2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 12, 2005
U.S. to send aid
to flooded zones
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
approved the dispatch of military
helicopters, food and other aid to
help Central American nations inun-
dated by massive mudslides mount
Such catastrophes are too much for
any country to handle alone, Rumsfeld
said yesterday, en route to meetings
he is h6sting in south Florida with
security leaders from seven Central
American countries. "It looks like it's
a terrible natural disaster. It's heart-
Rumsfeld said the mudslides were
exactly the type of crisis that require
the countries in Central America to
work more closely together. He said
cooperation would also let those
nations better handle their security
concerns, ranging from terrorism to
narcotics and hostage-takings.
U.S. assistance on the way to Gua-
temala and other parts of the region
includes a mix of nine Black Hawk
and Chinook helicopters, mostly from
bases in the region, with at least six
other helicopters getting ready to
go soon, Roger Pardo-Maurer, the
deputy assistant secretary of defense
for Western Hemisphere policy, told
reporters. A medical unit from the
Arkansas National Guard also was
preparing to go.
Pardo-Maurer said the United States
was sending food, water, plastic sheet-
ing, medical supplies and other equip-
ment and would be helping to improve
The U.S. relief effort is being coor-
dinated by Army Gen. Bantz Crad-
dock. Rumsfeld was told that rain in
the region was expected to continue
another seven to 10 days.
Rumsfeld also spoke with Gen.
John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central
Command, yesterday to coordinate
a wide range of additional relief
efforts for victims of the deadly
earthquake in Pakistan. Abizaid
and Rumsfeld met with Pakistan's
senior representative to Central
Command's headquarters in Tampa,
Brig. Gen. Ikram Haq, who told
reporters that he believes that the
outpouring of earthquake aid from
Western nations will have a positive
effect on Pakistani public opinion
about the West.
In addition to the 12 U.S. and four
Afghan helicopters already available
in Pakistan, the U.S. military had four
more heavy lift helicopters en route,
and had identified 36 more helicopters
that were being prepared to go.
The Army later announced at the
Pentagon that it was sending 25 CH-47
Chinook helicopters to Pakistan from
Fort Sill, Okla., Fort Hood, Texas, and
Fort Drum, N.Y. The Army also is
sending about 200 soldiers to provide
support for the helicopter operations
in Pakistan, plus a mobile surgical
hospital and a water purification unit
from U.S. bases in Europe.
Disaster aid and illegal drugs and
arms control problems across Central
America will be key topics at the two-
day conference in Key Biscayne, Fla.
Officials also hope to encourage the
Central American countries to devel-
op a regional peacekeeping unit to
help improve coordination on border
Guatemalans wade through floodwaters Monday after receiving food and
water in the aftermath of Hurricane Stan.
security, crime and disaster response.
Rumsfeld stopped in Tampa to
speak with troops at a town hall-style
meeting at MacDill Air Force Base.
He thanked them for the service and
assured them that the United States
and its allies will prevail in Iraq and
The Central American ministers
meeting, which begins today, comes
just days after mudslides caused by
torrential rains buried entire Mayan
towns in Guatemala and killed hun-
dreds of people across the region,
including in El Salvador, Nicaragua,
Honduras, Costa Rica and Mexico.
"The purpose is really to look at
regionwide cooperation in Central
America," Pardo-Maurer said, adding
that there is growing interest in devel-
oping coordinated responses to drug
trafficking, gang crime and illegal
Improving security, said Pardo-
Maurer, will help boost economic
development in the region.
NEWS IN BRIEF 3
Deal reached on Iraqi constitution
Iraqi negotiators reached a breakthrough deal on the constitution yester-
day, and at least one Sunni Arab party said it would now urge its followers to
approve the charter in this weekend's referendum. Meanwhile, suicide bomb-
ings and other attacks killed more than 50 people in the insurgent campaign
aimed at intimidating voters.
Under the deal, the two sides agreed on a mechanism to consider amend-
ing the constitution after it is approved in Saturday's referendum. The next
parliament, to be formed in December, will set up a commission to consider
amendments, which would later have to be approved by parliament and sub-
mitted to a referendum.
The agreement boosts the chances that the draft constitution will be passed in
Saturday's nationwide vote. Shiite and Kurdish leaders support the draft and the
United States has been eager to see it approved to avert months more of political
turmoil, delaying plans to start a withdrawal of U.S. forces.
In return, the agreement guarantees Sunni Arabs the ability to try later to
introduce major changes they want, aimed at reducing the autonomous pow-
ers that Shiites and Kurds would have under the federal system created by the
charter, negotiators said.
Al-Qaida plans to expand war in region
In a letter to his top deputy in Iraq, al-Qaida's No. 2 leader says the United States
"ran and left" in Vietnam and the jihadists must have a plan ready to fill the void if
the Americans suddenly leaveIraq.
"Things may develop faster than we imagine," Ayman al-Zawahri wrote in a letter
to his top deputy in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "The aftermath of the collapse of
American power in Vietnam - and how they ran and left their agents - is notewor-
thy.... We must be ready starting now."
In a wide-ranging letter spanning more than 12 typed pages in the English transla-
tion, al-Zawahri also recommends a four-stage expansion of the war that would take
the fighting to neighboring Muslim countries.
"It has always been my belief that the victory of Islam will never take place until a
Muslim state is established ... in the heart of the Islamic world," al-Zawahr writes.
The letter lays out his long-term plan: expel the Americans from Iraq, establish an
Islamic authority and take the war to Iraq's secular neighbors, including Lebanon,
Jordan and Syria.
Insurgents ambush Afghan police convoy
Suspected Taliban rebels ambushed a police convoy traveling on a mountain
road in southern Afghanistan, killing 19 officers in the deadliest attack ever on the
fledgling police force, officials said yesterday.
Five other officers were missing and feared dead or kidnapped after the attack late
Monday on the convoy of 150 police as they drove on a dirt road along the side of a
mountain in Helmand province, Interior Ministry spokesman Yusuf Stanikzai said.
Dozens of insurgents opened fire on the convoy, sparking a gunbattle that lasted
until early yesterday, when the militants fled into the mountains, he said.
Among the 19 dead was Helmand's deputy police chief, Stanikzai said. Four
police officers were wounded and four police vehicles were destroyed, he said.
Frist held stock in family's hospital chain
Outside the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest, Senate
Majority Leader Bill Frist earned tens of thousands of dollars from stock
in a family-founded hospital chain largely controlled by his brother, docu-
The Tennessee Republican, whose sale this summer of HCA Inc. stock is under
federal investigation, has long maintained he could own HCA shares and still vote
on health care legislation without a conflict because he had placed the stock in
blind trusts approved by the Senate.
However, ethics experts say a partnership arrangement shown in documents
obtained by The Associated Press raises serious doubts about whether the senator
truly avoided a conflict.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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