2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Dems take on Alito in hearings NEWS INEF
* Democrats begin hearing
more aggressively than they did
in Roberts's last September
WASHINGTON - Judge Samuel Alito absorbed
hours of criticism from Senate Democrats at close
quarters yesterday, then pledged at his confirmation
hearings to do what the law requires "in every sin-
gle case" if approved for the Supreme Court.
"A judge can't have any agenda, a judge can't have
any preferred outcome in any particular case, and a
judge certainly doesn't have a client," said Alito, the 55-
year-old appeals judge who is President Bush's choice to
succeed Sandra Day O'Connor for the swing seat on a
divided high court.
Alito spoke after several Democrats on the Judi-
ciary Committee made clear they intended to ques-
tion him with unusual aggressiveness across the next
few days about abortion, presidential powers in an
age of terrorism, his personal credibility and more.
"In an era when the White House is abusing
power, is excusing and authorizing torture and is
spying on American citizens, I find Judge Alito's
support for an all-powerful executive branch to
be genuinely troubling," said Sen. Edward Ken-
"You give the impression of being a meticu-
lous legal navigator, but, in the end, you always
seem to chart a rightward course," added Chuck
Republicans, with a majority on the committee
and the Senate, offered Alito shelter.
"As of right now, there's no question that he's going to
have my vote," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned
Democrats against setting a precedent of filibus-
tering Alito's nomination on the basis of abor-
tion rights. If that became the standard, there are
many senators who believe so deeply that "an
abortion is certain death for an unborn child that
they would stand on their feet forever," he said.
The atmosphere was different by several degrees
Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito is sworn In during his confirmation hearing before the
Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill yesterday.
from confirmation hearings last fall for Chief Jus-
tice John Roberts. He had originally been named
to succeed O'Connor, but then Chief Justice Wil-
liam Rehnquist died, and Bush quickly made Rob-
erts his choice for that post. That meant Roberts
would be replacing one of the court's most reliable
conservative votes on abortion and other issues.
Bush's next choice for the O'Connor vacancy, Har-
riet Miers, withdrew her nomination after coming under
sustained criticism from conservatives who said they
doubted her credentials on abortion.
Those two factors - plus the erosion in Bush's
public support as measured in the polls - com-
bined to make for a feistier Democratic presence
in the committee room, and a more contentious
opening day of hearings.
Sharon recovering from stroke
Ariel Sharon started breathing on his own yesterday and moved his right arm
and leg in response to pain stimulation in what his surgeon called an important
development. But it will be days before doctors can determine whether he is lucid
or will be able to return to the job.
"The prime minister is breathing spontaneously," said Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the
director of Hadassah Hospital, adding that the movements of Sharon's arm and leg
marked "a slight but significant improvement."
Sharon's response is a "very important" sign and indicated his brain stem is work-
ing, said his chief surgeon, Felix Umansky, briefing reporters for the first time.
It is still too early, however, to assess what impact the massive bleeding
he suffered in his right brain would have on his abilities to think and reason
or on the left side of his body, Umansky said.
Cheney hospitalized for pill complications
Medication that Dick Cheney was taking for a foot problem caused fluid reten-
tion that in turned caused shortness of breath, resulting in a brief but not serious
hospital stay early yesterday for the vice president, his office said.
Cheney was taken to the hospital at 3 a.m. About four and a half hours later,
he headed for home - walking out of the hospital without the use of a cane and
carrying coffee and a newspaper. By mid-afternoon, the vice president was at
the White House attending meetings and following his regular schedule, Cheney
spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride said.
"He's feeling well,"she said.
The 64-year-old vice president has a long history of mostly heart-related health
problems -' four heart attacks, though none since he became vice president in 2001;
quadruple bypass surgery to clear clogged arteries; two artery-clearing angioplasties;
and an operation to implant a pacemaker. But doctors determined from an unchanged
EKG, or electrocardiogram, that the shortness of breath was related instead to anti-
inflammatory drugs he was taking for a foot problem, McBride said.
Army to discharge absentee reservists
The Army yesterday began moves to expel dozens of reserve soldiers who
failed to report for duty months after being mobilized for the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan, in effect serving notice to hundreds of others that they
could face penalties for ignoring or refusing orders to return to active duty.
The proceedings mark a turning point in the Army's struggle to contact, train and
deploy thousands of Individual Ready Reserve soldiers, nearly half of whom have
requested a delay in returning, asked to be exempt or simply ignored their orders.
The soldiers in this category of reserve status, who have served previously on
active duty but not completed their eight-year service obligation, are different
than those in the National Guard or Reserve, and they are rarely mobilized.
So far, mobilization orders have been issued for more than 5,700 IRR
soldiers since mid-2004.
Suicide bombers kill 29 Iraqis at celebration
Two suicide bombers disguised as police infiltrated the heavily fortified
Interior Ministry compound in Baghdad and blew themselves up yesterday
during celebrations of National Police Day, killing 29 Iraqis.
