2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 8, 2006
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Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair will step down
as Prime Minister in July 2007 after more than 10
years leading his country.
to step down
British prime minister gives in
to pressure from his ruling Labour
party, but sets no date for departure
LONDON (AP) - Prime Minister Tony Blair, his
reputation in Britain badly damaged by his refusal to
break ranks with President Bush, gave in yesterday
to a fierce revolt in his Labour Party and reluctantly
promised to quit within a year.
Blair, whose popularity began sinking when he
committed his nation to the U.S-led war inIraq three
years ago, had long resisted calls to publicly set a
timeframe for his departure from office. He feared
such an announcement would make him a lame duck
and sap his remaining authority.
But ultimately, the foreign leader best known to
Americans could find no other way to end days of
public turmoil that were severely damaging Labour,
which has been in power for nearly a decade but now
trails the opposition Conservatives in the polls.
"I would have preferred to do this in my own way,"
Blair said, as he conceded that the party's annual
conference this month would be his last. Next year's
conference is scheduled for September 2007.
He refused to set a specific departure date, saying,
"The precise timetable has to be left to me and has to
be done in the proper way."
Blair appeared to have struck a deal with his
expected successor, Treasury chief Gordon Brown,
who signaled his support in a statement minutes
before Blair spoke to television cameras at a north
The key question is whether the prime minister's exit
strategy will be detailed and speedy enough to satisfy
the impatient Labour legislators who forced his hand.
Early signals were that it would buy the 53-year-
old Blair time - but not much. He's eager to reach
the 10-year anniversary of his 1997 assumption of
office, which would be in May.
Arnitage says he was source in CIA leak
The former No. 2 State Department official said yesterday he inadvertently dis-
closed the identity of CIA employee Valerie Plame in conversations with two report-
ers in 2003.
Confirming that he was the source of a leak that triggered a federal investigation,
former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said he never intended to reveal
Plame's identity. He apologized for his conversations with syndicated columnist Rob-
ert Novak and Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward.
For almost three years, an investigation led by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzger-
ald has tried to determine whether Bush administration officials intentionally revealed
Plame's identity as covert operative as a way to punish her husband, former ambassa-
dor Joseph Wilson, for criticizing the Bush administration's marchto war with Iraq.
Israel lifts air blockade in Lebanon, seals ports
With a low-flying passenger jet circling the capital, Lebanon put on a boisterous show
Thursday to celebrate the end of Israel's air blockade. But Israel said its closure of Leba-
non's ports will remain in force until international forces arrive to watch the seas.
Lebanon's prime minister and Israeli officials said they expected the naval blockade
to end within days, once French, Italian and Greek navy vessels start patrolling to pre-
vent weapons shipments to Hezbollah.
The opening of the airport will be the first test for the UN. peacekeeping force's
ability to keep out weapons. Hezbollah is widely believed to have received weapons
and other support from its backers Syria and Iran. The land route to neighboring Syria
has already been reopened, with the Lebanese government posting thousands of troops
along the rugged frontier to prevent smuggling.
The blockade of Lebanon has hampered reconstruction and cost the country some
$50 million a day. At one point the blockade caused severe fuel shortages in Lebanon,
leading to long lines at gas stations and forcing the electric company to ration power.
NASA set to attempt shuttle launch Friday
Caught in a scheduling squeeze, NASA decided to try to launch space
shuttle Atlantis today without replacing a troublesome electrical compo-
Today was the last launch day available before the U.S. space agency ran
into a scheduling conflict with the Russian space agency. But NASA manag-
ers now believe they can try tomorrow, if needed, and they were finalizing
negotiations with the Russians.
There was a 30-percent chance bad weather would interfere at the 11:40 a.m.
Police arrest two in Phoenix serial killings
Police arrested a man in two sexual assaults blamed on the city's elusive Base-
line Killer. But they stopped well short of saying yesterday that they have caught
the predator who has been spreading fear across the Phoenix area.
Mark Goudeau, a 42-year-old construction worker, was arrested Wednesday and
accused of attacking two sisters, ages 21 and 24, in September 2005 while they
were walking in a park at night.
Police said forensic evidence tied him to the two crimes, but they would not
- elaborate, and did not say exactly how the women were assaulted.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
Please report any error in the Daily to email@example.com.
A caption on a feature photograph (Enjoying the arts) on page 7A yesterday mis-
identified the photographer. The Associated Press shot the photograph.
bin Laden with
CAIRO, Egypt(AP) - An Arab
television station broadcast previ-
ously unseen footage yesterday of a
smiling Osama bin Laden meeting
with the top planners of the Sept.
11 attacks in an Afghan mountain
camp and calling on followers to
pray for the hijackers as they carry
out the suicide mission.
The sections shown on Al-
Jazeera TV were part of a video
that al-Qaida announced it would
release later on the Internet to mark
the fifth anniversary of the airborne
attacks on the United States.
The video includes the last testa-
ment of two of the hijackers, Wail
al-Shehri and Hamza al-Ghamdi.
It shows bin Laden strolling in the
camp, greeting followers, who Al-
Jazeera said included some of the
hijackers. But their faces are not
clear in the video, and it was not
immediately known which are pur-
In one scene, bin Laden address-
es the camera, calling on followers
to support the hijackers.
"I ask you to pray for them
and to ask God to make them
successful, aim their shots
well, set their feet strong and
strengthen their hearts," bin
Laden said. The comments
were apparently filmed before
the attacks but never before
The footage was the fourth
in a series of long videos that
al-Qaida has put out to memo-
rialize the suicide hijack-
ings against the Pentagon and
World Trade Center, said Ben
Venzke, head of IntelCenter,
a private U.S. company that
monitors militant message
traffic and provides counter-
terrorism intelligence services
for the American government.
The previous ones were
issued in April and Septem-
ber 2002 and September 2003,
each showing footage from
the planning of the suicide
hijackings and hijackers' last
testimonies, Venzke told The
The latest full video prob-
ably lasts from 40 minutes to two
hours, based on the past ones, he
said. Al-Jazeera did not say how it
obtained the video, which bore the
logo of As-Sahab,al-Qaida's media
"They produce long videos
like these not just for 9-11, but
for any significant events they
feel warrant their attention,"
One aim is to boost recruit-
ment, but such videos have
several purposes - "to speak
to their supporters, to raise
morale within their own group,
to facilitate fundraising, and
to serve as a psychological
attack," he said.
In the footage shown by Al-
Jazeera, bin Laden is shown
sitting outside in what appears
to be a mountain camp with his
former lieutenant Mohammed
Atef and Ramzi Binalshibh,
another suspected planner of
the Sept. 11 attacks.
Atef, also known as Abu Hafs
al-Masri, was killed by a U.S.
airstrike in Afghanistan in 2001.
Binalshibh was captured four years
ago in Pakistan and is currently in
U.S. custody, and this week Presi-
dent Bush announced plans to put
him on military trial.
Bin Laden, wearing a dark robe
and whitehead gear,strolls through
the camp, greeting dozens of fol-
lowers, some masked, some bare-
faced, many carrying automatic
Other scenes show training
at the camp. Masked militants
perform martial arts kicks or
learn how to break the hold of
someone who grabs them from
behind. Several militants are
shown practicing hiding and
pulling out fold-out knives.
A voice-over narration with
the video praises the mujahe-
deen for leaving their com-
fortable lives to survive in the
mountains "on the soil of Kan-
dahar" - a southern Afghan
city. Men are shown chopping
wood and cutting up vegetables