people died, and more than 160 were
Outraged Shiite Muslims rioted after
the massacre, prompting authorities to
call out troops and paramilitary police
to quell gunbattles and arson in this
southwestern city of 1.2 million. Shiite
mobs set fire to a Sunni Muslim
mosque, shops and a TV station.
"Our people are not safe at home,
they are not safe in mosques," said
Allama Hassan Turabi, a senior Shiite
The attack in Quetta came less than
two hours after coordinated blasts at
Shiite shrines killed more than 140
people in Iraq.
The bloodshed came on Ashoura, a
day when Islam's Shiite faithful mark
the death of a revered 7th-century
leader by marching in black and lash-
ing themselves in penitence.
In Pakistan, the emotional and high-
ly visible annual rites often spark vio-
lence between the Sunni Muslim
majority and Shiite minority.
Yesterday's attack was one of the
deadliest in years of repeated acts of
sectarian violence in Quetta. Baluchis-
tan province, of which Quetta is the
capital, holds a substantial Shiite
minority that is often at odds with radi-
cal Sunni groups.
As worshippers marched through a
congested neighborhood, three gunmen
opened fire and hurled grenades at the
crowd, said Mayor Abdul Rahim
Kakar, who was nearby at the time.
Walking among the survivors with
more explosives lashed to their bodies,
the men blew themselves up as police
Iul i f'
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