2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 16, 2005
U.S. pulls ambassador from Syria NEws IN BRIEF ,
__ .4 .
- The United States pulled
its ambassador from Syria
yesterday, expressing "pro-
found outrage" over the=
assassination of a Lebanese
leader who had protested Syr-
ian influence in his country.
Washington stopped short
of directly accusing Syria of =
carrying out the murder.
In Lebanon, there were noisy
street processions mourning for- k
mer Prime Minister Rafik Hariri
a day ahead of the funeral that
will bring international lead-
ers to Beirut. Angry Lebanese
attacked Syrian workers in the
former leader's hometown of
Sidon, injuring several and shat-
tering the windows of a Syrian-
Many Lebanese are press-
ing Syria to withdraw its
15,000 soldiers who have
been in the country for more
than a decade.
"We believe the Lebanese
people must be free to express
their political preferences and .
cihoose their own representatives 21 ...
without intimidation or the threat.
of violence," State Department
spokesman Richard Boucher Syrian President Ba
said in announcing the imminent The U. S. pulled itsa
return of U.S. Ambassador Mar-
Her return does not break diplomatic relations
with Syria, a country the United States has accused
of exporting terrorism. Syria took no immediate
reciprocal action, such as recalling its own ambas-
sador from Washington.
Hariri died Monday when a huge car bomb blew
up his motorcade in downtown Beirut. Sixteen oth-
ers also died in the bombing. The killing was the
most serious and destabilizing violence in Leba-
non in more than a decade. It came just as Israel
and the Palestinians were taking initial hopeful
steps toward a peace agreement, and as the Bush
administration was pressing for greater democratic
changes elsewhere in the Middle East.
The bombing also made Syria an unwelcome
problem for the Bush administration. Not quite
' 11LCLL Lw1 1pl. L"1- V 1V L I 1tl SS ix l .
Sharon continues with withdrawal plans
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday he has already begun coordinating
a Gaza withdrawal with the Palestinians and will not be deterred by increasingly bel-
ligerent opposition at home, including threats against him and his Cabinet ministers.
In the West Bank, Israeli troops killed two armed Palestinians who the army said
approached a West Bank settlement. The two belonged to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Bri-
gades, a violent group with ties to Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.
Militants said gunmen were from a local Al-Aqsa cell financed by Lebanese Hezbol-
lah guerrillas who oppose a fledgling Israeli-Palestinian truce.
Al-Aqsa members indicated they would retaliate. They said the two men were
guarding an abandoned Palestinian house near the settlement and were killed by Israeli
troops without provocation.
Sharon, speaking at a carefully scripted news conference, said if Palestinian mili-
tants attack Israeli soldiers or settlers during the Gaza withdrawal, set to begin in July,
Israel would respond harshly and may even call off the pullout.
Israel's parliament was to hold a final vote on the Gaza withdrawal today, with the
plan expected to win approval. Having lost the political battle, Jewish extremists have
stepped up a campaign of intimidation against politicians who support the plan.
Miners missing after explosion in China
Rescue crews yesterday were searching for a dozen coal miners missing
nearly 800 feet underground after a gas explosion in China's northeast killed
203 people in the deadliest mining disaster reported since communist rule
began in 1949.
The explosion Monday afternoon at the Sunjiawan mine left 12 miners trapped
underground and injured 22 others with carbon monoxide poisoning, burns and
fractures, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
One trapped miner was rescued yesterday afternoon, nearly 24 hours after the
blast, Xinhua said.
The cause of the blast was under investigation, Xinhua said. It said the disaster
occurred 794 feet below the surface.
Late yesterday, a thick cordon of men in dark coats and helmets stood side by
side, blocking the entrance to the mine, as cars full of paramilitary police patrolled
the site. A line of vans waited to transport any injured to hospitals in Fuxin, a gritty
soot-covered city where mining is the main industry.
Government sets up drug monitoring board
The government is setting up a monitoring board to keep checking on medicines
once they're on the market and to update doctors and patients on risks and benefits.
Plans for the board were announced yesterday on the eve of a congressional hearing
on the safety of prescription pain killers like Vioxx and Celebrex that blossomed into
a $5 billion-a-year business before risks from potential side effects came to light.
A medical journal questioned whether continued use of such products
Vioxx was pulled from the market in September after a study showed an increase
in heart attacks and strokes among people using it. Other studies have also raised
questions of heart problems with the similar drugs Celebrex and Bextra.
shar Assad meets with U.S. Ambassador to Syria Margaret Scobey in Damascus Saturday, Jan. 10, 2004.
ambassador from Syria yesterday, expressing "profound outrage" over the assassination of a Lebanese leader.
one month into his second term, President Bush
was already facing new diplomatic headaches with
Iran and North Korea.
