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January 06, 2005 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


U.S. pushes for
global tsunami
warning system


The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 6.

- SA

...._. .p .. . ....... .,....... .,.. .... .l .. ...

WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States is moving
on several fronts toward a global tsunami warning system
following the Asian catastrophe.
A design is emerging from the State Department's
Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN) for pro-
tecting huge populations in coastal areas, and will be
presented to the United Nations-sponsored World Confer-
ence on Disaster Reduction this month in Kobe, Japan.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, (D-Conn.), is proposing legis-
lation to have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration establish a system of up to 50 buoy-
based sensors throughout the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic
oceans and the Caribbean Sea. The system would need
the cooperation of other coastal nations.
"We're already looking into the practical elements of
what such a system would be, what it would cost and who
would run it," said Larry Roeder, a top State Department
policy adviser for disaster management, who heads the
GDIN. "There has been talk over the years that maybe we
should have a global system, but it's expensive."
Commerce Secretary-nominee Carlos Gutierrez said at
his Senate confirmation hearing yesterday that "develop-
ing greater analytical and predictive capabilities ... with
regard to potentially hazardous weather and maritime
conditions" will be one of his top priorities.
Roeder said that because of a massive movement of

population to coastal areas there are "lots of other parts of
the world where you have large population centers along
the coast, and that's one of the reasons we've been seeing
lots of disasters."
The GDIN has conducted experiments based on real
crises in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia, even
simulating a response to an earthquake in Russia, In
the case of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake Dec. 26 in the
Indian Ocean, however, there were no instruments to let
scientists know the massive tsunami was on the way.
It was two hours after the quake that NOAA officials
learned through Internet wire service reports that a tsu-
nami had hit Sri Lanka, which does not participate in the
Pacific warning system.
Had those instruments been in place, NOAA Admin-
istrator Conrad C. Lautenbacher says, thousands of lives
might have been spared.
Scientists in Australia also are designing an Indian
Ocean warning system that they say could be built within
a year for about $20 million, but that cost doesn't include
the communications links needed to warn people in coast-
al communities to flee before the giant waves arrive.
Such a system would have about 30 seismographs to
detect earthquakes and about 10 tidal gauges and six
special buoys for deep ocean assessment and reporting
of tsunamis.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, second from left, speaks with an Indonesian tsunami patient under the care of
the Australian Defence Force Aero Medical Evacuation team in Banda Aceh, Indonesia on yesterday.

Sharon warns opponents of settlement pullout

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli Prime Minis-
ter Ariel Sharon said yesterday his government
would throw all its might against those resist-
ing the dismantling of Jewish settlements, his
sternest warning yet to opponents of his plan
to pull out of Gaza and part of the West Bank
this summer.
Sharon's warning came two days after settlers
clashed with soldiers at an unauthorized West
Bank outpost, a possible prelude to confronta-
tions when Israeli forces move in to take apart
veteran settlements for the first time in Israel's
34-year occupation.
"They shouldn't dare to even raise a hand
against a policeman or a soldier," Sharon said in
a meeting with soldiers who clashed with settlers
Monday. "We will act against (them) with all our
Also yesterday, Sharon won an important

political victory when the ultra-Orthodox United
Torah Judaism Party decided to join his reshuf-
fled government, giving him a parliamentary
majority for the first time since last summer.
With UTJ, the moderate Labor Party and his
own Likud Party, Sharon's new team will have
66 of the 120 seats in parliament. His hard-line
coalition fell apart over opposition to the pullout
Sharon told the Likud Party yesterday that
he hopes for quick approval of his new govern-
"I believe that already next week I can present
the parliament a new coalition that will lead the
state of Israel," Sharon said.
On Monday, settlers threw rocks and scuffled
with troops while slashing the tires of their vehi-
cles in a confrontation at Yitzhar, a known center
for extremist settlers in the northern part of the

West Bank - an incident seen as a precursor to
resistance to the planned summer pullout.
Two settler leaders are being investigated on
suspicion of inciting soldiers to disobey orders,
the Justice Ministry said yesterday. One is Noam
Livnat, whose brother, Limon, is education min-
ister from the Likud Party.
A soldier who called on his unit to disobey
orders during the melee was sentenced Wednes-
day to 28 days in a military lockup. It was the
first instance of a soldier refusing to obey an
evacuation order, the military said.
The level of violence by settlers against their
own soldiers shocked the nation. One soldier
fired his rifle in the air. Settler leaders warn that
hundreds and perhaps thousands of soldiers will
refuse to take part, officially opposing the trend
but advocating resistance, even breaking the law,
to stop the removal of settlements.

Amnon Strassnov, a former army prosecutor
and retired district court judge, said those defy-
ing orders to evacuate "should be tried and put
behind bars. The justice system, both civilian
and military, should take these matters extreme-
ly seriously."
Though settlers make up about 3 percent of
Israel's population, and religious and nationalist
extremists are a small minority among the set-
tlers, the possibility of violence is taken seriously.
The Haaretz daily newspaper printed a lengthy
examination of the threat over the weekend, con-
cluding that extremists might try to attack the Al
Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, Islam's
third-holiest site, or assassinate Sharon in des-
perate attempts to stop the withdrawal.
A senior government official said on condi-
tion of anonymity that Sharon will pursue all
legal means to enforce the pullout - including

arrests, imprisonment of dissenters and possible
confiscation of settlers' weapons.
Some members of Sharon's Cabinet have said
opponents suspected of planning violence should
be detained without charge - an emergency
measure usually used for suspected Palestinian
Settler leader Pinchas Wallerstein accused
Sharon of launching a smear campaign against
the settler movement.
"The prime minister is a provocateur. He is
doing things to make the settlers hated by the
nation of Israel," Wallerstein said.
Also yesterday, Mahmoud Abbas, the leading
candidate for Palestinian president, received an
enthusiastic welcome from backers of his main-
stream Fatah Party in the southern West Bank
city of Hebron, four days before Palestinians
choose a successor to Yasser Arafat.

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