The attackers died before getting near the U.S. ambassador and senior
Iraqi officials at the festivities, but the blasts capped a particularly deadly
week for American and Iraqi forces.
Iraqi police also were searching for an American journalist who was kidnapped
Saturday by gunmen who ambushed her car and killed her translator in Baghdad.
Jill Carroll, a 28-year-old freelancer for The Christian Science Monitor,
was seized in Baghdad's predominantly Sunni Arab al-Adel neighborhood.
Police said she went there to see a Sunni Arab politician.
The escalating violence after the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections - at least 498
Iraqis and 54 U.S. forces have been killed - came as Iraq's electoral commission
again delayed releasing the results of the vote.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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Rally propels market to pre-9/11 heights
Signs that Fed may
end interest rate hikes,
stabilizing oil prices
push Dow above 11,000
NEW YORK - The Dow Jones
industrial average crossed 11,000
yesterday for the first time since
before the 9/11 terrorist attacks,
buoyed by a rally that has sent stock
prices soaring through the first five
sessions of 2006.
Wall Street's best-known stock
indicator rose as high as 11,020.15
by mid-afternoon, the first time since
June 13, 2001, that the index of 30 blue
chip stocks traded above 11,000. It last
closed above that milestone on June 7,
2001, when it stood at 11,090.74.
Yesterday's advance followed a 241-
point surge last week as investors grew
increasingly optimistic that the Federal
Reserve will soon end its string of interest
rate hikes. Investment firms' upgrades of
Dow components General Motors Corp.
and JP Morgan Chase & Co. also helped
carry the index past 11,000 yesterday.
"It sends a signal that the U.S.
economy has weathered some pretty
harsh storms over the past few years
and in recent months," said Art
Hogan, chief investment strategist at
Jefferies & Co.
Hogan said heightened clarity
about the Fed's rate tightening, sta-
bilizing oil prices and new invest-
ment money from 401(k) and pension
funds have contributed to the mar-
ket's gains in the new year.
"We probably can hold onto it," he
said. "If companies can continue to
weather this energy surge, operate
in a higher interest rate environment
and create jobs, the market should be
able to continue this rise."
In mid-afternoon trading, the Dow was
up 4499, or 0.41 percent, at 11,004.30.
Broader stock indicators were at their
own highest levels since May 2001. The
Standard & Poor's 500 index was up
4.09, or 0.32 percent, at 1,289.54, and
the Nasdaq composite index rose 13.05,
or 0.57 percent, to 2,318.67.
Bonds fell slightly, with the yield
on the 10-year Treasury note rising
to 4.38 percent from 4.37 percent
Friday. The dollar was higher against
most major currencies, while gold
Crude oil and natural gas.futures
dropped amid mild winter weather
across the country. A barrel of light
crude lost 96 cents to $63.25 on the
New York Mercantile Exchange,
where natural gas slipped 32 cents to
$9.31 per 1,000 cubic feet.
The Dow came within 16 points of
11,000 last March 7, but fell back amid
worries about inflation and higher oil
prices, concerns that dogged the market
for much of 2005.
The blue chips are still more than
6 percent below their all-time high of
11,722.98, reached Jan. 14, 2000, as
the high-tech boom approached its
peak, but they have recovered well
from their low of 7,286.27, reached
on Oct. 9, 2002, while the nation
wrestled with an economic slow-
down spurred by the terrorist attacks
on.the World Trade Center and Pen-
tagon the year before.
DOGUBAYAZIT, Turkey - Pre-
liminary tests showed five more
people in Turkey have been infected
with the deadly strain of bird flu that
already killed two teenage siblings,
officials said yesterday as Indonesia
and China each reported a new case.
The new results raise the number of
human cases in Turkey to 15, although
most have not yet been confirmed by
the World Health Organization.
A WHO official said Turkish
patients appear to be catching the
disease from infected domestic
birds, the normal path of the disease,
and not from each other.
He warned that the chance that
bird flu may mutate into a danger-
ous form transmitted from person
to person increases with every new
Two teenagers from the same fam-
ily died of bird flu last week. They
were the first fatalities from the
H5N1 strain of the virus outside East
Asia, where 74 people have been
killed by H5N1 since 2003.
The cases are turning up in Turk-
ish towns and villages hundreds of
miles apart, in every section of the
country except the west. Turkish offi-
cials said they are near wetlands on
the paths of migratory birds, which
have been carrying the disease from
country to country.
Indonesian authorities reported
yesterday that a 39-year-old man
with a history of contact with poul-
try had died of bird flu, according to
In China, authorities said local
tests showed that a 6-year-old boy in
stable condition at a central China
hospital has tested positive for the
H5N1 strain. Poultry at the boy's
home died before he fell ill, the offi-
cial Xinhua News Agency reported.
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