2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 22, 2006
0 Explosives intercepted
by police was intended
to interfere with national
LATRUN JUNCTION, Israel
(AP) - With sirens wailing and blue
lights flashing, Israeli police chased
avan with-explosives on a main high-
way yesterday and captured a group
of Palestinians who defense officials
say planned a major bombing ahead
of national elections.
Israel's parliamentary election is set
for March 28; Palestinian attacks have
altered the outcome of past balloting.
After chasing down the bomber half-
way from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, jittery
security forces extended a closure on
the West Bank and Gaza through elec-
' AP Television News video showed
the 10 Palestinians removed from the
van at gunpoint, stripped to their under-
wear, and forced to lie face down in a
field next to the highway, arms extended.
Sappers took away a 15-pound bomb,
concealed in a bag.
Jerusalem police commander Ilan
Franco said the suspected bomber had
ties to the militant group Islamic Jihad.
Authorities said he planned to blow
himself up in central Israel, without pin-
pointing the location.
Islamic Jihad has been responsible
for all seven such attacks during a year-
long cease-fire largely observed by oth-
ers, including Hamas, the larger Islamic
group. Hamas is forming a new govern-
nient after sweeping Palestinian elec-
ions in January and has indicated it will
continue the truce.
At midday yesterday, a police heli-
copter flew in ever-tightening circles
above the four-lane Jerusalem-Tel Aviv
highway, looking for the blue van with
Based on directions from the sky,
police set up roadblocks on the heav-
ify traveled highway, snarling traffic
The van was first seen in the hills
near the suburb of Mevasseret Zion, and
police joined the pursuit.
Elite police commandos with auto-
matic weapons took part. Oz Eliasi, a
police officer involved in the chase, said
the van ran two roadblocks before it was
stopped by police six miles past the Lat-
Tun junction, a main interchange.
Eliasi told Channel 2 TV that police
initially forced the driver out of the van.
Police then saw a Palestinian peeking
but the rear window and realized there
were passengers, he added.
"With guns drawn, we went to the
back of the van and began removing
everyone, laying them down on the
ground," he said.
Bomb experts searched the car and
found a bag containing the explosives,
police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld
said. Police removed the bomb from the
car, setting off a panic among nearby
NEWS IN BRIEF
HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Supreme Court rules against investors
The Supreme Court made it harder yesterday for investors to join forces
to file high-stakes fraud lawsuits against companies.
The 8-0 decision blocks state class-action lawsuits by stockholders who
contend they were tricked into holding onto declining shares.
Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the court, said that to rule other-
wise would allow "wasteful, duplicative litigation."
The decision does not shut the door to lawsuits filed by individual stock-
holders, but rather to suits brought on behalf of large groups.
"There had been some upswing in these after the Enron and WorldCom
tscandals," said Columbia Law School professor John Coffee, who believes
it will be too expensive for individual stock owners to pursue such suits.
It was a major victory for Merrill Lynch & Co., which faced a spate of
lawsuits prompted in part by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's
2002 probe into the investment banking firm's practices.
President Bush gestures during a news conference at the White House yesterday.
Bush says occupation in
Iraq will outlast his term
Ayatollah receptive to talks with U.S.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said yesterday that he approves
of talks between U.S. and Iranian officials on Iraq, but warned that the
United States must not try to "bully" Iran.
It was the first confirmation that Khamenei, who holds final say on all
state matters in Iran, is in favor of the talks.
His comments came hours after President Bush spoke in favor of such a
meeting, saying American officials would show Iran "what's right or wrong
in their activities inside of Iraq."
Khamenei said that "if the Iranian officials can make the U.S. understand
some issues about Iraq, there is no problem with the negotiations."
"But if the talks mean opening a venue for bullying and imposition by
the deceitful party (the Americans), then it will be forbidden," he said in a
speech in the northeastern city of Mashhad, aired on state television.
Both the United States and Iran have said the talks will focus solely
on stabilizing Iraq and not deal with the heated issue of Iran's nuclear
FORT MEADE, Md.
Abu Ghraib dog handler convicted of abuse
A jury found an Army dog handler guilty yesterday of abusing detainees
at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison by terrifying them with a military dog, alleg-
edly for his own amusement.
Sgt. Michael Smith, 24, was found guilty of six of 13 counts. The judge
later dismissed one of those six counts, saying it duplicated another.
Smith had faced the stiffest potential sentence of any soldier charged so
far in the Abu Ghraib scandal - up to 24 1/2 years in prison. Instead, with
the five counts, he faced a sentences of up to 8 1/2 years in prison, forfei-
ture of pay and allowances and dishonorable discharge. His sentencing was
scheduled later yesterday.
The military jury deliberated for about 18 hours over three days before
announcing its verdict.
troops must stay
WASHINGTON (AP) - Presi-
dent Bush stepped before television
cameras yesterday for only the sec-
ond White House news conference
of the year. Question No. 1, 2, 3, 4
and beyond were about the war in
Iraq - the single issue likely to
define his legacy.
With his poll numbers dropping
and no end to the war in sight,
Bush used the nationally broad-
cast appearance to try, once again,
to address Americans' doubts and
explain why he believes Iraq is so
important in the war against terror.
