2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 ____
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WASHINGTON (AP) - As Con-
gress started to digest a new Bush
administration request of $80 billion
to bankroll wars in Iraq and Afghani-
stan, its top budget analyst yesterday
projected $855 billion in deficits for
the next decade even without the costs
of war and President Bush's Social
Three senior administration officials
said the White House would request
$80 billion for the wars, or a bit more,
soon after Bush submits his budget for
fiscal 2006 to lawmakers on Feb. 7.
The officials, who spoke on condition
of anonymity because the program has
not yet been announced, said $75 billion
of it would be for U.S. military costs,
with the rest including funds to train
and equip Iraqi and Afghan forces, aid
the new Palestinian leadership, build an
embassy in Baghdad and help victims of
warfare in Sudan's Darfur province.
Congress approved $25 billion for the
wars last summer. Using figures com-
piled by the Congressional Research
Service, which prepares reports for law-
makers, the newest request would push
the totals provided for the conflicts and
worldwide efforts against terrorism past
$300 billion. That includes $25 billion
already provided for rebuilding Iraq and
In a written statement, Bush said the
money would support U.S. troops and
help the United States "stand with the
Iraqi people and against the terrorists
trying desperately to block democracy
and the advance of human rights."
Amid the White House's prepara-
tions, the Congressional Budget Office
predicted the government will accumu-
late another $855 billion in deficits over
the next decade.
The projection, for the years 2006
through 2015, is almost two-thirds
smaller than what congressional bud-
get analysts predicted last fall. The
drop is due largely to quirks in budget
estimates that required the agency to
exclude future Iraq and Afghanistan
war costs and other expenses. Last
September, the 10-year deficit esti-
mate was $2.3 trillion.
The CBO also projected this year's
shortfall will be $368 billion. That was
close to the $348 billion deficit for 2005
that it had forecast last fall. The two
largest deficits ever in dollar terms were
last year's $412 billion and the $377 bil-
lion gap of 2003.
The budget office estimated that
if U.S. troop strength in Iraq and
Afghanistan declines gradually after
2006, those wars would add $590 bil-
lion to deficits over the next decade.
Including war costs, this year's short-
fall should hit about $400 billion, the
budget office said.
hB 19 ^
WASHINGTON (AP) - Presi-
dent Bush told black leaders yesterday
that his plan to add private accounts to
Social Security would benefit blacks
since they tend to have shorter lives than
some other Americans and end up pay-
ing in more than they get out.
Social Security was one of many
issues that came up during Bush's pri-
vate meeting with 14 clergy and 10 lead-
ers from business and nonprofit groups.
Exit polls showed that Bush received
just 11 percent of the black vote in Novem-
ber's election, a slight increase over the 9
percent he received four years earlier.
Bush and his strategists are under
no illusions of winning the black
vote for Republicans in the near
future. But they believe that any,
advances on this and other minority
voting blocks could make the differ-
ence in close elections.
Bush planned to meet with the Con-
gressional Black Caucus, a group of 43
Democrats today. The caucus had an
adversarial relationship with Bush in
his first term, but Rep. Melvin Watt (D-
N.C.) the group's new chairman, said
members are hoping to find common
ground with Bush in his new term.
Manv of the neonle at the meeting
American pleads for his life on video
An American hostage pleaded for his life with a rifle pointed at his head in a video
released yesterday, while nine Iraqis, including a senior judge, were killed in a series of
attacks that highlighted the security risks ahead of this weekend's elections.
On a day that the U.S. military said six American soldiers had died, interim Prime
Minister Ayad Allawi also said the time was not right to talk of a U.S. troop withdrawal.
Iraq must first build up its security forces to confront the insurgents, Allawi said.
In the video, hostage Roy Hallums spoke slowly, rubbing his hands as he sat with
the barrel of the rifle inches from his head. He said he had been arrested by a "resis-
tance group" because "I have worked with American forces." He appealed to Arab
leaders, including Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, to save his life.
Yushchenko pushes for EU membership
New Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko told Europe's top human rights
body yesterday that his nation would push through democratic reforms to prepare itself
for a bid to gain membership in the European Union.
Yushchenko began his push for closer ties to the West by declaring, "We see our-
selves as Europeans." He added that European Union strategy has to include the pros-
pect of Ukraine membership.
"Inside the country, we are going to reorganize the government so the process of
integration into the EU becomes a real one," Yushchenko told legislators from the 46-
nation Council of Europe.
"One cannot open European doors with rhetoric but with performance. That is what
my government will do,"he said.
Even though the EU has excluded so far possible membership for Ukraine,
Yushchenko insisted the strategy of the 25-nation bloc "has to comprise the
He called EU membership "a simple formula for well-being and security."
New technology to help border security
U.S. officials want to see if the same technology that speeds cars through
highway tolls and identifies lost pets can unclog border crossings without
Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson announced Yesterday that the
government will begin testing radio frequency identification technology at this crossing
and four others by midsummer.
Weeding out potential terrorists, drug dealers and other criminals from
shoppers, truckers and tourists who regularly pass through border cross-
ings takes time. The RFID technology is designed to reduce the wait while
giving authorities more information on who's coming into the country and
More students pass Advanced Placement tests
In every state and the District of Columbia, more students are passing at least one
Advanced Placement test, a sign of progress in a nation eager to improve college prepa-
ration, the College Board reported yesterday.
Significant gaps remain, however, as AP participation booms nationwide, accord-
ing to the first state-by-state report in the 50-year history of the college-level testing
program. Many students enter college without having passed an AP test, and black stu-
dents have distinct challenges, with low test participation and test scores a level behind
those of whites.
Across the country, 13.2 percent of the high school class of 2004 demonstrated
mastery of at least one AP course, up from 10.2 percent from the 2000 class.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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