2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 27, 2005
Jeb Bush admits fault in Wilma relief NEWS IN BRIEF
distribution centers still
iow on supplies
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP)
- Authorities raised Florida's death
toll from Hurricane Wilma from five
to 10 yesterday and urged the storm's
survivors to have patience as they
endured long waits for food, water and
Gov. Jeb Bush took responsibility
yesterday for frustrating delays at
centers distributing supplies to storm
victims, but he also said people who
have waited in line for hours seeking
relief should have done more to pre-
pare for the storm.
"People had ample time to prepare.
It isn't that hard to get 72 hours worth
of food and water," said Bush, repeating
the advice that officials had given days
before Wilma blasted across southern
Florida early Monday.
The 21st storm in the busiest Atlan-
tic hurricane season on record, Wilma
killed at least 12 people in Haiti, four
in Mexico and one in Jamaica before
hitting Florida. State emergency
management director Craig Fugate
said yesterday that Florida's death
toll was 10, up from the five deaths
Bush spoke at a joint news confer-
ence with Homeland Security Secre-
tary Michael Chertoff, who oversees,
the Federal Emergency Manage-
ment Agency. FEMA, roundly criti-
cized for its response to Hurricane
Katrina, was again a focus of frus-
tration yesterday as Floridians faced
long waits for supplies that the mayor
of Miami-Dade County warned were
On Tuesday, trucks carrying the first
wave of relief either arrived much later
than local officials expected or didn't
show up at all.
"I understand there are frustrations
here," Chertoff said. "As the governor
has acknowledged, we can't always get
to people what we hope to get and as
quickly as we hope to do it."
Bush accepted responsibility for
not having distribution centers run-
ning smoothly within 24 hours, and
promised to try to speed up distribu-
tion. His brother President Bush plans
to visit today.
At least one distribution site in Miami-
Dade was out of supplies, and the other
10 were running low with material from
FEMA, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos
Alvarez said he was uncertain when
stocks would be resupplied.
"I cannot give you a timetable
because, ladies and gentlemen, quite
frankly, we don't control those assets."
Alvarez called the relief process
"flawed," called for more control and
oversight and said he was "frustrated,
disappointed, angered" with the deliv-
ery of supplies.
Items Americans usually take for
granted - a bag of ice, a fast-food
burger, a gallon of gas - have taken
hours of patience to get since Hurricane
Wilma made its destructive sweep.
Nine hours after she got in line
Tuesday at one designated relief-sup-
ply location, Fanie Aristil, 23, of
North Miami wearily left for home
Tourists walk next to a ship that ran aground last weekend during Hurri-
cane Wilma in Puerto Juarez, near Cancun, Mexico yesterday.
with 28 pounds of ice and six liters of
"All that time," Aristil said. "This is
all we get?"
Police watched over the few gas
stations that were open as a precau-
tion in case motorists' tempers flared
while they waited for up to five hours
to buy fuel.
"I need gas for my generator so I can
go to work and make some money," said
Hector Vasquez, 36, who repairs win-
dows. "This shouldn't be this difficult."
Florida Power & Light, the state's big-
gest utility, said Wilma affected more of
its 4.3 million customers than any other
natural disaster in the company's his-
tory. By yesterday, service was restored
to about 20 percent of the 3.2 million
customers who lost service.
Libby, Rove may be charged this week
The prosecutor in the CIA leak probe had a confidential lunchtime meeting with
a federal judge yesterday after a grand jury listened to three hours of testimony in
the case that has ensnared top White House aides.
The grand jury's term expires on Friday, and the panel adjourned for the day
without announcing any charges or other action. The administrative assistant to
Thomas Hogan, the chief judge of U.S. District Court in the nation's capital, con-
firmed Hogan's meeting with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. The assistant,
Sheldon Snook, declined to comment on what was discussed.
No witnesses were seen going into the grand jury area, only Fitzgerald
and his deputies.
The prosecutor is known to be putting the finishing touches on a two-year crimi-
nal investigation that has involved President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove,
and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby.
Lawyers representing White House officials expect Fitzgerald to decide this
week whether to charge Libby and Rove. The lawyers, who spoke on condition of
anonymity because the criminal investigation is at a highly sensitive stage, regard it
as unlikely that Fitzgerald would seek to extend the life of the grand jury.