Yes, he said, the United States has
made mistakes in Iraq. No, he said,
Iraq has not plunged into a bloody
civil war - an outcome that most
Americans fear likely. If the Unit-
ed States pulls out of Iraq now, he
said, terrorists will use the country
as a launching pad to attack moder-
ate governments in the Mideast and
strike at the United States.
"I'm optimistic we'll succeed,"
the president said. "If not, I'd pull
our troops out." He said American
forces would remain in Iraq for
years and it would be up to a future
president to decide when to bring
them all home.
The president rejected calls for
the resignation of Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld, chief architect of
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Lis-
ten, every war plan looks good on
paper until you meet the enemy,"
Bush said, acknowledging mistakes
as the United States was forced to
switch tactics and change a recon-
struction strategy that offered tar-
gets for insurgents.
The president spoke for nearly an
hour at a White House news confer-
ence, part of a new offensive to ease
Americans' unhappiness with the war
and fellow Republicans' anxiety about
fall elections. He faced skeptical ques-
tions about Iraq during an appear-
ance Monday in Cleveland, and plans
another address soon on Iraq.
Public support for the war and for
Bush himself has fallen in recent
dizing the politi-
cal capital he "If I didn't'
claimed from his
2004 re-election we had al
victory. "I'd say
I'm spending that Victory I v
capital on the
war," Bush said. leave ourI
House believes that harm's wa
approach even if
they disagree with
"I understand war creates con-
cerns," the president said. "Nobody
likes war. It creates a sense of
uncertainty in the country."
Bush has adamantly refused to
set a deadline for the withdrawal
of U.S. forces from Iraq. Asked if
there would come a day when there
would be no more U.S. forces in
Iraq, Bush said, "That, of course,
is an objective. And that will be
decided by future presidents and
future governments of Iraq."
Pressed on whether that meant
a complete withdrawal would not
happen during his presidency, Bush
said, "I can only tell you that I
will make decisions on force levels
based upon what the commanders
on the ground say."
White House officials worried
Bush's remarks would be read as
saying there would not be signifi-
cant troop reductions during his
presidency. They pointed to com-
ments Sunday by Gen. George
Casey, commander of U.S. forces in
Iraq, who said he expected a sub-
stantial troop reduction "certainly
over the course of 2006 and into
The Penta-Lost children program wraps up in Big Easy
n announced The largest child-recovery effort in U.S. history is complete after more than six
st December months, with 5,192 children missing after hurricanes Katrina and Rita reunited with
at U.S. force family members, officials said yesterday.
vels would be The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children worked with the FBI, Federal
duced from the Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Postal Service, Red Cross and other agencies
aseline figure to find the thousands of children separated from their parents or guardians when Hur-
about 138,000 ricane Katrina hit Aug. 29 and Hurricane Rita hit just a few weeks later.
to about 131,000
by the end of
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
- President Bush total currently is
133,000. In late
Congress that "it will be possible to
consider" additional reductions as
the political process moves forward
and as Iraqi security forces gain
experience. No timetable has been
set for deciding on additional cuts.
More than 2,300 American troops
have died in Iraq. At home, nearly
four of five people, including 70
percent of Republicans, believe civil
war will break out in Iraq, accord-
ing to a recent AP-Ipsos poll.
"If I didn't believe we had a plan
for victory I wouldn't leave our peo-
ple in harm's way."
Please report any error in the Daily to email@example.com.
~br1Mkn t C~
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1327
0 Nearly 90 percent of strike the United States.
In the San Francisco Bay area, where
California homeowners geologists project a 62 percent probability
have no earthquake of a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake
in the next 26 years, Hurricane Katrina
insurance has had a dual effect on homeowners.
Some Californians called their insur-
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - When ance agents and signed up for quake cov-
Charlie Bott got an offer in the mail erage. But for many others, the billions
recently for earthquake insurance, he of dollars in federal aid pouring into the
stared long and hard at the bottom line. Gulf Coast merely bolstered a sense that
Then he threw it away. the government would come to the res-
"It was way beyond anything you cue after a big earthquake.
pay for house insurance. Not even in the In the insurance industry this mind-set
same league," said Bott, a nuclear engi- is jokingly known as the "Air Force One
neer with a baby on the way. Solution" - the notion that the president
Now, like millions of others, he is hop- would surely fly over a disaster zone
ing that the Big One doesn't strike, and if dropping $100 bills from his plane.
it does, that the government will come to "Good luck with that," said Nancy
the rescue. Kincaid, director of public policy, nmiti-
Californians have built vast metropo- gation and communications for the Cali-
lises atop seismic faults, but 86 percent fornia Earthquake Authority. The CEA
of the state's homeowners have no quake is the state's privately funded, publicly
insurance, a proportion that has crept managed quake insurance provider; its
upward as memories of past quakes fade. member companies provide coverage to
The number of uninsured was about 65 about 70 percent of Californians who
percent in 1996. have such protection.
"It's a game of Russian roulette," said Nicol Andrews, a spokeswoman for
DoNN M. FRESARD
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