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September 12, 2005 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-12

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2A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 12, 2005


Ie*tdL The Pentelligent Choice'


Reopening of
airport, receding
waters counted as
signs of progress
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Workers
here were picking up trash yesterday,
a small miracle under the circum-
stances. The airport opened to cargo
traffic. A bullhorn-wielding volun-
teer led relief workers in a chorus of
"Amazing Grace."
Nearly two weeks after Hurricane
Katrina's onslaught, the day was
marked by signs that hopelessness was
beginning to lift in this shattered city.
While the final toll from the disaster
remains unknown, there were indica-
tions New Orleans had begun to turn
a corner.
"You see the cleaning of the streets.
You see the people coming out," said
the volunteer with the bullhorn, Nor-
man Flowers. "The people aren't as
afraid anymore."
Flowers, deployed by the Southern
Baptist Convention, stood in the bed of
a pickup truck on Canal Street, leading
police, firefighters and relief workers
in song, punctuated by the exuberant
honk of a fire truck nearby.
"This is a sign of progress," said
New Orleans resident Linda Taylor,
gesturing at the impromptu gather-
ing. "Last Sunday, I couldn't find any
church services. This Sunday, people
have gathered together to worship."
Numerous residents were able to
visit their homes for the first time,
however briefly, as floodwaters reced-
ed and work crews cleared trees, debris
and downed telephone poles from
major streets.
Albert Gaude III, a Louisiana State
University fisheries agent, was among
those returning for the first time since
the storm.
"They wouldn't let us in before,
but we made it now and we could
drive all the way here with no prob-
lem," he said.
President Bush planned to fly to
New Orleans late yesterday and spend
the night. Today, he plans to tour the
devastated town of Gulfport, Miss.
The Louis Armstrong New Orleans
International Airport reopened for
cargo traffic yesterday, and limited
passenger service was expected to
resume tomorrow, airport director Roy
Williams said.
Williams said he expects about 30
departures and arrivals of passenger
planes a day - far below the usual 174
- at the airport, where a week ago ter-
minals became triage units and more
than two dozen people died.
Trash collection began over the
weekend, a service unimaginable in the
apocalyptic first days after Katrina's
fury battered the Gulf Coast and broke
holes in two levees, flooding most of
New Orleans.
Mayor C. Ray Nagin was asked on
NBC's "Meet the Press" whether New
Orleans could stage Mardi Gras in
February 2006. "I haven't even thought
that far out yet," he said.

But he added, "It's not out of the
realm of possibilities. ... It would
be a huge boost if we could make it
Nagin declined to say when the city
might be drained of floodwaters.
"But I always knew that once we
got the pumps up, some of our sig-
nificant pumps going, that we could
accelerate the draining process," he
said. "The big one is pumping sta-
tion six, which is our most powerful
pump, and I am understanding that's
just about ready to go."
The city's main wastewater treat-
ment facility will be running today,
said Sgt. John Zeller, an engineer with
the California National Guard.
"We're making progress," Zeller
said. "This building was underwater
David Smith, a volunteer firefighter
from Baton Rouge, said it's a sign of
progress that people like him are now in
New Orleans aiding the city's recovery.
"We are helping people get the
medicine they need," Smith said.
"People who haven't been able to get
prescriptions filled. That's a big step
r """"-""""-"-"""" ""- I

Specter: Abortion won't be litmus test
WASHINGTON (AP) - The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said
yesterday he will not ask chief justice nominee John Roberts whether he would vote to
overturn Roe v.s. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion.
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) did say he planned to ask Roberts, the president's pick
to succeed the late William H. Rehnquist as chief justice, whether there is a right to
privacy in the Constitution.
Roberts's confirmation hearing to be the nation's 17th chief justice will begin
this afternoon. The first day, however, is expected to be taken up by the opening
statements of the committee's 18 senators. Roberts is not expected to speak late
this afternoon.
Specter said yesterday he was uncertain whether Roberts would favor overturning
the Roe v.s. Wade decision from 1973 that established a right to abortion. Specter
supports a woman's right to choose to end her pregnancy. "I think it is inappropriate
to ask him head-on if he's going to overturn Roe, but I believe that there are many
issues close to the issue, like his respect for precedent," Specter said.
Koizumi's party headed for landslide *
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi scored a political triumph yesterday
as the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party headed for a landslide win in an
election touted as a referendum on his push to privatize Japan's cash-swollen
postal system.
Initial returns and exit polls by major Japanese media had Koizumi's party .
on course to possibly win its biggest-ever proportion of seats in parliament's W
lawmaking 480-seat lower house.
As of early Today, public broadcaster NHK gave the LDP 291 seats, far
more than the 241 needed for a majority. Combined with the allied New
Komei Party, the ruling coalition had more than 320 seats - a two-thirds
majority that would let it override votes by the upper house, the body that
blocked postal restructuring last month.
NHK predicted the LDP could win as many as 309 seats, far more than the
249 it held when Koizumi dissolved the chamber Aug. 8. The most it ever held
was 300 of the body's then-512 seats in 1986.
Israel decides not to raze Gaza synagogues
Israeli troops lowered their nation's flag and snapped farewell photos in the
final phase of the historic Gaza pullout yesterday, as thousands of Palestinian
troops, onlookers and gunmen assembled nearby, eager to take control after
38 years of Israeli military occupation.
The first army convoys left Gaza after sundown yesterday. Military jeeps
and armored bulldozers drove slowly through the Kissufin crossing point,
marking the beginning of the end of Israel's presence in Gaza.
But the withdrawal, code-named "Last Watch," was overshadowed by {
Israeli-Palestinian disputes, including those over border arrangements and
Israel's last-minute decision not to demolish Gaza synagogues. The army was
forced to cancel a formal handover ceremony, initially set for yesterday, after
angry Palestinians said they would not show up.
There also was concern about last-minute bloodshed. A 12-year-old boy
was among four Palestinians wounded by Israeli army fire when a crowd got 0
too close to the abandoned Gush Katif bloc of Jewish settlements.
U.S. forces kill 150 in insurgent stronghold
TAL AFAR, Iraq (AP) - Insurgents staged a classic guerrilla retreat from
Tal Afar yesterday, melting into the countryside through a network of tunnels to
escape an Iraqi-U.S. force that reported killing about 150 rebels while storming
the militant bastion.
With the city swept clear of extremists for the second time in a year, Iraqi and
U.S. military leaders vowed to redouble efforts to crush insurgents operating all
along the Syrian frontier and in the EuphratesRivervalley.
"Tal Afar is just one piece of an overarching operation. We are not going
to tolerate a safe haven anywhere in Iraq," said Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch,
deputy chief of staff for coalition forces in Iraq.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.



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