2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 11, 2006
youth job law
Unions declare decision
a great victory,' still
debating whether to
PARIS (AP) - President Jacques
Chirac yesterday threw out part of a
youth labor law that triggered mas-
sive protests and strikes, bowing to
intense pressure from students and
unions and dealing a blow to his loyal
premier in a bid to end the crisis.
Unions celebrated what they
called "a great victory," and also
were deciding whether to keep up
the protests. The top two student
unions, UNEF and FIDL, said they
would press on with demonstrations
today across France.
Prime Minister Dominique de Vil-
lepin, who devised the law, had faced
down protesters for weeks, insisting
that its most divisive provision - a
so-called "first job contract" - was
necessary to reduce high unemploy-
ment rates among French youths by
making it easier for companies to
hire and fire young workers.
Acting on advice from Villepin,
his longtime protege, Chirac "decid-
ed to replace" the provision with one
aimed at "youths in difficulty," the
president's office said.
Top lawmakers from Chirac's rul-
ing conservative party presented a new
plan to parliament yesterday. The pro-
posal emerged after legislative talks
last week with unions and student
groups to find ways to end the crisis.
A somber Villepin, in a TV appear-
ance, said his original legislation was
designed to curb "despair of many
youths" and strike a "better balance ...
between more flexibility for the employ-
er and more security for workers."
"This was not understood by every-
one, I'm sorry to say," Villepin said.
The crisis has discredited Chirac
and devastated Villepin and his presi-
dential ambitions - and thrown into
question the government's ability to
push through painful reforms to help
France compete in the global econo-
my. The new measures increase the
government's role in the workplace
instead of decreasing them, as Vil-
lepin had sought.
Students and other opponents had
feared the previous measure would
erode coveted job security - and
some unions trumpeted the retreat by
Chirac and his prime minister.
The labor law "is dead and bur-
ied," said Jean-Claude Mailly of the
Workers Force union. "The goal has
Students shout slogans as they demonstrate against the French government's
labor laws in Paris last week.
Alain Olive, secretary-general of the
UNSA union, said, "After more than
two weeks of intense mobilization, the
12 syndicated groups of workers, uni-
versity and high school students have
won a great victory."
UNEF leader Bruno Julliard told
AP Television News that the students
"want to see how we can take advan-
tage of this power struggle that is now
in our favor to garner new victories"
The new four-point plan sent to par-
liament would bolster existing job con-
tracts, rather than enact new ones. The
government would offer more state
support for companies that hire young
Other provisions would increase
internships in areas where jobs are
relatively plentiful - such as in restau-
rants, hotels and nursing - or guide
jobseekers in their careers.
Some 160,000 youths would be
affected by the new measures this
year, at a cost of some $180 million
to the state.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Bush rejects report of Iran attack plan
President Bush dismissed as "wild speculation" reports that the administration
was planning for a military strike against Iran.
Bush did not rule out the use of force, but he said he would continue to use dip-
lomatic pressure to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon or the know-how
and technology to make one.
"I know here in Washington prevention means force," Bush said at the Paul H.
Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. "It
doesn't mean force, necessarily. In this case, it means diplomacy"
Several weekend news reports said the administration was studying options for
military strikes. The New Yorker magazine raised the possibility of using nuclear
bombs against Iran's underground nuclear sites.
"I read the articles in the newspapers this weekend," Bush said. "It was
just wild speculation."
DUR HAM, N. C.
DNA tests fail to connect Duke players to crime
DNA testing failed to connect any members of the Duke University lacrosse
team to the alleged rape of a stripper, attorneys for the athletes said yesterday.
Citing DNA test results delivered by the state crime lab to police and
prosecutors a few hours earlier, the attorneys said the test results prove
their clients did not sexually assault and beat a stripper hired to perform at
a March 13 team party.
No charges have been filed in the case.
"There is no DNA evidence that shows she was touched by any of these
boys," said attorney Joe Cheshire, who represents one of the team's captains.
The alleged victim, a 27-year-old student at a nearby college, told police
she and another woman were hired to dance at the party. The woman told
police that three men at the party dragged her into a bathroom, choked her,
raped her and sodomized her.
Wal-Mart's banking bid draws criticism
Allies for once, a stream of officials from the banking industry, unions
and consumer groups urged federal regulators yesterday to reject a bid by
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to expand its empire into the banking business.
A company official, meanwhile, assured the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corp. that Wal-Mart had no plans to compete with community banks,
including bank branches located within its megastores.
The first day of the first-ever FDIC public hearings on a bank application drew a
wave of opposition to the plans of the world's largest retailer. Among the protesters:
officials of trade groups representing banks of every type and size; unions; law-
makers; consumer and community organizations, and associations of convenience
stores, grocers, retailers, real estate agents and farmers.
Italian elections still too close to call
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's longest-serving premier since World War II, was locked
in a battle for power yesterday with center-left challenger Romano Prodi as vote pro-
jections from parliamentary election returns swung dramatically back and forth.
