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November 27, 2006 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-27

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, November 27, 2006 - 3A

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
Palestinians, 0lmert
urge restraint as
cease-fire begins
Rocket fire from Gaza died down
yesterday after a daybreak cease-
fire, raising hopes for an end to five
months of bloody destruction and a
new opening toward peace talks.
The surprise truce was supposed
to take effect at 6 a.m., but in the
four hours that followed, 11 rock-
ets were fired from Gaza at Israeli
towns and villages and some Pales-
tinian militants threatened to keep
up the attacks.
Israel did not retaliate.
Rivals Hamas and Fatah, the
two main factions in the Pales-
tinian government, also publicly
backed the truce and by nightfall, it
appeared to take hold.
Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas of Fatah, who has been
pressing for a reopening of peace
talks with Israel, ordered his secu-
rity forces to patrol the Gaza border
yesterday afternoon to stop rocket
Battle-hardened Israelis and Pal-
estinians were wary, having seen
similar truces and peace efforts
disintegrate and slip back into vio-
Bush to seek Iraq
help on trip
President Bush is reaching out to
allies this week for help in quelling
violence in Iraq and Afghanistan,
in a burst of diplomacy from a
Baltic summit of NATO partners
to Mideast talks with Iraq's prime
Just back from an eight-day trip
to Asia, Bush was leaving today on
another overseas trip as pressure
builds at home for a change inhis
administration's Iraq strategy amid
deepeningtensions and violence in
that country.
The president stops first in Esto-
nia en route to a NATO summit in
neighboring Latvia where a debate
over peacekeeping operations in
Afghanistan is expected to domi-
Iraqi leaders call for
calm as chaos reigns
Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish lead-
ers called yesterday for an end to
Iraq's sectarian conflict and vowed
to track down those responsible for
the war's deadliest attack.
But as they went on national tele-
vision to try to keep Iraq from slid-
ing into an all-out civil war, fighting
between Iraqi security forces and
Sunni Arab insurgents raged for a
second day in Baqouba, the capital
of Diyala province north of Bagh-
By the end of the day, the prov-
ince's latest casualty figures were a
microcosm of the brutality in Iraq:
17 insurgents killed, 15 detained, 20
civilians kidnapped, three bodies
found, one U.S. Marine killed and
two wounded.

U.K. minister blasts
Putin on poisoning
* ABritishCabinetminister accused
Russian President Vladimir Putin
of "attacks on individual liberty and
on democracy" and said yesterday
that relations with Moscow were
strained after a former KGB agent
was poisoned to death in London.
Peter Hain, the government's
Northern Ireland Secretary, said
Putin's tenure had been clouded by
incidents "including an extremely
murky murder of the senior Russian
journalist"Anna Politkovskaya.
They were the strongest com-
ments leveled at Moscow since
Alexander Litvinenko died Thurs-
day from poisoning by the radioac-
tive element polonium-210.
Pounds of marijuana a
found under the back seat of
a used car he purchased last
week. The man turned the
pot over to the police, who
said it was worth $28,000
and that the man "did the
right thing."

" -ITol~r3 ngry Turks
protest pope's
upcoming vis1t

Ann Arbor residents gather in the courtyard of Kerrytown Market and Shops to sing Christmas carols and light a tree yesterday.
War protester's suicide a mystery

Benedict's comments
about Islam have
angered Muslims
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) -
Tens of thousands of protesters
denounced Pope Benedict XVI as
an enemy of Islam at a rally yester-
day that underlined deep divisions
straining Turkey ahead of the pon-
tiff's visit this week.
Officials hoping to promote clos-
er ties with the West urged calm,
but Islamic groups wary of Western
ways united in anger over Benedict's
remarks two months ago linking
Islam to violence.
Chants of "No to the pope!" rose
among nearly 25,000 demonstrators
at every mention of his remarks on
violence and the Prophet Muham-
mad. Many protesters wore head-
bands with anti-pope slogans and
waved placards that included a
depiction of Benedict as the grim
The protest, organized by an
Islamist political party, was the
largest mass gathering so far
against Benedict's four-day visit
scheduled to begin tomorrow -
his first papal journey to a mostly
Muslim nation. The outcry also
was designed to rattle Turkey's
Turkish officials hope to use the
visit to promote their ambitions of
becoming the first Muslim nation
in the European Union and show-
case Turkey's secular political
system. But Islamic groups, which
have been gaining strength, see
Benedict as a symbol of Western
intolerance and injustices against
"The pope is not wanted here,"
said Kubra Yigitoglu, a 20-year-
old protester wearing a head scarf,
ankle-length coat and cowboy
Nearby, alarge banner was raised

