2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 20, 2005
to curb growing
violence in Israel
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP)
- Israeli and Palestinian leaders met
yesterday to discuss ways to stop mili-
tants from firing rockets and mortars
in Gaza, heading off the possibility of
a large-scale Israeli invasion to curb
the surging violence.
The decision came as the top Pales-
tinian security chief ordered a deploy-
ment of troops along the Gaza-Israel
frontier to stop the attacks - the first
concrete steps to rein in militants since
the election of Palestinian leader Mah-
Israel broke off contacts with Abbas's
government after a Jan. 13 attack on a
vital Gaza-Israel crossing point killed
six Israelis. But the ban came under
criticism from the United States, the
United Nations, Egypt and Jordan -
and it lasted only a few days.
After a meeting of his Security Cab-
inet on yesterday, Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon's office issued a statement say-
ing "a security meeting will be held at
the field commander level to coordi-
nate security steps."
Israeli officials said the meet-
ing convened at the Erez crossing
between northern Gaza and Israel.
Brig. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, represent-
ing the Israelis, met Palestinian public
security director Maj. Gen. Moussa
Arafat. Israel Army Radio reported
that Arafat presented a detailed plan
to deploy hundreds of armed police
in the border area to halt the rocket
fire, and Kochavi was to deliver it to
Israel's defense minister.
The sudden turnabout defused esca-
lating tension that appeared to be lead-
ing toward an Israeli invasion, clashes
with Palestinian gunmen and possibly
dozens of casualties.
Israel's Security Cabinet was con-
sidering military action to stop the bar-
rages of mortars and rockets aimed at
Jewish settlements and Israeli towns
just outside Gaza, when the Palestin-
ian leadership called for security talks
toward cooperation in ending the vio-
lence, officials said.
The appeal, coupled with the decision
by the Palestinian police commander to
deploy forces along the border to stop
the rocket attacks, was enough for Isra-
el's new, more moderate government
to put off a military strike and give
renewed talks a chance.
Dalia Itzik, a Cabinet minister from
the dovish Labor Party, said Israeli
pressure led to Palestinian pledges for
action. "It's good that they're going to
talk," she told Army Radio.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Car bombings sweep across Baghdad
Insurgents unleashed a wave of car bombings across the capital yesterday, kill-
ing about a dozen people, despite stepped-up U.S. and Iraqi measures to protect
this month's elections. North of Baghdad, insurgents killed a British security offi-
cer and kidnapped a Japanese engineer, officials said.
Gunmen fired on the Baghdad office of a major Kurdish party and two senior
officials escaped assassination in separate attacks in the north.
The U.S. military put the death toll from the day's Baghdad bombings at
26, saying the number was based on initial reports at the scene. Iraqi offi-
cials gave a lower toll - 12 people killed in the bombings and one at the
Sunni Muslim insurgents have threatened to disrupt the elections, and the
five car bombings - four within a span of 90 minutes - underscored the grave
threat facing Iraqis at this watershed in their history. U.S. and Iraqi forces have
stepped up raids and arrests in Baghdad, Mosul and other troublespots as the
MINA, Saudi Arabia
Pilgris perform one of final ha"U rituals
Thousands of pilgrims began one of the final rituals of the hajj early today, each
throwing seven pebbles at large stone pillars symbolizing the devil.
The majority of the 2 million pilgrims who have come here from around the
world will perform the rite around midday, but those who completed the ceremony
early acted under a fatwa, or religious edict, issued last year that allowed the ston-
ing before the dawn prayers.
"We were worried about the crowds and we had heard some real horror stories
so we feel much better that we made it here early," said Ahmed Sodikin, 56, from
Yesterday, the pilgrims had converged on nearby Mount Arafat, where Islam's
7th century prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon in the year 632, three months
before his death.
Saudi Arabia's top cleric, speaking at a mosque near Mount Arafat, lamented
the violence waged by Muslim militants against Saudi Arabia and complained that
that a hostile world was conspiring against Islam.
