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April 09, 2004 - Image 2

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 9, 2004

NATION/WORLD

Rice defends Bush's 9/11 actions NEWS IN BRIEF
HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE WOLD
WASHINGTON (AP) - Under con- .Rtheir Texas ranch, watched Rice's testi-
tentious questioning, national security mony on television. RAMALLAH, West Bank
adviser Condoleezza Rice testified yes- The appearance struck sparks on n C about l
terday "there was no silver bullet that mattrssofformandssustanc.sti c about e~Alct in

could have prevented" the deadly terror
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and disputed
suggestions that President Bush failed to
focus on the threat of strikes in advance.
Bush "understood the threat, and
he understood its importance," she
told a national commission investi-
gating the worst terror attacks in the
nation's history.
In nearly three hours in the witness
chair, Rice stoutly defended Bush when
Democrats on the commission raised
questions based on an Aug. 6 classified
memo titled "Bin Laden determined to
attack inside United States."
Her appearance, televised national-
ly, also contained a series of implicit
and explicit rebuttals to a series of
politically damaging charges made
two weeks ago by former terrorism
aide Richard Clarke.
Unlike Clarke, Rice offered no apolo-
gy for the failure to prevent the attacks.
Instead, with relatives of the Sept. 11
victims inside the packed hearing room,
she said, "as an officer of government
on duty that day, I will never forget the
sorrow and the anger I felt."
Rice was the only public witness
of the day, although the commission

Several Democrats urged Rice to
keep her answers shorter, saying their
time for questions was limited.
Richard Ben-Veniste, a Democratic
member of the commission, first raised
the issue of the classified memo, saying
it reported that "preparations were being
made consistent with hijackings within
the United States."
Rice described it differently. "It was
historical information based on old
reporting. There was no new threat
information. And it did not, in fact,
warn of any coming attacks inside the
United States," she said.
Thomas Kean, the commission's
Republican chairman, said at the
hearing's end that the panel has asked
to have a document declassified.
National Security Council spokesman
Sean McCormack said later, "We
have every intention" of doing so,
possibly by day's end.
Relatives of the victims applauded at
several points when former Sen. Bob
Kerrey and others challenged Rice's
testimony. Her turn in the witness chair
over, Bush's aide shook hands with
several of relatives, telling one she was
sorry for her loss.

The Palestinian foreign minister said yesterday an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza
could clear the way for long-delayed elections that would include militant groups
- a sign that power-sharing talks could give Islamic groups an official role,
despite U.S. and Israeli misgivings. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has pro-
posed a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and a smaller pullback in the West Bank
in the absence of peace moves. Though the Gaza pullout is not expected for up to a
year, the prospect has led to a flurry of meetings among Palestinian factions and
speculation about how strong the Islamic militant groups' influence would be
afterward. Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said Palestinians are "enthu-
siastic" about new elections after the Israelis leave.
"We hope this (withdrawal) will pave the road for a Palestinian general election
with participation with Hamas," he told The Associated Press. Hamas leaders
were not available for comment. Palestinians have had only one general election
since the Palestinian Authority was set up in 1994. Hamas boycotted the 1996
voting, refusing to recognize the Palestinian Authority, set up in an interim peace
accord with Israel. Hamas does not accept a Jewish state in the Middle East.
BOSTON
Princeton seeks to fight inflation of grades
College grades have been creeping steadily upward for 30 years, but Princeton
University may try to break the trend by rationing the number of A's that can be
awarded. The proposal has academics wondering already about the possible
impact at other schools.
In what would be.the strongest measure to combat grade inflation by an elite
university, Princeton faculty will vote later this month on a plan that would
require each academic department to award an A-plus, A or A-minus for no
more than 35 percent of its grades. A's have been awarded 46 percent of the time
in recent years at Princeton, up from 31 percent in the mid-1970s. Since 1998,
the New Jersey school has been encouraging its faculty to crack down, but
marks have kept rising. Finally, Princeton administrators decided that the only
solution would be to ration top grades.
"I think it's tremendously significant that Princeton is doing this, and I do
think it will have a ripple effect," said Bradford Wilson, executive director of the
National Association of Scholars, a group that has spoken out against grade
inflation, and also a part-time teacher at Princeton.

