2A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 9, 2006
Doctors to end Sharon's coma NEWS IN BRIEF
Israeli prime minister still in
critical condition, but brain scan
shows signs of improvement
JERUSALEM (AP) - A scan of Ariel Sharon's
brain yesterday showed improvement, but doctors
decided to wait another day to start bringing the
Israeli leader out of his medically induced coma,
an important step in determining how much dam-
age he suffered from a massive stroke.
One of Sharon's doctors said if the prime min-
ister survives, he would not be able to return to
office. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told
the Cabinet he would work to carry on Sharon's
Sharon remained in critical condition yester-
day at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital after suf-
fering a stroke late Wednesday and undergoing
two lengthy surgeries to stop massive bleeding in
his brain. Sharon previously experienced a mild
stroke Dec. 18.
Doctors have kept Sharon in a medically induced
coma and on a respirator since Thursday to give
him time to heal. Sharon's medical team decided
that this morning they would begin reducing the
level of sedatives he is receiving to start pulling
him out of the coma.
Experts said the process could take six to eight
hours, and doctors should have a good idea of the
extent of the damage by the end of the day.
A new brain scan yesterday showed his vital
signs, including the pressure inside his skull, were
normal, said Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the hospital
"His condition is still critical but stable, and
there is improvement in the CT picture of the
brain," Mor-Yosef said.
"In light of all these factors, the panel of experts
decided to start the process of taking him out of
the sedation tomorrow morning. This all depends,
of course, on whether the prime minister makes
it until tomorrow morning without any significant
Doctors had planned to start pulling Sharon
from the coma yesterday, but decided to wait
another day after performing the new scan.
The 77-year-old Sharon, Israel's most popular
politician, was seen by many here as the best hope
for resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. His
grave illness, just three months before elections,
has stunned Israelis and left Middle East politics
Doctors will pass their assessment of brain dam-
age to Attorney General Meni Mazuz.
"They will inform us the moment they wake
him up from the sedation and they will know what
systems were damaged and what his situation is,"
Justice Ministry spokesman Jacob Galanti said.
If doctors determine that Sharon is permanently
incapacitated, the Cabinet would meet immedi-
ately to choose a new prime minister from the five
sitting Cabinet ministers from Sharon's Kadima
Party who also are lawmakers.
Olmert is seen as Sharon's potential heir.
One of Sharon's surgeons, Jose Cohen, said that
while the premier's chances of survival were high,
his ability to think and reason would be impaired.
"He will not continue to be prime minister, but
maybe he will be able to understand and to speak,"
the Argentina-born Cohen said in comments pub-
lished yesterday by The Jerusalem Post.
Outside experts were even less optimistic.
"There is zero expectation on my part that he
will have the capacity to perform in any kind of
formal way," said Keith Siller, medical director at
the NYU Comprehensive Stroke Care Center.
"We are basically hoping he survives and that
he has some kind of ability to get some rehab so
he can have some useful function again. But we
are talking about the basics, we are talking very
basic things. The complexity of this man, and
what he did for a living, this is not to even be
considered now. This is absolutely unrealistic at
Israel's Cabinet met for its weekly gathering
yesterday for the first time since Sharon's stroke.
Olmert sat next to Sharon's empty chair, the
prime minister's untouched gavel rested in the
middle of the table.
U - U~~fl - U flU in - .wa -- -- ------
Race to succeed DeLay begins
Democrats tried for years to topple Tom DeLay. Republicans succeeded.
DeLay, the defiant face of a conservative revolution in Congress, stepped down
as House majority leader on Saturday under pressure from GOP lawmakers stag-
gered by an election-year corruption scandal.
"During my time in Congress, I have always acted in an ethical manner within
the rules of our body and the laws of our land," the Texas lawmaker told fellow
Republicans in a letter informing them of his decision.
Still, referring to criminal charges he faces in his home state, he added, "I cannot
allow our adversaries to divide and distract our attention."
DeLay temporarily gave up his leadership post after he was charged, but always
insisted he would reclaim his duties after clearing his name.
His turnabout cleared the way for leadership elections among Republicans buf-
feted by poor polls and by lobbyist Jack Abramoff's confessions of guilt on corrup-
tion charges in connection with congressional wining and dining.
The race to replace Delay as majority leader began taking shape immediately,
with Reps. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the GOP whip, and John Boehner of Ohio, a
former member of the leadership, making clear their intentions to run. Rep. Jerry
Lewis (R-Calif.) declined to say whether he would join them.
Dems demand answers from A to
Filibuster a possibility
if high court nominee
dodges certain questions
WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen-
ate Democrats yesterday promised a
drawn-out confirmation and perhaps
a filibuster for Samuel Alito if the
Supreme Court nominee evades or
refuses to answer their questions on
abortion, presidential war powers and
other issues at this week's confirma-
"If he continuously, given his pre-
vious record, refused to answer ques-
tions and hid behind 'I can't answer
this because it might come before
me,' it would increase the chances of a
filibuster," said Sen. Charles Schumer
(D-N.Y.), a member of the Senate Judi-
Democrats say they will not decide
whether to filibuster or try to delay
a committee vote until after the
committee's weeklong hearings that
If Democrats attempt a filibuster
based on Alito's answers on abortion,
at least one Republican is ready to vote
for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's
plan to ban judicial filibusters.
