2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Syria's troops to begin pullout NEWS IN BRIEF
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - The
presidents of Syria ; and Lebanon
announced yesterday that Syrian forc-
es will pull back to Lebanon's eastern
Bekaa Valley by March 31, but a com-
plete troop withdrawal will be deferred
until after later negotiations.
Later, Syrian military vehicles and
personnel were seen moving east in the
first signs of a pullback. Syrian troops in
the region had stayed put for days before
The announcement, made after a meet-
ing between Syrian President Bashar
Assad and Lebanese President Emile
Lahoud, said Syria's 14,000 troops will
pull back from northern and central Leba-
non to the east, near Syria's border.
Then, military officials from both
countries will decide within a month
how many Syrian troops will remain
in the Bekaa Valley and how long they
will stay there. The soldiers have been
in Lebanon for 29 years.
After a negotiated timeframe, the
two governments will "agree to com-
plete the withdrawal of the remaining
forces," the statement said.
In Beirut, at least 70,000 people -
some estimates said the number was at
least twice as high - gathered at central
Martyrs' Square to demand that Syria
leave, much larger than the demonstra-
tions last week that led to the toppling of
Lebanon's pro-Syrian government.
The agreement did not set a specific
timetable for that complete withdrawal,
which could fall short of demands by the
United States, Israel, France, Russia and
other nations that Syria completely pull
its troops from its eastern neighbor.
The announcement stated, "The Syr-
"They want a future that is sovereign,
independent and free from outside influence
White House spokesman
ian and Lebanese agree on continuing
the withdrawal of Syrian Arab forces."
It added that the redeployment to
the Bekaa Valley was in line with the
1989 Arab-brokered Taif Accord,
which called for Syria to move its
troops to the Lebanese border and
for both countries to then negotiate
A White House spokesman denounced
the move as a "half measure."
"We stand with the Lebanese people,
and the Lebanese people, I think, are
speaking very clearly," spokesman Scott
McClellan said. "They want a future that
is sovereign, independent and free from
outside influence and intimidation."
The United States has called for a
complete withdrawal of Syrian sol-
diers and intelligence agents before
Lebanese parliamentary elections
scheduled for May.
Bush names new.
Senate Democrats line
up to oppose nominee,
who has questioned the
relevance of the U.N.
WASHINGTON (AP) - John R.
Bolton, a tough-talking arms control
official who rarely muffles his views
in diplomatic niceties, was chosen yes-
terday by President Bush to be U.S.
ambassador to the United Nations.
Senate Democrats immediately
assailed the nomination, arguing that
it didn't make sense for the president
to pick a diplomat who has sometimes
been critical of the world body at a
time when mending fences with the
international community was impera-
tive. Senate Minority Leader Harry
Reid, (D-Nev.), said Bolton's selection
sent "all the wrong signals."
Anticipating a possible fight over
confirmation - in 2001, Bolton was
approved for his current post over the
opposition of 43 Democratic senators
- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
said, "Through our history some of our
best ambassadors have been those with
strong voices." She mentioned former
U.N. ambassadors Jeanne Kirkpatrick
and Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
In his tenure, Bolton has angered
officials in North Korea and China
with his hard-edged approach. In fact,
the Pyongyang government, furious
with his comments, refused to negoti-
ate with him.
Bolton, whose career has included
posts in the administrations of Presi-
dent Reagan and the first President
Bush, promised to work closely with
members of Congress to advance
Bush's policies and said his record
demonstrated "clear support for effec-
tive multilateral diplomacy."
Mindful that he, like the president,
has sometimes questioned the rel-
evance of the United Nations, Bolton
said, "Working closely with others is
essential to ensure a safer world."
Rice praised the international organi-
zation as she announced Bolton's selec-
"The United States is committed to
the success of the United Nations, and we
view the U.N. as an important component
of our diplomacy," she said.
She said Bolton "knows how to get
things done," citing his work in nullifying
a U.N. resolution that equated Zionism,
the philosophic underpinning of a Jewish
state, with racism, and in organizing 60
countries to curb the spread of dangerous
Insurgent attacks in Iraq kill 33
Iraqi insurgents set off bombs and fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic
weapons at military convoys, checkpoints and police patrols in a spate of violence
yesterday that killed 33 people and wounded dozens.
The terror group Al-Qaida in Iraq, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed
responsibility for much of the bloodshed.
As the attacks persisted, so did negotiations to form Iraq's first democrati-
cally elected government. Iraqi Kurds said they were close to.a deal with the
Shiite clergy-backed United Iraqi Alliance to secure many of their territorial
demands and ensure the country's secular character after its National Assem-
bly convenes March 16.
The dominant Shiite Muslim alliance, however, said although it agreed
that Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani would become Iraq's president, it was still
talking about other conditions set by the Kurds for their support in the 275-
member legislative body.
The Shiite alliance controls 140 seats and need the 75 seats won by the Kurds in
the Jan. 30 elections to muster the necessary two-thirds majority to elect a president
and later seat their choice for prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
Senate unlikely to raise minimum wage
The Senate lined up yesterday to defeat dueling proposals to raise the minimum
wage, one backed by organized labor, the other salted with pro-business provisions,
in a day of skirmishing that reflected Republican gains in last fall's elections.