Syria, which has denied any involvement in Hariri's
assassination, keeps its troops in Lebanon 15 years after
the country's civil war ended, and has the final say in
internal Lebanese politics. Damascus says its troops are
needed to keep peace for the Lebanese.
The bombing raised fears that Lebanon might revert
to-the political violence of the 1970s and '80s. The U.S.
Embassy in Beirut warned Americans in the Lebanese
capital to be extremely careful.
After the killing, Scobey "delivered a message to the
Syrian government expressing our deep concern, as well
as our profound outrage, over this heinous act of terror-
ism," Boucher said.
The Bush administration's actions indicated that it saw
a Syrian hand behind the bombing, but neither Boucher
nor White House press secretary Scott McClellan would
say so outright.
"We have not made any determination of responsibil-
ity," Boucher said. The assassination led to the ambas-
sador's recall because the killing "shows the distortions
of Lebanese politics that are created by the Syrian pres-
ence," and calls into question Syria's explanation that its
troops provide internal security.
The administration had earlier condemned the
killing of Hariri, a billionaire construction mag-
nate who masterminded the recovery of his coun-
try, and insisted that Syria comply with a U.N.
resolution calling for the withdrawal of its troops
Afghanistan cls for more weapony Pact to decrease emission of greenhouse gases
Two centuries after the dawn of the industrial age, the world today takes
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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - As
the United States accelerates its
training of Afghanistan's fledgling
army, the nation's defense minis-
ter has revealed a list of high-tech
weaponry he says his nation needs to
Defense Minister Rahim Wardak
told The Associated Press his requests
include Apache helicopter gunships
and A-10 ground attack planes, which
the more than 1,000 American train-
ers embedded with the new Afghan
army can currently call in from U.S.
bases in an emergency.
He would also like U.S. forces to
help create and train Afghan com-
mando, engineer and intelligence
units. Transport planes and armored
vehicles would also help, War-
dak said, and predicted a positive
response from Washington.
"Once we improve our capabili-
ties, I think we will be good enough
to deal with any sort of internal
threat," including Islamic militants,
drug smugglers and warlords, War-
dak said. "We think if we take more
of the burden of security it will be
much more economical - in terms
Looking for a career that
Then talk to someone
who knows science.
of money and human life - for the
coalition and NATO."
Wardak and Col. Bob Sharp, a
senior official in the U.S.-led coali-
tion, also said Washington and Kabul
are considering a long-term security
relationship that may include contin-
ued American bases.
The office of Lt. Gen. David Barno,
the overall commander of U.S. forces
in Afghanistan, and the U.S. Embas-
sy in Kabul had no comment.
Three years after a devastating
air campaign drove out the former
ruling Taliban for harboring Osama
bin Laden, the U.S. military still
has 17,000 soldiers in Afghanistan.
Swaths of the countryside remain
under the influence of militants or
warlords resisting the authority of
President Hamid Karzai.
The re-emergence of the cen-
tral government and the expansion
of both the U.S.-trained Afghan
National Army and NATO-led secu-
rity forces in Afghanistan are easing
the burden on the American military,
which claims that Taliban-led insur-
gents are a waning threat.
The Afghan national army had
been expected to reach its full
strength of 70,000, including 43,000
ground troops, by September 2007.
Sharp, the British chief of staff
of the Office of Military Coopera-
tion, which coordinates the training,
told AP that the number of Afghan
battalions being trained simultane-
ously is going up to six in March,
and that the increase will allow the
force to reach full strength by the
end of 2006.
With the graduation of 709 train-
ee soldiers and officers Sunday, the
army numbers almost 20,000 sol-
diers, already more than a match for
the factional militias they are sup-
posed to replace under a U.N.-spon-
sored disarmament campaign.
Sharp and Wardak said they
didn't know when the Pentagon
might decide to reduce its pres-
ence in Afghanistan, though Barno
has suggested it could happen this
year if Taliban fighters sign up for a
"The more ANA (Afghan National
Army) we get on the ground, wearing
their green berets with their very high
reputation, the easier we've found it
is to stabilize the country and put an
Afghan face on it," Sharp said.
Wardak said it was too early to say
how long the United States would
maintain air bases in Afghanistan,
which borders Iran, Pakistan and
China, as well as oil-rich Central
Asia. The country's first post-Tal-
ihnn narlrament woaldaloe have tn
its first concerted step to roiltack the emission of greenhouse gases
believed linked to climate change with the enactment of the Kyoto global
The agreement, negotiated in Japan's ancient capital of Kyoto in 1997 and
ratified by 140 nations, calls on 35 industrialized countries to rein in the
release of carbon dioxide and five other gases from the burning of oil and
coal and other processes.
Its impact, however, will be limited by the absence of the United States, the
world's leader in greenhouse gas emissions.
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