2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 13, 2004
WAR IN IRAQ
cease-fire between United
States and Iraqi militants
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - As a tenu-
ous cease-fire held in the Sunni city of
Fallujah, a radical Shiite cleric was on
the retreat yesterday, pulling his militia-
men out of parts of the holy city of Najaf
in hopes of averting a U.S. assault.
Still, a U.S. commander said the
American mission remained to "kill or
capture" the cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr.
Another toll from the week's violence:
More than 40 foreigners reportedly were
taken hostage by insurgents. Though a
dozen had been released Sunday and
yesterday, those still believed held
included three Japanese and American
truck driver Thomas Hamill, whose cap-
tors had threatened to kill them.
With quiet on both fronts, the scale of
Iraq's worst fighting since the fall of
Saddam Hussein became clearer: The
military reported about 70 coalition
troops and 700 Iraqi insurgents killed so
far this month. It was the biggest loss of
life on both sides since the end of major
combat a year ago.
A hospital official said more than 600
Iraqis were killed in Fallujah alone -
mostly women, children and the elderly.
The withdrawal of al-Sadr's al-Mahdi
Army militia from police stations and
government buildings in Najaf, Karbala
and Kufa was a key U.S. demand. But
al-Sadr followers rebuffed an American
demand to disband the militia, which
launched a bloody uprising in Baghdad
and the south this month.
"Al-Sadr issued instructions for his
followers to leave the sites of police
and the government," said lawyer Mur-
tada al-Janabi, al-Sadr's representatives
in the talks.
American troops were seen on the
outskirts of Najaf, where the radical
cleric is thought to be in his office. The
top U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen.
Ricardo Sanchez, said "the mission of
U.S. forces is to kill or capture Muqta-
The son of Iraq's most powerful Shiite
cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini
al-Sistani, met with al-Sadr in his office
yesterday, telling him al-Sistani rejects
any military move against al-Sadr and
the holy city, a person who attended the
meeting said, speaking on condition of
Al-Sistani is a moderate who has
shunned anti-American violence. In
addition to his son, the sons of Iraq's two
other grand ayatollahs also were at the
meeting, the source said.
U.S.-allied Iraqis were negotiating
separately with representatives from Fal-
lujah and al-Sadr.
The U.S. military has moved more
forces into both areas and is threatening
to push into the cities if talks fall
The burst of violence since April 4
has exposed weaknesses in Iraq's U.S.-
trained security forces. A battalion of the
Iraqi army refused to fight in Fallujah,
Sanchez said. And some police defected
to al-Sadr's forces, said Gen. John
Abizaid, the top commander of U.S.
forces in the Middle East.
In an effort to toughen the Iraqi
forces, Abizaid said the U.S. military
will reach out to former senior members
of Saddam's disbanded army - a rever-
sal in strategy. The military in the past
has tried to avoid relying on top officials
from the ousted regime.
NEWS IN BRIEF !_
HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
9/11 commission to question Ashcroft
The nation's top law enforcement officials say they recognized the threat
posed by al-Qaida in the months leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, but mem-
bers of the commission looking into the attacks say they want proof that con-
cern equaled action.
The panel begins a new two-day hearing today with testimony from former FBI
Director Louis Freeh, Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Attorney Gen-
eral Janet Reno. Thomas Pickard, who served as acting FBI director in the months
just before the attacks, and former CIA counterterrorism center director Cofer
Black also are scheduled to testify.
Aides to Ashcroft said he plans to rebut criticism that he was more focused on
issues such as illegal drugs and gun crimes than terrorism before the attacks.
They point to a May 9, 2001, Senate hearing in which Ashcroft testified his
agency had "no higher priority" than protecting against terrorist attacks.
In an article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Freeh said the FBI "relentlessly
did its job pursuing terrorists" before the attacks but was hampered by lack of
resources and political will.
MAA LEH ADUMIM, West Bank
Sharon seeks to keep parts of West Bank
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday named five large West Bank settlement
blocs he wants to keep as part of his final peace plan - and then sought U.S. sup-
port for the "disengagement" effort.
