2A - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Fmr. Lanese PM killed in attack NEWS IN BRIEF
650U-b. car bomb
kills Hariri, challenger
to Syrian government
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - A
massive bomb tore through the
motorcade of former Prime Minis-
ter Rafik Hariri, who resigned last
fall following a sharp dispute with
Syria, killing him and at least nine
other people yesterday.
About 100 people were also
-wounded in the assassination, which
raised immediate fears that Lebanon
;vould be plunged into a new cycle
Hariri, who left office in October,
had the wealth and the prominence to
maintain some independence without
defying Lebanon's main power bro-
,ker, Syria, which keeps about 15,000
troops in the country and influences
virtually all key political decisions.
At least 20 cars were set on fire in
a blast that damaged a British bank
.and the landmark Phoenicia Hotel
along the Mediterranean waterfront.
The 12:55 p.m. (5:55 a.m. EST) explo-
sion was so powerful that Hariri's motor-
cade of bulletproof vehicles was left a
burning wreck and a 30-foot crater was
gouged in the street.
More than 650 pounds of TNT
explosives were used in the bombing,
security officials said on condition of
anonymity. They did not say whether
the explosives were placed in a vehi-
cle or on the side of the street.
There were no credible claims of
Mosque fire kills 59, injures over 250
A fire raged through a crowded mosque in Tehran during evening prayers
yesterday after a female worshipper's veil caught the flames of a kerosene
heater, killing at least 59 people, and injuring more than 250, Iran's official
news agency reported.
The Arg Mosque was filled with about 400 worshippers, more crowded
than usual because this is the Islamic month of Muharram, a holy period
for Shiite Muslims.
Panicked people raced for the doors and smashed windows to escape the
blaze, leaving burned shoes and women's black chadors scattered in the
mosque yard. The mosque walls were charred, carpets were burned and
religious books, including the Quran, were destroyed.
Women, who pray on the second floor of the mosque, separated from the
men, had to race down stairs and through a narrow doorway to exit. Many
stumbled and were trampled in the frenzied stampede to escape.
Hospital records checked by The Associated Press showed that 40 of
those killed and the majority of the injured were women.
Bush requests $82B for Iraq, Afghan wars
President Bush yesterday urged Congress to approve quickly his request for
$82 billion to cover the costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and
numerrous other internationally related expenses, such as training Iraqi security
forces, aiding tsunami victims and helping military forces in other nations.
"The majority of this request will ensure that our troops continue to get what
they need to protect themselves and complete their mission,"' Bush said in a state-
ment released before the White House officially sent the supplemental budget
request to Capitol Hill.
"It also provides for the continued pursuit of al-Qaida and other terrorist ele-
ments in Afghanistan and elsewhere," the president said. "I urge the Congress to
move quickly so our troops and diplomats have the tools they need to succeed."
Included in the request is $74.9 billion for the Defense Department. About $5
billion is for reorganizing Army divisions and brigades and $5.7 billion for train-
ing and equipping Iraqi military and police, according to a federal official familiar
with the request.
The aftermath of a bombing is seen in Beirut, Lebanon yesterday. A bomb targeting the motorcade of one of Leba-
non's most prominent politicians, RafikI
responsibility, although a previously
unknown group, calling itself Sup-
port and Jihad in Syria and Lebanon,
said it had carried out the bombing.
It said the attack was a suicide opera-
tion and would be followed by more
attacks "against infidels, renegades
and tyrants." The claim, which could
not be authenticated, appeared in a
video aired on Al-Jazeera satellite
Hariri, killed at least nine people yesterday.
Former Economy Minister Bassel Flei-
han, a member of parliament in Hariri's
bloc, was severely wounded and admitted
to the intensive care unit of the American
University Hospital, said another pro-
Hariri legislator, Atef Majdalani. Hariri's
own Future TV reported that Fleihan was
in critical condition and the hospital was
preparing to transfer him abroad.
Hariri, 60, had moved toward the
opposition camp after leaving office in
October. Hariri had rejected a Syrian-
backed insistence that a rival politician,
President Emile Lahoud, remain in
office as president for a longer period.
Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, served
10 of 14 years in the postwar period
starting in 1992. His assassination
removes a main political buffer in a
country divided among an opposition
strongly opposed to Syria's role, and
the pro-Syrian government camp.
Elected leaders work to forae new Iraq Pope returns to Vatican after hospitalization
. L...7 1
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A French-educated finance
minister and a former London physician emerged yester-
day as the top candidates to be Iraq's next prime minister,
as leaders of the clergy-backed Shiite Muslim alliance
launched consultations after failing to get a two-thirds
majority in the vote for Iraq's new parliament.
The prominence of urbane, moderate, Western-
oriented figures appears designed to counter con-
cern in Washington that Iran's influence will grow
in Iraq after a Shiite-dominated government takes
power - even though the ultimate decision may
rest with a reclusive elderly cleric.
Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the interim finance minister, and
Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the interim vice president, were said
to be the leading candidates for prime minister.
The Kurds, who are poised to become kingmak-
ers in the new Iraq, have already said they want Jalal
Talabani, a secular Sunni Kurd and leader of the Patriotic
Union of Kurdistan, to be Iraq's next president. The Shi-
ites may seek a deal with the Kurds to back Talabani for
president in return for Kurdish support for their prime
The Kurds, who compose about 15 percent of
Iraq's population, have demanded the new con-
stitution legalize Kurdish self-rule in the north.
They also want an end to what they call "Arabi-
zation" of Kirkuk and other northern areas where
most of the Arabs are Sunni Muslims.
But the Shiites also know they must move care-
fully, particularly if they want to extend a hand
to the minority Sunni Arabs to form an inclu-
sive government and tame a virulent insurgency.
Many Sunni Arabs, who make up about 20 per-
cent of the population, stayed home on election
day, either out of fear of violence or to support
a boycott call by radical clerics opposed to the
Roadside bombs yesterday killed a U.S. soldier and
three Iraqi National Guard troops, and officials said
insurgents blew up an oil pipeline near Kirkuk and killed
two senior police officers in Baghdad.
Three other. American soldiers were wounded
when the bomb detonated near their patrol out-
side the town of Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of
Baghdad, the military said.
At least 1,461 members of the U.S. military
have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in
March 2003, according to an Associated Press
The Jan. 30 election results for the National
Assembly, announced Sunday, gave the clergy-
backed United Iraqi Alliance 48 percent of the
vote, the Kurdish alliance 26 percent and the tick-
et led by interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a
secular Shiite who supported strong ties to Wash-
ington, only 14 percent.
Backroom trading for the top posts in the new
government began in earnest yesterday after the
United Iraqi Alliance failed to secure the two-
thirds majority in the newly elected assembly that
would have allowed it to control the legislature
and install whomever it wanted as president.
The National Assembly's first task is to elect a
president and two vice presidents by a two-thirds
majority. The three then choose a new prime
minister subject to assembly approval.
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - For years,
opponents of free elections in the
Arab world have whispered warn-
ings that if democracy ever came to
this region, Islamic fundamentalists
would sweep to power.
Now, with votes counted in Iraq and
Saudi Arabia, it's clear there's truth
to the idea that strongly conservative,
Islam-driven candidates fare well.
In Iraq, a coalition linked to the
country's main Shiite Muslim cleric
won 48 percent of the votes in the first
free elections in a half-century. And in
the first phase of Saudi elections for city
councils, seven candidates with Islamist
leanings won in Riyadh, the capital.
Neither vote means a new wave of
fundamentalism will soon flood this
In Iraq, the cleric's coalition will be
forced to reach out to other parties to
form a government, and its leaders have
said they do not want an Iranian-style
theocracy. In Saudi Arabia, a govern-
ment already strongly Islamic could
moderate the councils through appoint-
ments - and tribal candidates did well
outside the capital.
Yet at a time when Islamic gov-
ernments hostile to the West send a
shiver down European and American
spines, the results clearly show that in
countries like Iraq, Saudi Arabia and
even Egypt, religious parties have a
With their charity networks and their
history of opposing the region's dicta-
tors, Islamic parties are sometimes all
that Arab voters know or trust.
"They are more organized, and they
invested a lot of effort to mobilize people
to go to vote for them," said Mohammed
Abdel Jabar, editor in chief of Baghdad's
Al Sabah newspaper. "There is a ten-
dency to support the Islamist groups"
anyway in Iraq, he noted, because of the
society's strong religious base:
In Iraq, that was even more pro-
nounced because voters "didn't find an
Returning to the world's most storied pulpit for the first time since his
hospitalization, Pope John Paul II addressed a sea of worshippers Sunday
from his studio in St. Peter's Square and gave with his presence what no car-
dinal's words could deliver: a strong assurance that he is on the rebound.
An aide delivered most of the message, but at the very end the pope's
voice rang out clearly: "Happy Sunday to everybody. Thank you."
The 84-year-old pontiff looked alert as he waved to the crowd with a trem-
bling hand. He gave a brief greeting before Argentine Archbishop Leonardo
Sandri carried on with the address. Thousands of pilgrims applauded and
some shouted "Viva ii Papa!" - or "Long live the pope!"
Study: Flu shots for elderly do not save lives
A new study based on more than three decades of U.S. data suggests that
giving flu shots to the elderly has not saved any lives.
Led by National Institutes of Health researchers, the study challenges
standard government dogma and is bound to confuse senior citizens. Dur-
ing last fall's flu vaccine shortage, thousands of older Americans, heeding
the government's public health message, stood in long lines to get their
"There is a sense that we're all going to die if We don't get the flu' shot,"
said the study's lead author, Lone Simonsen, a senior epidemiologist at
the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md.
"Maybe that's a little much." --- .. - -
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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