2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 22, 2005
Rita may NEWS IN BRIEF
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - As
many as 1 million people were
ordered to clear out along the Gulf'
Coast, and hospital and nursing
home patients were evacuated yes-
terday as Hurricane Rita turned into
a Category-5, 165-mph monster that
could slam Texas by the weekend
and inflict more misery on New
Forecasters said Rita could be the most
intense hurricane on record ever to hit
Texas, and easily one of the most powerful
ever to plow into the U.S. mainland.
Category 5 is the highest on the scale,
and only three Category 5. hurricanes
are known to have hit the U.S. mainland
- most recently, Andrew, which smashed
South Florida in 1992.
All of Galveston, low-lying sections of
Houston and Corpus Christi, and a mostly
emptied-out New Orleans were under
mandatory evacuation orders, one day after
Rita sideswiped the Florida Keys as a far
weaker storm and caused minor damage.
Having seen what Hurricane Katrina
- a Category-4, 145-mph storm - did
three weeks ago, many people were tak-
ing no chances as Rita swirled across
the Gulf of Mexico.
"After this killer in New Orleans,
Katrina, Ijust cannot fathom staying,"
59-year-old Ldyyan Jean Jocque said
before sunrise as she waited for an
evacuation bus outside the Galveston
Community Center. She had packed
her Bible, some music and clothes
into plastic bags and loaded her dog
into a pet carrier.
"I really think it is going to be bad.
That's really why I'm running. All these
years I've stayed here, but I've got to go this
time," said 65-year-old Barbara Anders. "I
don't have but one life, and it is time for
me to go."
The federal government was
eager to show it, too, had learned its
lesson after being criticized for its
sluggish response to Katrina.
It rushed hundreds of truckloads
of water, ice and ready-made meals
to the Gulf Coast and put rescue and
medical teams on standby.
Iraqi civilians rally against British
Hundreds of Iraqi civilians and policemen, some waving pistols and AK-47s,
rallied in the southern city of Basra yesterday to denounce "British aggression" in
the rescue of two British soldiers.
The Basra governor threatened to end all cooperation with British forces unless
Prime Minister Tony Blair's government apologizes for the deadly clash with Iraqi
police. Britain defended the raid.
In London, British Defense Secretary John Reid and Iraqi Prime Minister Ibra-
him al-Jaafari tried to minimize the effect of the fighting, saying it would not
undermine the relationship between the two nations or their determination to lead
Iraq to peace and democracy.
But the fighting raised new concerns about the power that radical Shiite militias
with close ties to Iran have developed in the region, questions about the role of
Britain's 8,500-strong force in Iraq and doubts about the timetable for handing over
power to local security forces.
There has been disagreement about just what happened late Monday, when Brit=
ish armor crashed into a jail to free two British soldiers who had been arrested by
Roberts gains support from Senate Dems
Chief Justice-nominee John Roberts, his confirmation secure, picked up support
from fractured Senate Democrats yesterday as President Bush met lawmakers to
discuss a second vacancy on the Supreme Court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee's senior Democrat, Patrick Leahy of Vermont,
announced his endorsement shortly after leaving the White House. That guaranteed
bipartisan backing for Roberts in today's scheduled vote by the committee.
But Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, liberal stalwart Edward Kennedy,
former presidential candidate John Kerry and New Jersey gubernatorial candidate
Jon Corzine all are opposing Roberts. Their stand is evidence of the split among
the Senate's 44 Democrats about whether they can or should mount even symbolic
opposition to the successor of the'late Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
Because Republicans control the Senate and the committee, majority support
was assured for the vote and for confirmation next week in the full Senate.
Some of the Democrats' liberal supporters hoped a strong vote against Roberts
would signal to Bush that if he were to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
with a far-right conservative, it would lead to a bigger fight in the Senate.
European Union extends reprieve to Iran
Iran gained a reprieve in the standoff over its nuclear program yesterday,
with diplomats saying the European Union had decided to postpone its push
to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council.
The decision to delay a vote until a later board meeting of the Interna-
tional Atomic Energy Agency instead of demanding one this week appeared
driven by concerns about strong opposition.
More than a dozen of the 35 IAEA board member nations meeting in
Vienna - including Security Council members Russia and China - are
against the idea.
Immigrant accused of funneling money
A Yemeni immigrant ice cream shop owner was found guilty yesterday of ille-
gally funneling $21.9 million overseas in a case stemming from a major ter-
Abad Elfgeeh, 50, was accused of transmitting money around the world
without a license from bank accounts linked to his tiny storefront in Brook-
Elfgeeh was not charged with any terrorism-related crime, although pros-
ecutors said his business was used by a Yemeni cleric convicted earlier this
year of a scheme to fund al-Qaida and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Hur-
ricane Katrina's death toll across the
Gulf Coast climbed past the 1,000 mark
yesterday, with the body count in Loui-
siana alone reaching 799.
The new figure of 1,036 was released
as New Orleans braced for the outside
possibility that Hurricane Rita, swirling
across the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas
with 150 mph winds, could swamp the
city's damaged levees and inflict new
misery on the Big Easy.
Two busloads of people left town on
Tuesday, but only one person showed
up at the convention center yesterday
to catch a bus out, despite Mayor Ray
Nagin's mandatory evacuation order for
the estimated 400 to 500 residents left
in neighborhoods on the hard-hit east
bank of the Mississippi River.
"The majority of people who are back
in the city came with their own vehicle.
We expect them to go out in their own
vehicle," said Spc. Amber Mangham,
an military police officer stationed out-
side the convention center.
The forecast called for Rita to keep
its distance from Louisiana and hit the
central Texas coast by the weekend.
Still,.the Army Corps of Engineers
rushed to fortify the Katrina-fractured
levees in case the storm took a sharp
Engineers warned that the patched-
up levees can only handle up to 6
inches of rain and a storm surge of
10 to 12 feet.
"The protection is very tenuous at
best," said Dave Wurtzel, a Corps offi-
cial in charge of some of the repairs.
Gov. Kathleen Blanco declared a
state of emergency and told Louisian-
ans to pray for a break from Rita.
The death toll in Louisiana rose from
63 to 736, the state Health Department
Army Corps spokesman Mitch Fra-
zier said the city was only about 10
percent flooded, down from 80 per-
cent, with just isolated ponds left in
sections of the city.
In one area of eastern New Orleans,
near the Six Flags amusement park, the
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1327
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