FDA considers allowing home HIV test
Swab the inside of your mouth. Put that swab into a vial of test fluid,
and 20 minutes later you'll learn whether you're infected with the virus that
The OraQuick Advance test is already widely available in health clinics
and doctors' offices. The Food and Drug Administration is considering
permitting it to be sold over the counter.
Supporters of home kits say they will spur more people to get tested and get
treatment sooner if infected. However, concerns have been raised about whether a
doctor or counselor should be nearby when people find out they are HIV-positive.
If approved, the test would become the first FDA-approved test that a
person can take without the presence of a health care worker or the require-
ment of mailing a sample to a lab.
The maker, OraSure Technology of Bethlehem, Pa., has not decided how
much it will charge consumers for the kit, said Ron Spair, the company's
chief financial officer. The company sells the kits for between $12 and $17
to clinics and doctors, he said.
Efforts to halt base closings expected to fail
A plan to close and reconfigure hundreds of military bases is sailing through
Congress, on track to take effect next month in a blow to communities hoping for
an eleventh-hour reprieve.
In a long-shot attempt to halt the first round of base closings in a decade, the
House plans to vote today on a proposal to reject the final report of the 2005 base-
closing commission. Even base-closing opponents considered the effort certain to
fail, like Congress's attempts to stop the four previous rounds.
To kill the process, the Senate also would have to veto the report - and the,
chances of that are slim to none. In both chambers, opposition has been muted by
the elimination of several major bases from the Pentagon's original list of closures
and the recent focus on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Port Authority ruled negligent in bombings
A jury ruled yesterday that the Port Authority was negligent in the bombing of
the World Trade Center in 1993 - a long-awaited legal victory for victims of an
attack that killed six people and wounded 1,000.
The six-person jury ruled that the Port Authority, the agency that owned the
World Trade Center, was negligent by not properly maintaining the parking garage,
where terrorists detonated more than a half-ton of explosives in a Ryder van. It said
the negligence was a "substantial factor" in the allowing the bombing to occur.
The jury took just one day to reach its verdict. Several separate trials wil now
be held to determine money damages.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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Miers to be grilled on limits of terror laws
Judiciary Committee to
question nominee's ability
to be independent of Bush
WASHINGTON (AP) - The sena-
tor who will preside at Supreme. Court
nominee Harriet Miers's confirmation
hearings told her yesterday to expect
to be questioned about White House's
policies on the war on terror and wheth-
er she can be independent of President
Bush if confirmed.
Senate Judiciary chairman Arlen Spec-
ter (R-Pa.) told Miers to expect questions
on the area of executive authority "espe-
cially in light of your close relationship
with the president and the key positions
you have held in the White House."
Specter said in a letter of preview
questions for Miers, "What assurances
can you give the Senate and the Ameri-
can people that you will be independent,
if confirmed, and not give President
Bush any special deference on any mat-
ter involving him which might come
before the court?"
Miers is the White House counsel, and
was also White House staff secretary and
deputy chief of staff for policy before
being nominated to replace retiring Jus-
tice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Most of the questions sent to Miers
dealt with legal issues pertaining to the
war on terror.
Specter asked whether there were "any
limitations" as to how long Guantanamo
Bay detainees could be held. He also told
Miers to expect to be asked the long-run-
ning question about Congress's ability to
declare war versus the president's ability
to sent troops into a military action.
"Was the Vietnam conflict a war which
should have, as a matter of constitutional
law, required a declaration of war by Con-
gress?" Specter said.
Specter's questions came as a conserva-
tive senator said the White House should
provide written evidence that Miers has a
conservative judicial philosophy instead
of asking senators to rely her statements
or the word of her friends.
"What I am suggesting is that I'd love
to see more written material that predates
the nomination," said conservative Sen.
David Vitter (R-La.) after an early morn-
ing meeting with Miers.
When asked how important getting
that material was to his vote, he said, "It's
extremely important. I don't know how to
put it in a numbers term, but it's extremely
Miers was expected yesterday to
give the Senate her answers to a sec-
ond questionnaire from the com-
mittee. Specter and the committee's
top Democrat, Vermont Sen. Patrick
Leahy, criticized Miers's responses to
the committee's first questionnaire as
vague and incomplete.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said
he hopes Miers's answers will be "both
illuminating and complete. But the
$64,000 question remains: Who is Har-
riet Miers? In some ways, the more we
hear, the less we know."
Senators are negotiating with the White
House over what documents the adminis-
tration will release from Miers' work for
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