"I would consider that not only not
an extraordinary circumstance, but a
threat to the independence of the judi-
Supreme Court nominee Samuel Allto, center, walks through Hart Senate build-
ing with Bush assistant Jamie Brown, left, and former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats.
ciary, and I would stop it in its tracks
with my vote," said GOP Sen. Lindsey
Graham is one of the 14 senators-
seven from each party-who joined
together to end an earlier Senate show-
down of the stalling tactic for the pres-
ident's judicial nominees.
That group of centrist lawmakers
decided last year to support such fili-
busters only under "extraordinary cir-
Republicans say there is no reason
to delay or filibuster Alito, the fed-
eral appeals court judge who is Bush's
choice to succeed the retiring Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor. She often pro-
vided the swing vote on abortion, the
death penalty, affirmative action and
other contentious issues.
"I have not seen any rational basis
for filibustering Judge Alito," said the
Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen.
Arlen Specter (R-Penn.), on CNN's
Alito will face at least two days of
questioning from senators; the nomi-
nee and the lawmakers planned to give
their opening statements at noon today,
hours after Alito's scheduled breakfast
meeting at the White House with the
Questioning begins tomorrow and
is expected to go through at least
Specter has called for a Jan. 17
committee vote. But Sen. Patrick
Leahy of Vermont, the committee's
top Democrat, would not promise
that Democrats would stick to that
schedule, which Senate leaders hope
would lead to a final vote in the full
Senate on Jan. 20.
"Obviously, if he doesn't answer
the questions, then it gets out of my
control. Some senator would move
to hold it over. Let's hope we get all
the answers, so that doesn't happen,"
Leahy told CBS's "Face the Nation."
Alito was the White House's sec-
ond choice to replace O'Connor,
the high court's first female justice.
White House counsel Harriet Miers
withdrew from consideration after
conservatives questioned her judicial
philosophy and qualifications for the
(AP) - State lawmakers return to
their jobs this month, grappling with
finding ways to protect property rights,
stem the influx of illegal immigrants
and prepare for emergencies, with Hur-
ricane Katrina still fresh on their minds.
Looming behind all their actions will be
thoughts of elections this fall.
Money worries have eased a bit for
many states after years of tight budgets.
But that only spurs debate over how
to spend surpluses - should it be on
schools, roads or easing homeowners'
high energy bills? Meanwhile, long-term
costs of health care and education prom-
ise to soar, complicating the lawmakers'
Beyond budgets,a top issue is the back-
lash created by the U.S. Supreme Court's
ruling that said governments may seize
private property for economic develop-
ment. Lawmakers in Florida, Georgia,
Maryland, Missouri and elsewhere are
trying to ban the use of eminent domain
for such purposes.
And illegal immigration already is
spurring argumentand action, from Ari-
zona to New Hampshire.
Georgia legislators want to bar gov-
ernment assistance to illegal immi-
grants for food stamps and education.
An Arizona proposal would crack
down on businesses that hire illegal
immigrants. New Hampshire will con-
sider allowing police to detain undocu-
mented immigrants for a few days until
federal authorities take them.
"The federal government has got to
step up and do its job," said New Hamp-
shire's Senate Majority Leader Bob
Clegg, a Republican.
The bungled federal response on the
Gulf Coast to Hurricane Katrina offered
Mourners grieve privately for 12 miners
The funerals began early. There were just so many scheduled in West Virginia's
coal mining towns yesterday.
And after an untold number watched on live television as it was revealed that
12 miners died in the Sago Mine explosion, the funerals were, for the most part, a
Only those who knew the miners and live in these coal mining communities
were allowed to join the families to grieve. Police officers created a protective ring
around the two funeral homes here, asking the media not to intrude.
But it was clear, even from a distance, that nearly 100 mourners - hugging each
other, offering condolences to each other, many starring at their feet as they walked
inside - had gathered to remember miner Jackie Weaver.
The 52-year-old section electrician, who spent 26 years working in the mines,
always wrote "Jesus saves" in the coal dust of his mine car as he and colleagues
descended into the mine, said his cousin, Scotty Felton, 42, of Philippi.
Helicopter downed in Iraq; 12 believed dead
A U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter went down in northern Iraq, killing
all 12 Americans believed to be aboard in the deadliest crash in nearly a year,
while five U.S. Marines died in weekend attacks, the military said yesterday.
The latest deaths followed an especially bloody week in which about 200
Iraqis and a dozen U.S. troops were killed. Iraqi politicians, meanwhile,
claimed headway in forming a stable coalition government following the
Dec. 15 elections, whose final results may be released this week.
U.S. military officials said the UH-60 Black Hawk crashed just before
midnight Saturday about seven miles east of Tal Afar, a northern city near
the Syrian border that has seen heavy fighting with insurgents.
Gunman who shot Pope John Paul to be freed
The man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981 will be released from prison
this week after a court decided he had completed his sentence for the attack on
the pontiff and other crimes - a ruling that took the Vatican by surprise.
Mehmet Ali Agca was extradited to Turkey in 2000 after serving almost
20 years in Italy for shooting and wounding the pope in St. Peter's Square in
Rome. His motive for shooting John Paul in the abdomen on May 13, 1981,
Agca, 47, was to be released on parole Thursday, his lawyer, Mustafa Demir-
bag told The Associated Press by telephone.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
An article on the front page of Friday's issue mistakenly referred to Eastern
Michigan University spokesman Ward Mullens as spokeswoman.
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