2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 20, 2005
New Orleans reopening suspended NEWS IN BRIEF
NEHEADRLNENSFRPM-AROUND THE WO'
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Under Rita's projected path and, depending
pressure from President Bush and other on its strength and how much rain falls, KEY WEST
top federal officials, the mayor sus- N everything could change. Residents
pended the reopening of large portions moving into the area may have to c o CEO and finance chie
of the city yesterday and instead ordered
nearly everyone out because of the risk
of a new round of flooding from a tropi-
cal storm on the way.
"If we are off, I'd rather err on the
side of conservatism to make sure
we have everyone out," Mayor Ray
The announcement came after
repeated warnings from top federal
officials - and the president himself -
that New Orleans was not safe enough
to reopen. Among other things, federal
officials warned that Tropical Storm
Rita could breach the city's temporarily
patched-up levees and swamp the city
all over again.
The news came as the state Health
Department raised the death toll
from Hurricane Katrina in Louisi-
ana by 90 to 736. The toll across the
Gulf Coast was 973.
The mayor reversed course even
as residents began trickling back to
the first neighborhood opened as part
of Nagin's plan, the lightly damaged
The mayor said he had wanted to
reopen some of the city's signature
neighborhoods over the coming week
in order to reassure the people of New
Orleans that "there was a city to come
back to." He said he had strategically
selected ZIP codes that had suffered
little or no flooding.
uate again," said Col. Duane Gapinski,
commander of the Army Corps of Engi-
neers task force that is draining New
Orleans and repairing the levees.
Under the mayor's plan, Algiers
opened yesterday, and Uptown, the
Garden District and the French Quarter
were supposed to reopen one ZIP code
at a time between tomorrow and next
Monday, bringing a total about 180,000
of New Orleans's half-million inhabit-
The dispute over the reopening was
just the latest example of the lack of fed-
eral-local coordination that has marked
the disaster practically from the start.
Nagin saw a quick reopening as a way
to get the storm-battered city back in the
business of luring tourists. But federal
officials warned that such a move could
be a few weeks premature, pointing out
much of the area does not yet have full
electricity and still has no drinkable
water, 911 service or working hospitals.
With the approach of Rita, Bush added
his voice, saying he had "deep concern"
about the possibility that New Orleans's
levees could be breached again.
In addition, Bush said there are
significant environmental concerns.
New Orleans still lacks safe drink-
ing water, and there are fears about
the contamination in the remaining
floodwaters and the muck left behind
in drained areas of the city.
After a year in Iraq, 1st Lt. William Besselman of the 256th returned to
New Orleans fo find houses damaged and destroyed by Katrina.
But "now we have conditions that
have changed. We have another hur-
ricane that is approaching us," Nagin
said. He warned that the city's pump-
ing system was not yet running at full
capacity and that the levees were still in
a "very weak position."
He ordered residents who circum-
vented checkpoints and slipped back
into the still officially closed parts of the
city to leave immediately. Those areas
include the historic French Quarter, the
Garden District, Uptown and the central
Nagin also urged everyone already
settled back into Algiers to be ready to
evacuate as early as tomorrow.
Tropical Storm Rita was headed
toward the Florida Keys and was expect-
ed to become a hurricane, cross the Gulf
of Mexico and reach Texas or Mexico
by the weekend. But forecasters said it
could also veer in Louisiana's direction.
"We're watching Tropical Storm
L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former CEO of Tycd International Ltd., and former
Tyco finance chief Mark Swartz were sentenced yesterday to up to 25 years in
prison for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the company in a case that
outraged the public with its tales of executive greed and excess.
The men, who were immediately ordered into custody, will be eligible for
parole after serving eight years and four months.
Family members wept in the gallery as the sentences were imposed. Kozlowski
was led out of the front of the courtroom in handcuffs as his wife quietlysobbed
from a bench three rows back.
State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus ordered Kozlowski and Swartz to
pay a total of $134 million in restitution; in addition, Kozlowski was fined $70
million, Swartz $35 million.
The sentences capped a case that exposed the executives' extravagant lifestyle
after they pilfered some $600 million from the company including a $2 million
toga birthday party for Kozlowski's wife on a Mediterranean island and an $18
million Manhattan apartment with a $6,000 shower curtain.
Florida Keys residents evacuated
Residents were evacuated from the lower Florida Keys yesterday as strengthen-
ing Tropical Storm Rita headed toward the island chain, threatening to grow into a
hurricane with a potential 8-foot storm surge.
Although Rita's immediate threat was to Florida, rough projections of its track
raised the possibility that the Louisiana coast could be targeted less than a month
after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. Oil prices surged as traders worried
about Rita's possible effect on facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.
The storm had sustained wind of about 70 mph by early afternoon, up from 60
mph earlier in the day, and could be a Category 1 hurricane, with wind of at least
74 mph, by the end of the day, the National Hurricane Center said.
The Keys evacuation covered 40,000 people living from below Marathon to Key
West. Visitors were ordered to clear out of the entire length of the low-lying Keys,
which are connected by just one highway.
Hurricane warnings were posted for the Keys and Miami-Dade County, and the
storm's eye is expected to pass near the islands today, the National Hurricane Cen-
ter said. Voluntary evacuation orders were posted for some 134,000 Miami-Dade
residents who live in coastal areas such as Miami Beach and Key Biscayne.
Attack on jail frees captive British soldiers
In a dramatic show of force, British soldiers used tanks to break down the
walls of the central jail in this southern city yesterday and freed two Britons,
allegedly undercover commandos arrested on charges of shooting two Iraqi
policemen. The Basra governor called the rescue a "barbaric" act of aggres-
About 150 Iraqi prisoners also fled as British commandos stormed inside
and rescued their comrades, said Aquil Jabbar, an Iraqi television camera-
man who lives across the street from the jail. During the melee, one British
soldier could be seen in a photograph scrambling for his life from a burning
tank and the rock-throwing mob.
Commission recommends ID card for voters
A private commission trying to restore public confidence in national elections rec-
ommended yesterday requiring a free photo ID for voters, drawing opposition from
Democrats and some voting rights activists.
Critics suggested that having to acquire the ID cards in order to vote could be an obsta-
cle for minorities, the poor and older Americans and might intimidate some people.
"We believe such a requirement would constitute nothing less than a 21st century
poll tax," said a letter from Reps. John Conyers (D-Detroit) and John Lewis (D-Ga.)
taxes were once used in some states to prevent black citizens from voting.
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