2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 10, 2005
Hundreds dead in GuatemalaN BRIEF
Hurricane hits Gulf of ies failed to arrive in time, and "we r .
Mexico hardest, leaving
hundreds dead and missing
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) - Dozens
of foreign tourists fled devastated lakeside
Mayan towns on foot and by helicopter
yesterday as Guatemalan officials said
they would abandon communities bur-
ied by landslides and declare them mass
Villagers who had swarmed over the
vast mudslides with shovels and axes
digging for hundreds of missing gave
up the effort yesterday, five days after
Hurricane Stan made landfall on the
Gulf Qf Mexico coast, bringing torren-
tial rains before weakening to a tropi-
More than 640 people died and hun-
dreds more were missing across Central
America and southern Mexico after a
week of rains. In hardest-hit Guatemala,
519 bodies had been recovered and rebur-
ied. Some 338 were listed as missing.
"Panabaj will no longer exist," said
Mayor Diego Esquina, referring to the
Mayan lakeside hamlet in Guatemala
covered by a half-mile-wide mudflow
as much as 15 to 20 feet deep. "We
are asking that it be declared a ceme-
tery. We are tired. We no longer know
where to dig."
Esquina said bodies were now so rot-
ted that identification was impossible.
He said about 250 people were missing
in Panabaj. Only 77 bodies were recov-
ered, he said.
Promised dogs trained to detect bod-
don't even know where to dig anymore,"
Vice President Eduardo Stein said
steps were being taken to give towns
"legal permission to declare the buried
areas" as hallowed ground.
Attention turned to aiding thousands
of hungry or injured survivors as helicop-
ters - including U.S. Blackhawks and
Chinooks - fanned out across Guate-
mala to evacuate the wounded and bring
supplies to more than 100 communities
still cut off by mudslides and flooding.
As some foreign tourists worked
shoulder to shoulder with Mayans in
traditional cotton blouses and broad
sashes to dig for missing victims, oth-
ers hiked around mud-choked roads or
boarded government helicopters in the
second day of evacuations from the area
around Lake Atitlan.
Helicopters went to the nearby town of
San Andres Senetabaj to fly out an
estimated 20 Scandinavians trapped
since mudslides cut off the area sev-
eral days ago. About 50 more tour-
ists were hiking out of the lakeside
town of Panajachel.
"We got about 400 (tourists) out
last night, and were expecting more
today," said Solomon Reyes of Gua-
temala's Tourism Ministry.
In some areas the arrival of the
Guatemalan military only compli-
cated matters. Villagers in Panabaj
refused to allow in the army because
of memories of a 1990 massacre
there during the couItry's 36-year
U.S. Army Sgt 1st class Lance Classen, left, and Col. Ned Woolfolk, center,
talk with local Guatemalans after weather diverted their helicopter from its
original landing zone to the nearby town of San Marcos, 260 km northwest of
Guatemala City, in the aftermath of Hurricane Stan on Sunday.
Mideast summit thrown into doubt
A much-anticipated summit between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders was sudden-
ly thrown into doubt yesterday after Israel's defense minister rejected key Palestinian
demands during a preparatory meeting meant to ensure the upcoming session's success.
Senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators failed to bridge the differences yesterday,
but they agreed to meet one last time in hopes of salvaging the summit.
The summit, tentatively set for tomorrow, would be the first between Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas since Israel completed
its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last month.
The unilateral pullout has raised hopes that peace talks might soon resume. Israeli
and Palestinian officials say they want to produce concrete results at a summit, hoping
success would lead to formal negotiations toward a peace treaty.
But the two sides are deadlocked over several Palestinian demands, including the
handover of West Bank towns to Palestinian security control and demands for more
weapons for the embattled Palestinian security services.
Runoff likely after presidential election
A pro-market lawmaker and Warsaw's socially conservative mayor
appeared headed for a runoff in Poland's presidential election yesterday after
neither candidate gained the 50 percent of the vote needed, according to a
key exit poll.
Final results were not expected until today, the state electoral commission
told The Associated Press. Exit polls in Poland have proven in the past to be a
reliable indicator of how the final vote will tally.
