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March 04, 2004 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-04

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 4, 2004

Disney ousts Eisner as chairman NEWS IN BRIEF

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Diney board unanimouly
votes to name member George
Mitchell new chainnan
Walt Disney Co.'s board voted late
yesterday to split the roles of chairman
and chief executive, hours after share-
holders delivered a stinging rebuke by
withholding 43 percent of their votes
for CEO Michael Eisner's re-election
to the board.
Disney directors voted unanimously
at the company's annual meeting to
make board member George Mitchell
the company's new chairman even as
they voiced their continuing approval
of Eisner's management and the com-
pany's strategy.
Stockholders have been grumbling
that Eisner has mismanaged the enter-
tainment company and presided over a
slump in profits. The size of the no-
confidence vote was larger than many
had expected, and represented a victo-
ry for Stanley Gold and Roy Disney,
former board members who have been
leading a shareholder revolt against
Eisner and have called for his ouster.
Eisner is running for re-election
unopposed, so his job was in no imme-
diate danger.
But the depth of shareholder dissat-
isfaction could lead to other steps,

company simply to split the roles of
chairman and CEO. "Michael Eisner
must leave now," Gold said. "We see
today's meeting as a first step toward
saving the company.... We are seeking
real and meaningful change."
Several major pension funds repre-
senting millions of Disney shares
joined the disaffected camp and said
they would withhold their approval
from Eisner and several board mem-
bers. Eisner defended his management
team. "Disney's record of creating
value is indisputable. ... We are a very
well-managed company," he said.
Disney executives noted the compa-
ny's stock has risen more than 40 per-
cent in the past year, and the company
has said earnings per share will rise 30
percent this year and by double digits
through 2007.
Charles Elson, director at the Center
for Corporate Governance at the Uni-
versity of Delaware, called the 43 per-
cent figure against Eisner a
"phenomenal number."
Disney is under intense pressure
from state pension funds and proxy
advisory firms to split the chairman
and CEO jobs.
Meanwhile, Comcast Corp., the
cable television giant that -last month
made an unsolicited bid for Disney,
urged the board to take a new look at
the takeover offer.

Haitian rebels promise to disarm forces

Rebel leader Guy Philippe said yesterday his forces would disarm as U.S.
Marines fanned out in the capital - rifles at the ready - to help bring order
amid Haiti's bloody uprising. Earlier, Washington warned the rebels, who
overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after seizing the northern half of
the country, to disarm and disband.
"Now that there are foreign troops promising to protect the Haitian people
... and they have given the guarantee to protect the Haitian people ... we will
lay down our arms," Philippe told a news conference.
In their first reconnaissance sweep since arriving Sunday, a convoy of
Marines in Humvees and armored vehicles rumbled out of the presidential
National Palace as troops on foot moved onto surrounding streets.
They patrolled an area stretching 30 blocks, pushing old burned-out cars
from the road. The Marines met no resistance and then returned to the palace.
Despite the rebel vow to disarm, a gun battle erupted yesterday between
rebels and militant Aristide loyalists in their stronghold, the seaside La
Salines slum.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
Israeli forces kill three members of Hamas
An Israeli helicopter fired two missiles at a car driving through the Gaza
Strip yesterday, killing three members of the Hamas militant group.
The army said all three passengers were senior Hamas militants who had
recently carried out many terrorist attacks against civilian targets and were plan-
ning more. The car was traveling along a Palestinian road not far from the Jew-
ish settlement of Netzarim. "A missile from the sky hit the car," said Ahmed
Asmat, 35, a farmer who was working about 100 yards from the explosion.
Flames engulfed the vehicle and intense gunfire rang out from the direction
of the settlement, about 500 yards away.
Palestinians ran to the car, throwing sand on the burning wreckage and beat-
ing the flames with coats and scarves. One man used a blanket to lift a charred,
decapitated body out of the car and heave it onto a stretcher.
Some in the crowd lashed out at Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority.
"I spit on' the Palestinian Authority and those who brought them here," one
person at the scene screamed.

Roy Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, enters a news conference after shareholders
voted to withhold support of Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner.


such as a separation of the chairman
and CEO roles, both of which he cur-
rently holds, or possibly his ouster. In
his opening remarks, Eisner defended
his 20-year record at Disney's helm.
"I love this company," Eisner said.
"The board loves this company. And
we are all passionate about the output
of this company."