*I

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is sworn in before testifying to the
independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attack yesterday In Washington.
later questioned former President although he will be joined by Vice
Bill Clinton privately for more than President Dick Cheney.
three hours. Bush also has agreed to White House officials said the presi-

meet in private with the panel,

dent and his wife, Laura, at home on

SOLE
Continued from Page 1.
information.
The committee also suggested that the University con-
sult with its licensees, as well as the Collegiate Licensing
Company, the Workers' Rights Consortium and the Fair
Labor Association, to find the best method to collect
wage data and a systematic way to deal with noncompli-
ant licensees.
In an e-mail sent to the committee, Coleman said she "com-
mends the members of the committee for their diligence,
thoughtfulness and dedication."
Committee chair Sioban Harlow said she is pleased with
Coleman's rapid reply.
"She clearly takes the issue seriously, and I look forward
to her response," Harlow said.
SOLE member Diana Parker emphasized how much effort
SOLE has put into bringing attention to the issue.
"Wage disclosure has been one of our two major campaigns
this semester," she said. The other main project has been to
support LEO negotiations with the University.
The advisory committee will meet again April 16 to
determine their next step, based on how the administration
responds.
The committee plans to continue working with the Universi-
ty on the issue regardless of the board's final decision. SOLE
members said they will hold a rally that day to increase student
awareness on the issue.
"We're going to have to step up the pressure and prove to the
executive board that students support wage disclosure," SOLE
member Marlowe Coolican said.

Iraqi militants kidnap
three Japanese civilians

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - In a dramatic video
released yesterday, insurgents revealed they had
kidnapped three Japanese and threatened to burn
them alive in three days unless Japan agrees to
withdraw its troops from Iraq.
Armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled
grenades, the kidnappers shouted "Allahu akbar"
- God is great - in the video and held knives to
the throats of the Japanese, who screamed and
whimpered in terror. Japan's government said it
has no plans to pull troops out of Iraq in response
to the threat, which came amid a series of other
kidnappings targeting civilians.
In addition, fighting continued in Fallujah
where insurgents fought U.S. troops from two
mosques. Some of the worst violence since the
U.S. invaded Iraq almost 13 months ago, has
occurred in this southern city in the past week.
. Two Arab residents of east Jerusalem _ one an
Israeli citizen working for a U.S. aid group -
and seven South Korean Christian missionaries
were detained Thursday, though the Koreans were
released.

The events suggested a new tactic by insurgents
to pressure the governments of Washington's allies
in Iraq, and posed dire implications for U.N. work-
ers, journalists, religious groups, security person-
nel and other civilians doing business here.
Foreigners have been detained by gunmen for
brief periods in the past - usually in robberies -
and Iraqi citizens have been kidnapped and held
for ransom by criminals. But this was the first time
foreigners have been snatched for political reasons,
and the first such dramatic video ultimatum.
The Arabic TV station AI-Jazeera, broadcasting
to Iraq and the rest of the Arab world, aired por-
tions of the video of the Japanese hostages
released by a previously unknown group calling
itself the "Mujahedeen Squadrons." It showed two
men and one woman surrounded by gunmen wear-
ing black, and close-ups of the captives' passports.
Al-Jazeera editors said the three were taken
hostage in southern Iraq, where black-clad Shiite
militiamen have been engaged in an uprising this
week. The exact date of their capture was not
known. ;

WASHINGTON
President ready to
sign new pension bill
The Senate sent to the president yes-
terday legislation that could save
employer sponsors of pension plans
$80 billion over the next two years.
This. money could provide a sub-
stantial boost to business investment
and hiring around the country.
The 78-19 vote on the pension relief
bill came just a week before many con-
tributors to single employer plans have
to make quarterly payments, and means
that millions of dollars that would have
had to go into pension funds can be
diverted to more immediately produc-
tive activities.
The White House called the Sen-
ate vote "a victory for millions of
Americans who count on pensions
for their retirement," saying it will
"help protect the integrity" of work-
ers' pensions.
WASHINGTON
Gas prices will rise
in next few months
Gasoline prices will rise another nickel
a gallon nationwide before the end of
June but return to current levels before
fall, the government said yesterday, warn-
ing of possible price spikes especially in
the Northeast and West Coast markets.

The Energy Department estimated that
the average price at the pump - $1.78 a
gallon in the latest survey this week -
would continue to rise in the coming
months, averaging about $1.81 a gallon
for the three months ending in June.
Prices over the April to September
period were expected to average $1.76 a
gallon nationwide, a record high for the
summer driving season and 20 cents a
gallon more than last year, according to
the Energy Information Administration
summer fuels report released yesterday.
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio
Businessman hopes
to offset job losses
The Bush administration yesterday
tapped a California businessman as
manufacturing czar, making the
announcement at a factory in a state hit
hard by job losses. The announcement
came about a month after the first pick
for the job was criticized for cutting
U.S. jobs and shifting work to China.
Commerce Secretary Don Evans said
the administration would nominate Al
Frink, co-founder of a rug and carpet
company, as assistant commerce secre-
tary of manufacturing and services.
Frink is subject to Senate confirmation.
Evans made the announcement at Ariel
Corp., which employs 460 people at its
natural gas compressor plant in Ohio.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports

4

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