Sharon appeared to confirm Palestinian fears that Israel plans to withdraw from
the Gaza Strip and four smaller West Bank settlements in order to strengthen its
hold over other parts of the West Bank.
Sharon spoke just hours before leaving for Washington where he will ask Presi-
dent Bush to back the plan.
Bush said yesterday that he would welcome a Gaza withdrawal as a "positive
development," but it appears unlikely the U.S. president will meet Israel's request
- a U.S. declaration that Israel can keep part of the West Bank in a final peace
deal with the Palestinians.
Such a declaration would undermine the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan,
which envisions a Palestinian state by next year, with the borders to be negotiated
A Red Cross sign is reflected in a glass door of Canape Vert hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, yesterday. The international Committee
for the Red Cross has spent thousands on protection upgrades at hospitals in Port-au-Prince and Gonalves, Haiti's two largest cities.
T 1r 1 111TT 0 *e
In wake or rebeilion, tnaitian by both sides.
e * * Chemical company
hospitals increase security tocut 3,500 workers
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -
Large coils of new barbed wire run
along the fence outside Canape Vert
hospital, and an armed guard checks
visitors for weapons.
Hospital security is the biggest chal-
lenge for the International Committee
for the Red Cross in Haiti, where
patients have been shot or dragged away
by armed gangs during and after the
rebellion that ousted President Jean-
Bertrand Aristide in February.
"If tomorrow we have a similar crisis,
will people respect the hospitals and see
them as a place where the fighting
should stop?" asked Felipe Donoso,
head of the ICRC in Haiti. "The answer
at this point is no. There has been a ter-
rible erosion of values here."
The Geneva-based ICRC has spent
thousands of dollars upgrading security
at hospitals in the capital Port-au-Prince
and the northern city of Gonaives. The
group also is advising smaller hospitals
around the country on how to better
protect their facilities, Donoso said.
In the violent rebellion surrounding
Aristide's ouster on Feb. 29, hundreds
"If tomorrow we have
a similar crisis, will
people respect the
hospitals and see them
as a place where the
fighting should stop?"
- Felipe Donoso
Head of International Committee for
the Red Cross in Haiti
of wounded Haitians were brought to
hospitals such as Canape Vert.
But all too often, the fighting
between Aristide opponents and sup-
porters continued inside hospital halls.
Gun-toting gangs roamed the wards,
looking to finish off wounded enemies.
At least one man was killed in
Gonaives's public hospital, and rob-
beries and beatings occurred in hospi-
tals all over the country. Police were
just as likely as gangs to barge into
operating rooms looking for enemies,
"Aristide supporters and police
would rush in here and rough people
up," said Marys Edmond, a nurse at
Canape Vert. "It was not an easy
atmosphere to work in, and there's fear
it will be like that again."
A disarmament campaign by the
U.S.-led multinational force of
about 3,600 soldiers has barely
For a month after Aristide left,
French troops guarded Canape Vert
and other hospitals in Port-au-Prince.
Now, American, Canadian and
Chilean troops join the French in reg-
ularly patrolling them.
Josette Bijoux, Haiti's interim
health minister, said in a radio inter-
view that she had asked the multina-
tional force to increase hospital
patrols. "We are working mainly on
security right now," she said.
Last month, U.S. soldiers burst into
Canape Vert with M-16s at the ready,
pursuing a report of an injured Ameri-
can citizen. They later apologized.
DuPont Co. will eliminate 3,500
jobs, or about 6 percent of its global
work force, by the end of this year as
part of cost-cutting plans it announced
late last year.
The Wilmington-based chemical giant
said yesterday it will cut about 3,000
positions, roughly two-thirds of them in
the United States and Canada, and
expects to trim 500 jobs through attri-
tion. DuPont also will eliminate 450
contractor positions, most of them in the
The company announced in December
that it would trim $900 million in costs
over the next two years by cutting jobs,
streamlining product lines and making
other changes. Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer Charles Holliday Jr.
sent employees an e-mail yesterday.
