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September 06, 2006 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-06

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NEWS

Wednesday, September 6, 2006 - The Michigan Daily - 5

Annan warns of
crisis as African
peacekeepers leave

AP PHOTO
Katie Couric began her tenure as the anchor of the CBS Evening News last night. She Is the first solo network news anchor and will compete
against Brian Williams of NBC and Charles Gibson of ABC.
Katie Couric delivers
Evening News' debut

Sudan refuses to
allow a U.N.-led force
to take over country
KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP)
- The U.N. secretary-general
warned yesterday that Sudan
would bear full responsibility for
the worsening humanitarian crisis
in Darfur, as African Union peace-
keepers said they will have to pull
out because of the government's
refusal to allow a U.N.-led force to
take over.
The cash-starved and under-
staffed African Union force,
whose mandate ends Sept. 30, has
been unable to halt the violence
in Sudan's western region. Sudan,
which recently launched a new
military offensive against rebels
in Darfur, has ordered the Afri-
can Union out if it insists on hand-
ing over the mission to the United
Nations.
The absence of any foreign
troops in Darfur would likely lead
to widespread misery or starva-
tion in camps flooded with refu-
gees from a bloody conflict that
has raged for the past 3 1/2 years.
International aid workers - lack-
ing any protection - would almost
certainly pull out if the 7,000 AU
troops leave and are not replaced
by U.N. peacekeepers. The U.N.
has warned of hundreds of thou-
sands more deaths if aid operations
collapse.
Sudanese President Omar al-
Bashir has rejected the U.N. pres-
ence as an attempt to impose
Western colonial control over his
country and has instead offered
to send 10,000 government troops
to Darfur. Critics say such a move
would only inflame the violence.
Despite Secretary-General
Kofi Annan's sharp warning, the
U.N. and the West - preoccupied
with crises in the Mideast - may
have little appetite or ability to
push Sudan hard to comply. Many
observers believe Sudan has dug
in against a U.N. deployment in

the Texas-sized region because it
wants to finish off the rebels, and
also fears the international force
will hunt down officials and gov-
ernment allies suspected of war
crimes.
Annan criticized Sudan's call
for the departure of the African
peacekeepers and expressed con-
cern at its refusal to accept the
20,000-member U.N. force, which
would have a stronger mandate to
end the fighting. He warned that
Sudan would be unable to address
the humanitarian disaster.
"The international community
has been feeding about 3 million
people in camps, and if we have to
leave because of lack of security,
lack of access to the people, then
what happens? The government
will have to assume responsibility
for doing this, and if it doesn't suc-
ceed, it will have lots of questions
to answer before the rest of the
world," Annan said in the Egyptian
port city of Alexandria after talks
with President Hosni Mubarak.
Since the conflict began with
ethnic African rebels seeking more
autonomy in Darfur, the Sudanese
government has been accused
of unleashing Arab militiamen
known as janjaweed who have been
blamed for widespread atrocities,
including rapes and killings. Some
200,000 people have died and sev-
eral million have been displaced
since 2003.
Despite a May peace deal signed
by the government and one of the
three ethnic African rebel groups,
U.N. officials and aid workers say
the crisis has only deepened in
recent months, with violence at a
new high. Twelve aid workers have
been killed in Darfur this year,
most in the last two months.
The latest government offensive
in northern Darfur, launched Aug.
28, reportedly involves thousands
of troops and militias backed by
bomber aircraft and helicopter
gunships. The military is also
believed to be massing more forces
in the region.

First solo female network
news anchor asks viewers to
help craft signature signoff
NEW YORK (AP) - Katie Couric began
her first night as anchor of the "CBS Evening
News" on Tuesday by standing in front of a
video board displaying a fast-moving run-
down of stories ranging from the Taliban to
Suri Cruise.
"Hi, everyone," she said. "I'm very happy
to be with you tonight."
She ended the historic evening by ask-
ing viewers for help in crafting a distinctive
signoff.
"But for now, all I have fo say is, I'm Katie
Couric, thank you so much for watching, and
I hope to see you tomorrow night."
Yesterday capped a tumultuous two years
for network evening newscasts. For more
than two decades, the networks had been the
TV homes of Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings

and Dan Rather. Now Couric, the first female
network face, will compete against Brian
Williams at the top-rated NBC "Nightly
News" and Charles Gibson at ABC's "World
News."
Even before the first commercial break,
Couric showed her willingness to try new
things with an evening news format that she
has called formulaic.
She was introduced by a voiceover
recorded by the legendary Walter Cronkite,
whose tenure as CBS anchor ended in 1981.
She quickly introduced a story about the
resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, a
lengthy exclusive on a relatively slow news
day. Correspondent Lara Logan was taken
by a Taliban commander to view soldiers
openly displaying their weapons less than 10
miles from a U.S. base.
That story segued into a conventional
report by White House correspondent Jim
Axelrod on a speech given by President Bush
on the terrorist threat.

Recalling her 15 years on NBC's "Today"
show, Couric, wearing a white one-button
jacket over a black blouse, then interviewed
columnist Thomas Friedman of The New
York Times about the Taliban, the fight
against terror and the upcoming fifth anni-
versary of the terror attacks.
The end of the broadcast found her leaning
against the edge of a desk on the redesigned
"CBS Evening News" set, instead of seated
behind it. After acknowledging that many
people were wondering how she would sign
off, Couric played clips of other signoffs,
.ranging from Cronkite's "and that's the way
it is" to Rather's ridiculed "courage" to Will
Ferrell's "you stay classy, San Diego" as the
fictitious movie anchorman Ron Burgundy.
"I'm not sure any of those will work for
me," Couric said, then asked viewers, in all
seriousness, to log onto the CBS News web
site and send her suggestions.
"And who knows," she said, "maybe one
will actually stick."

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