Increased bacteria levels found in airliners
Asking for bottled water or a canned drink aboard an airliner might be the safest way
to fly. Coliform bacteria are showing up in more airliners than last summer when the
government first took steps toward requiring sanitation improvements.
The Environmental Protection Agency will now have domestic airlines
test themselves and submit results to the agency to see if the trend contin-
ues. Some self-sampling has begun, and airlines are adapting their routine
disinfections to meet EPA guidance.
Airlines now must disinfect water systems every three months and water
carts and hoses leading to aircraft monthly.
Voluminous dance group breaks stereotype
Cuban ballet dancers in white glide across the floor, executing an airy blend of pirou-
ettes and back stretches. Within seconds, spectators are captivated, quickly forgetting what
at first they could not overlook - most of the dancers weigh more than 200 pounds.
Six dancers between the ages of 23 and 41 make up the island's Voluminous
Dance group, which has presented about 20 works and is preparing its current
show, "Una muerte dulce," or "A Sweet Death," for the spring.
"It's incredible how they utilize their roundness," Mirta Castro, a tourist from
Costa Rica, said as she watched the dancers rehearsing in Havana. "It breaks free
of the belief that dance is only for slender people."
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
Palestinians examine a building destroyed by Israeli forces during an Israeli army
operation in the West Bank city of Nablus early yesterday. The troops demolished
the house, while another house burst into flames after It was hit by a tank shell.
Rice wins support from Senate cmte
WASHINGTON (AP) - Condoleez-
za Rice won strong but not unanimous
endorsement as secretary of state from
a Senate panel yesterday, assuring skep-
tical Democrats she welcomed debate
about the nation's foreign policy course
and would not sugarcoat advice to Presi-
If confirmed by the full Senate as
expected, Rice would be the first black
woman to hold the post. Confirmation
had been expected as soon as today, but
Democrats said they wanted more time,
at least until next week.
"We can certainly have, I think, a
healthy debate about the course that we
should take going forward," Rice said
before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee voted 16-2 to recommend
"We've had to make a lot of deci-
sions, some of them good, some of them
bad," she said in apparent response to
sometimes forceful questioning about
the Iraq war, terrorism planning and
"My assessments may not always
be ones that you want to hear. They
may not always be ones with which
you agree. But I will tell you what I
think," Rice said.
Jim Manley, a spokesman for Sen-
ate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of
Nevada, said Democrats would not
seek to prevent Rice's confirmation,
although several were expected to
vote against her.
The vote by the full Senate is expect-
ed next Wednesday, he said.
Rice would succeed Colin Powell
at the State Department after serv-
ing four years as Bush's White House
national security adviser and closest
foreign policy confidante.
Powell said goodbye to State Depart-
ment employees yesterday but will stay
until Rice is confirmed.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) invoked
Powell's reputation as a voice of caution
outside Bush's inner circle.
"Your predecessor had a reputation of
being willing to maybe tell the president
some things that he didn't always want
to hear," Obama said.
He urged Rice "to display some
independence" and question the White
"My assessments may not always be ones that
you want to hear. They may not always be
ones with which you agree. But I will tell you
what I think."
- Condoleezza Rice
National Security Advisor
In nearly 10 hours of Senate question-
ing over two days, Rice displayed both
her famous loyalty to Bush and a prom-
ise to speak her mind to her boss and his
"I have no difficulty telling the presi-
dent exactly what I think. I've done that
for four years," Rice replied to Obama.
"Sometimes he agrees and sometimes
Her counsel will remain private, Rice
said, and no one should expect her to
reveal any differences with Bush as sec-
retary of state.
"I want to be clearly understood: We
are one administration, with the presi-
dent in the lead," she said.
Former presidential candidate
John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bar-
bara Boxer (D-Calif.) were the only
two votes against Rice, but a few
other Democrats on the committee
said they voted for her with some
Rice was not candid in assessing the
administration's record on Iraq and gave
evasive or unhelpful answers to ques-
tions about the U.S. position on torture,
plans for dealing with nuclear ambitions
in Iran and other topics, Democrats told
WED. CLOSE.. CHANGE
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