After a campaign dominated by economic issues, projections based on 98 per-
cent of pollster Nexus's sampling of votes cast gave the flamboyant billionaire's
center-right alliance 158 seats in the Senate compared to 151 for Prodi's coalition.
But with a margin of error of 1 to 3 percentage points and six seats chosen by Ital-
ians voting abroad unaccounted for, the Senate majority was far from assured.
For the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, 89 percent of the voting sample
gave Berlusconi's alliance 49.8 to 49.7 percent for Prodi's coalition.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
A story in yesterday's SportsMonday (No upset, but rowers split) incorrectly stated
that Michigan's first varsity four lost to Southern Cal in rowing by 10 seconds. Michi-
gan defeated the Trojans by that margin.
Please report any error in the Daily to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Many large cities have lost
population in the past three decades,
but most gained college graduates
WASHINGTON (AP) - College graduates are
flocking to America's big cities, chasing jobs and
culture and driving up home prices.
Though many of the largest cities have lost pop-
ulation in the past three decades, nearly all have
added college graduates, an analysis by The Asso-
ciated Press found.
The findings offer hope for urban areas, many of
which have spent decades struggling with financial
problems, job losses and high poverty rates.
But they also spell trouble for some cities, espe-
cially those in the Northeast and Midwest, that have
fallen behind the South and West in attracting high-
ly educated workers.
"The largest predictor of economic well-being in
cities is the percent of college graduates," said Ned
Hill, professor of economic development at Cleve-
land State University. To do well, he said, cities
must be attractive to educated people.
Nationally, a little more than one-fourth of peo-
ple 25 and older had at least bachelor's degrees in
2004. Some 84 percent had high school diplomas or
By comparison, in 1970 only a bit more than one
in 10 adults had bachelor's degrees and about half
had high school diplomas.
Seattle was the best-educated city in 2004 with
just over half the adults having bachelor's degrees.
Following closely were San Francisco; Raleigh,
N.C.; Washington and Austin, Texas.
Molly Wankel, who has a doctorate in education-
al administration, said she moved to the Washing-
ton area for a job, and the culture of the city pulled
her from the suburbs. Wankel, 51, grew up in east-
ern Tennessee and works at a company that devel-
ops software and training materials. She recently
bought a home in the city.
to big citi es
"I just enjoy walking around looking at the
architecture and the way people have renovated
these 100-year-old homes," Wankel said. "I love
the landscaping and the lovely mix of many races,
straight people, gays, singles, older people, younger
The AP analyzed census data from 21 of the larg-
est cities from 1970 to 2004. The AP used every-10-
year census data from 1970 to 2000, and the Census
Bureau's American Community Survey for 2004.
The 21 cities were chosen because of their size and
location to provide regional balance. The analysis was
expanded for 2004, the latest year for data, to include
all 70 cities with populations of 250,000 or more.
While most states in the Northeast have high per-
centages of college graduates, their big cities do not.
Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey were
among the top five states in the percentage of adults
with college degrees in 2004. But the Northeast
placed no city among the top five, and only one
from the region - Boston - was in the top 20.
Storm-weary coast braces for hurricane season
destroyed thousands of
homes and killed more
than 1,300 people
GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - Joe
Spraggins knows it will take stockpiles
of food, water and fuel and better evacu-
ation routes to survive if the Gulf Coast
gets hit by another monster storm this
coming hurricane season.
What the Harrison County emer-
gency management director cannot
fully plan for is the psychological toll
another hurricane could exact on resi-
dents struggling to rebuild their lives
"They're already at the point of
breaking," he said. "If we have another
storm of any size this summer, mental
health is going to be a huge issue."
Katrina laid waste to tens of thou-
sands of homes and businesses and
killed more than 1,300 people in Loui-
siana and Mississippi. Now, less than
two months before the next hurricane
season starts June 1, overworked offi-
cials and frazzled homeowners are
bracing for the possibility of another
killer storm in a region where thou-
sands still live in government-issued
trailers or under blue tarps.
This hurricane season could be more
brutal than last year's, when a record-
setting 27 storms, including 15 hurri-
canes, churned in the Atlantic Ocean.
Forecasters say the Atlantic is in a peri-
od of increased hurricane activity that
could last another a decade or longer.
Even a weaker storm than Katrina
could be devastating, wiping out much of
the modest progress that has been made
and sweeping away the little trailers.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour calls
this a "critical period of vulnerability."
"We're going to pray for the best but
prepare for the worst," he said.
Spraggins, whose territory includes
Katrina-battered Gulfport and Biloxi,
said the county is devising a new emer-
gency plan to replace the old one.
Katrina made a mockery out of fed-
eral, state and local emergency plans.
Evacuation routes were clogged, com-
munications were spotty, and emergen-
cy supplies were not positioned to arrive
quickly in the areas of greatest need.
"We will never be prepared to take a
Katrina, but we will be prepared to do
a lot better than we did the last time,"
In Mississippi, about 99,000 peo-
ple are living in more than 36,000
FEMA trailers and mobile homes. In
Louisiana, more than 51,000 trailers
dot the landscape.
DoNN M. FREsARD
Editor in Chief
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