Charities speak out
against tax revisions
Charities fear that potential donors
may conclude it's not worth the hassle
to donate used cars if Congress follows
through with plans to clamp down on
inflated tax deductions.
Lawmakers started looking into the
subject a year ago when government
auditors discovered a wide gap
between proceeds reaped by charities
and the value of donated cars claimed
on tax returns.
Charities sometimes make pennies
on the dollar of a car's estimated
The gap occurs because charities typ-
ically sell donated cars at dealer auc-
tions for wholesale prices. Donors
calculate their tax deductions by esti-
mating the car's retail value, sometimes
ignoring its condition and mileage.
Congress and the Treasury Department
want to narrow the gap.
Tribesmen ready to
negotiate with troops
A Pakistani army cordon tightening
around their mud-brick compounds,
leaders of a tribe along the Pakistan-
Afghanistan border say they are desper-
ate to avoid bloodshed as a deadline to
turn over al-Qaida suspects rapidly
Four elders of the Jani Khel tribe said
they are ready to negotiate with the mili-
tary, although the leaders insist they
aren't harboring foreign terrorists and
their mountainous land is too forbidding
for Osama bin Laden and his men.
The elders descended the rugged peaks
of Shawal, in North Waziristan, to meet
with The Associated Press this weekend
and give their side of the conflict.
- Compiled fom Daily wire reports
Court OKs national Ephedra ban
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A federal
judge allowed a nationwide ban on
dietary supplements containing ephedra
to take effect yesterday, turning aside a
plea from two manufacturers.
Ephedra, once hugely popular for
weight loss and bodybuilding, has
been linked to 155 deaths, including
that of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve
Bechler a year ago.
U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano
refused to grant a temporary restrain-
ing order that would have prevented
the Food and Drug Administration
from banning the products.
After years of fighting manufacturers
over the risks, the FDA announced in
December that it was banning the sale
of the amphetamine-like herb -- the
first such ban of a dietary supplement.
"These products pose unacceptable
health risks, and any consumers who
are still using them should stop imme-
diately," Health and Human Services
Secretary Tommy Thompson said.
NVE Pharmaceuticals of Newton,
manufacturer of the diet supplement
Stacker 2, had hoped to head off the
ban, arguing its product is safe if used
as directed. It was joined by a second
company, the National Institute for
Clinical Weight Loss, manufacturer of
a product called Thermalean.
The judge said the manufacturers did
not meet several legal requirements,
including proving that they are likely to
win the case and that they would suffer
irreparable harm if the ban took effect.
Pisano's ruling means the ban will be
in effect at least until NVE's lawsuit can
be heard. No trial date has been set.
Ephedra sales already had plummet-
ed because of publicity about the risks,
especially after Bechler's death a year
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ago. Three states - New York, Illinois
and California - prohibited the stimu-
lant on their own.
"Ephedra has killed more than 100
individuals and injured thousands of
others," said Bruce Silverglade, legal
director of the Washington-based Cen-
ter for Science in the Public Interest.
"The only problem is, it took the FDA
almost 10 years to ban the substance."
Unlike medications, which must be
proven safe and effective before they
are allowed to be sold, federal law
allows dietary supplements to be mar-
keted without any such proof. To curb
a supplement, the FDA must show it
poses a significant health threat.
NVE maintains that the FDA failed
to prove such a threat if the supplement
is taken correctly, and was swayed by
the outcry over ephedra deaths.
"The FDA chose to ignore valid sci-
ence that showed that there wasn't a
problem," said Walter Timpone, a
lawyer for NVE. "In 1999, (there were)
104 deaths as a result of aspirin inges-
tion. Are we going to ban aspirin now?"
Andrew Clark, a Justice Department
lawyer arguing the case for the FDA,
said the ban is based on sound science.
Research shows ephedra can speed
heart rate and constrict blood vessels
even in seemingly healthy people, and
is particularly risky for those who have
heart disease or high blood pressure or
engage in strenuous exercise.
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