Eisner acknowledged the perform-
ance at Disney's ABC network was
"disappointing," but said Disney has
"the management skills and creative
talent to continue its growth path."
Gold and Roy Disney went slightly
over the 15 minutes they were allotted
to present their case against Eisner,
saying it was not sufficient for the

Oregon coun issues
gay marnage icenses

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A new front in the
battle over same-sex marriage opened yesterday
in Portland, where county officials issued dozens
of licenses to gay couples after deciding that Ore-
gon law allowed the unions.
New York's attorney general, meanwhile, said
gay weddings in that state are illegal, even though
he personally would like to see the law changed.
His opinion didn't deter a second mayor in the
state from announcing not.only that he would
conduct gay marriages, but that he intends to
marry his own same-sex partner.
Mayors and county officials in four states have
allowed gay marriages, including thousands in

San Francisco, which started the wedding march
Feb. 12.
The marriages have met with fierce opposition
and calls for a constitutional amendment banning
the unions.
In Portland, more than 150 gay couples lined
up to get marriage licenses after Multnomah
County officials decided it would be unconstitu-
tional to deny them.
Among those getting licenses was Christine
Tanner, who won a landmark Oregon court rul-
ing in 1998 ordering state and local govern-
ments to offer benefits to their employees'
same-sex partners.

Shiites and Sunnis
rally together in Iraq
Shiite clerics joined Sunni preachers
in a march of thousands of mostly
black-clad men yesterday, trying to
keep sectarian passions in check after a
horrific attack on Shiite pilgrims that
raised fears of civil war.
U.S. and Iraqi officials disagreed
over how many people died in Tues-
day's bombings in Baghdad and Kar-
bala - the deadliest here since the fall
of Saddam Hussein.
The Iraqi Governing Council said'
271 people were killed. U.S. officials
put the toll at 117.
The attacks --- at some of the holi-
est shrines of Shiite Islam and on the
most sacred day in the Shiite calen-
dar - threatened to turn Shiites
against Sunnis if the bombers were
found to have been Iraqi Sunni

Stephen Knox, left, and Eric Warshaw of Portland, Ore. hold their
children after the couple's marriage yesterday. Multnomah County
began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples yesterday.

tions about McVeigh's whereabouts on
certain dates that were left unanswered
by his public statements and the evi-
dence, the officials told The Associat-
ed Press.
The plan was scrapped when the
government couldn't resolve who
would attend the interview or how it
would be conducted.
Officials also became distracted by
the belated discovery of some 4,000
pages of documents that had not been
turned over to McVeigh's defense dur-
ing his trial.
Parents boycott Girl
Scouts over sex ed
Some families are boycotting Thin
Mints and Do-Si-Dos and other Girl
Scout cookies. Troop 7527 is down to
just two members after the other girls
were withdrawn by their parents. And
Brownie Troop 7087 is no more.
Why are folks in this conservative
Texas town where President Bush has
his ranch so mad at the Girl Scout
organization? Planned Parenthood and
sex education. The furor was started a
few weeks ago by the leader of the
anti-abortion group Pro-Life Waco,
who sent out e-mails and ran ads on a
Christian radio station urging people
to boycott Girl Scout cookies because
of the "cozy relationship" between the
Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports

5 Watch the Wolverines dominate the Spartans.. . Just like
in football!
4 To see Sparty cry as Michigan State loses in hockey
once again.
3 Because contrary to popular belief, "The Cold
War" is not over!
2 Go hoarse singing "Hail to the Victors" as
the Wolverines pile up goals.
I To see why Sports illustrated called
the U of M vs. MSU game the "Fiercest
rivalry on ice"!F


banp assesFBI says interview
with McVeigh failed
1 As the clock ticked toward Timot
A McVeigh's execution, senior FB


PARIS (AP) - A law banning
Islamic headscarves in France's pub-
lic schools was overwhelmingly
adopted yesterday in the Senate
despite protests by many French
Muslims that the measure is discrim-
The 276 to 20 vote mirrored simi-
lar support by the National Assembly,
the lower chamber of parliament,
which passed it 494 to 36 on Feb. 10.
President Jacques Chirac must now
formally sign it into law within 15
days. He had said such a law was
needed to protect the French principle
of secularism.'
The law forbids religious apparel
and signssthat "conspicuously show"
a student's religious affiliation. While
Jewish skullcaps and large Christian
crosses would also be banned, author-
ities have made clear that it is aimed
at removing Islamic headscarves
from classrooms.
The measure is to take effect with
the start of the new school year in
There are an estimated 5 million
Muslims in mostly Roman Catholic
France - the largest Muslim popula-
tion in Western Europe.
There was never any doubt the
measure would be passed.
The Senate, which like the lower
house is controlled by conservatives
such as Chirac, still had to dismiss 23
proposed amendments raised in two
days of debate. The amendments
were offered mainly by the left.
The law is to be re-examined after a
year in force to see whether "conspic-
uous" should be replaced by "visible."
The opposition Socialists had
argued during the lower house
debate that "visible" is a less-
ambiguous term that would make the
law easier to apply.

agents pressed behind closed doors for
permission to interview the convicted
Oklahoma City bomber, but the plan
never materialized amid internal dis-
agreements, officials say.
The agents wanted to resolve ques-

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