The state television exit poll indicated that Donald Tusk, a pro-business can-
didate committed to stimulating entrepreneurship with low taxes and deregula-
tion, finished with about 38 percent; Warsaw Mayor Lech Kaczynski, a former
child actor hoping to preserve a strong safety net, had 32 percent.
New Orleans police beating caught on tape
Two New Orleans police officers repeatedly punched a 64-year-old man accused
of public intoxication, and another city officer assaulted an Associated Press Tele-
vision News producer as a cameraman taped the confrontations.
There will be a criminal investigation, and the three officers were to be suspend-
ed, arrested and charged with simple battery yesterday, Capt. Marlon Defillo said.
"We have great concern with what we saw this morning," Defillo said after he
and about a dozen other high-ranking police department officials watched the
APTN footage yesterday. "It's a troubling tape, no doubt about it. ... This depart-
ment will take immediate action."
The assaults come as the department, long plagued by allegations of brutality
and corruption, struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the resigna-
tion last month of Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.
Journalists recognized for coverage of war
Journalists reporting on the conflict in Iraq, a humanitarian crisis in Sudan,
the plight of children in Uganda's insurrection and a deadly school hostage
siege in Russia were honored Saturday with the annual Bayeux Prize for War
Jim MacMillan, a photographer for The Associated Press who covered fighting
between Iraqi insurgents and U.S. troops in the holy city of Najaf, won first place
in the photojournalism category, while AP photographer John Moore took second
place for his work in Iraq. Both were members of the AP photo team in Iraq that
won a Pulitzer Prize this year.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
An editorial in last Thursday's edition of the Daily (Wanted: Guinea Pigs)
listed the wrong address for the University's new research website. The correct
address is umengage.org.
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Terrorist plot uncorrob orated
NEW YORK (AP) - New Yorkers shrugged off fears
of exploding baby carriages and went about their week-
end routines Saturday as authorities debated whether a
reported subway terror plot was a legitimate threat or an
"It's kind of like you're used to it by now," said Erica
Ouda, 19, as she boarded a 4 train in lower Manhattan.
"There's always a threat."
A Department of Homeland Security memo warned
this week that a team of terrorists may have traveled to
New York to put remote-controlled bombs in briefcases
and baby carriages in an attack on or around yesterday. It
cautioned that the FBI and Homeland Security doubted
the threat's credibility.
But as U.S. forces interrogated three suspects in Iraq,
New York officials said they felt even more confident
about their decision to ramp up patrols and bag searches
in the subways.
"We've over the last couple of days become more con-
vinced that the threat was real," Mayor Michael Bloom-
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said
Bloomberg was right to err on the side of caution.
"The secretary respects the mayor's judgment and
believes that the security precautions being taken by
Mayor Bloomberg and other New York officials are abso-
lutely an appropriate response," he said in a statement.
An overseas tipster told U.S. intelligence last month
that three men were plotting a coordinated bomb attack
on the country's subways, law enforcement officials said.
The tipster passed parts of a lie-detector test, and U.S.
forces in Iraq arrested three suspected plotters earlier in
With two of the men captured and the plot presumably
disrupted, Bloomberg announced Thursday that security
was being heightened in the subways. Thousands of extra
officers were dispatched into the system and the number
of bag checks doubled.
Almost as soon as the threat was made public, officials
in Washington began talking it down, and Homeland
Security still downplayed the threat Saturday.
"We continue to work with the intelligence commu-
nity and officials at all levels of government," depart-
ment spokesman Russ Knocke said. "Although the threat
information was very specific, it still remains of doubtful
Paul Browne, the police department's chief spokes-
man, declined to discuss any new information from Iraq,
but said the department felt vindicated.
"As the days have progressed, it just reinforces the
decision made to increase the security in the subway sys-
tem," he said.
New Yorkers responded to the government jostling
with a mix of skepticism and resignation, saying they
didn't believe there was a threat or they had no other way
to get around town.
Some said the rhythm of threat, police response and
no attack had become just another element of life in the
city since the 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade
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