Aides in both parties agreed mutually assured defeat was the likely outcome,
with both alternatives falling short of the 60 votes needed to prevail.
"I believe that anyone who works 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year should not
live in poverty in the richest country in the world," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy
(D-Mass.), the lead supporter of the Democratic proposal to increase the federal
wage floor by $2.10 over the next 26 months. He accused Republicans of advanc-
ing a "deeper poverty agenda" for the poor by including provisions to cut long-
standing wage and overtime protections for millions of Americans.
Kennedy took particular aim at Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a conservative
who is atop the Democratic target list for 2006 and the lead supporter of the
GOP minimum wage alternative. "The senator from Pennsylvania has a record
of opposing increases in the minimum wage," he said. "He has voted against it at
least 17 times in the last 10 years."
Boeing CEO forced out over affair with exec
Boeing Co. CEO Harry Stonecipher, brought back from retirement 15 months ago
to boost the aerospace manufacturer's tainted image, has been forced out because of a
scandal involving an affair he had this year with a female company executive.
In a stunning announcement that left the exact circumstances behind the ouster
unclear, Boeing said yesterday the 68-year-old president and chief executive officer had
resigned at the board's request a day earlier for improper behavior while carrying out
the consensual relationship.
Chairman Lew Platt said the affair by itself did not violate the code of business
conduct at the company, where a string of defense scandals has raised questions about
the way Boeing obtains its lucrative contracts. But an internal investigation that started
because of an employee's complaint discovered "some issues of poor judgment" involv-
ing Stonecipher, who is married.
Aspirin shows reverse effects for women
In a stunning example of gender differences in medicine, a new study found that
aspirin helps healthy women avoid strokes but makes no difference in their risk of heart
attacks unless they're 65 or older - the polar opposite of how the drug affects men.
Aspirin is recommended now for both men and women at high risk of heart
disease. Many doctors have assumed it also prevented heart problems in healthy
women because of research showing it helped healthy men.
The new study "raises issues about the dangers of generalization," said Dr. Paul Rid-
ker of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, one of
the researchers. "This is an issue we thought we already had an answer to."
John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for U.S. ambassador to the
United Nations, listens as he IstIntroduced by Secretary of State Con-
doleezza Rice, not pictured, at the State Department yesterday.
Afghan female politicians face struggles
Despite the oppurtunity to
achieve a high office, Afghan
women still struggle for equality
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Fifteen Afghan
men, heads slightly bowed, file into a crowded
living room to greet the new leader of Bamiyan
province. They sip tea and listen patiently as the
governor holds court.
Such a courtesy call is commonplace in this deeply
hierarchical society when someone wins high office
- but this time there's a critical difference: They are
paying respect to a woman, the first female governor
in the history of this Islamic nation.
Three years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghani-
stan is casting off the fundamentalism that once barred
women from public life and kept girls out of school.
The selection of Habiba Sarobi to head the central
province of Bamiyan is a milestone, but she is the first
to acknowledge that it masks a sad reality.
"There are equal rights for women on paper. The
challenge is to put it into practice ... Afghanistan
is still a male-dominated society," Sarobi told.The
Associated Press as she received well-wishers last
week at her Kabul apartment
For most Afghan women, little has changed since
the Taliban's ouster; most women's daily lives are still
dominated by archaic traditions and grinding poverty.
Women's literacy rates are just 14 percent, far
below the literacy rate for men, and maternal mor-
tality is about 60 times higher than in industrial-
ized countries, with an Afghan mother dying every
half hour on average.
Before Afghanistan descended into war two
decades ago, women held high office. As early as the
1950s, they served in parliament, and worked as judg-
es and diplomats. In the 1970s, a woman was minister
of health: During the Soviet occupation of the 1980s,
up to 70 percent of teachers were women.
A wave of fundamentalism swept the country after
Muslim fighters ousted the Soviet army in 1989, and
the Taliban came to power seven years later.
Since the hard-line regime's ouster by U.S.-led
forces in late 2001, millions of girls have returned
to school. And while women are still mostly on the
periphery of public life, career opportunities have
reopened for them, at least in the cities.
Women's rights were enshrined in a democratic
constitution adopted in 2004, and women turned out
in force to vote in presidential elections in October.
A female presidential candidate is now the women's
President Hamid Karzai has given three women
minor posts in his new, 30-member Cabinet, and named
women to lead the Afghan Red Crescent Society and
the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.
But skeptics - and even high-profile women
appointees - concede they have little political clout.
"I still believe most of us are selected for these seats
because they (the government) wants to give a good
impression to the world," said Fatema Gailani, who
has won praise for shaking up the Red Crescent since
her appointment two months ago. "But we really want
to achieve things," she said.
Malalai Joya, a 26-year-old woman who created a
stir at last year's constitutional convention by calling
Afghan warlords criminals, said progress in women's
rights was only cosmetic.
"Women still live under the shadow of the gun,"
she said by telephone from her home in western
Farah province. "In Kabul, some women now walk
to work without a burqa (all-covering veil) ... In
the villages, there's no change. Women are still
victims of violence."
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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