amid a sea of red flags of the Saadet,
or Felicity, party. It called the Vati-
can "a source of terror."
Security forces are on full alert for
the pope'svisit. Nearly 4,000 police,
including units in full riot guard,
watched over the protest. Surveil-
lance helicopters buzzed overhead
and protesters were frisked before
entering the square in a conserva-
tive stronghold of Istanbul.
The pope's visit has two distinct
- and difficult - objectives: calming
Muslim ire and advancing efforts to
heal a nearly 1,000-year divide in
Christianity between the Vatican
and Orthodox churches.
Benedict plans to meet first with
political and Muslim religious lead-
ers in the capital, Ankara, including
Turkey's president and the Islamic
cleric who oversees the country's
religious affairs. Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled
to attend a NATO meeting in Lat-
via during the papal visit, but could
briefly greet the pontiff at the air-
The pope then heads to Istanbul
- the ancient Byzantine capital of
Constantinople - to be hosted by
the spiritual leader of the world's
Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical
Patriarch Bartholomew I.
The pope strongly backs efforts
for closer bonds between the two
ancient branches of Christian-
ity, which formally split in the 11th
century over disputes including
papal primacy. But some Orthodox
leaders, including Russia's power-
ful Patriarch Alexy II, are wary of
deepening ties too fast.
While in Istanbul, Benedict also
plans to visit the famous 17th cen-
tury Blue Mosque. The Vatican
spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lom-
bardi, called it a "sign of respect"
toward Muslims.
The mosque is one of the city's
major tourist sites and its slender
minarets are a prominent landmark
in Istanbul's ancient center.

Musician set self
aflame on Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) - Malachi
Ritscher envisioned his death as one
full of purpose.
He carefully planned the details,
mailed a copy of his apartment key
to a friend, created to-do lists for
his family. On his website, the 52-
year-old experimental musician
who'd fought with depression even
penned his obituary.
At 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 - four
days before an election caused a
seismic shift in Washington poli-
tics - Ritscher, a frequent anti-war
protester, stood by an off-ramp in
downtown Chicago near a statue of
a giant flame, set up a video camera,
doused himself with gasoline and
lit himself on fire.
Aglow for the crush of morning
commuters, his flaming body was
supposed to be a call to the nation,
a symbol of his rage and discontent
with the U.S. war in Iraq.
"Here is the statement I want
to make: if I am required to pay
for your barbaric war, I choose
not to live in your world. I refuse
to finance the mass murder of
innocent civilians, who did noth-
ing to threaten our country," he
wrote in his suicide note. "... If one
death can atone for anything, in
any small way, to say to the world:
I apologize for what we have done
to you, I am ashamed for the may-
hem and turmoil caused by my
There was only one problem: No
one was listening.
It took five days for the Cook
slams NYC
cops after
outrage at vigil for
bridegroom shot on

County medical examiner to iden-
tify the charred-beyond-recogni-
tion corpse. Meanwhile, Ritscher's
suicide went largely unnoticed. It
wasn't until a reporter for an alter-
native weekly, the Chicago Reader,
pieced the facts together that word
began to spread.
Soon, tributes - and questions
- poured in to the paper's blogs.
Was this a man consumed by
mental illness? Or was Ritscher a
martyr driven by rage over what
he saw as an unjust war? Was he a
convenient symbol for an anti-war
movement or was there more to his
"This man killed himself in such
a painful way, specifically to get
our attention on these things," said
Jennifer Diaz, a 28-year-old gradu-
ate student who never met him but
has been researching his life. Now,
she is organizing protests and vig-
ils in his name. "I'm not going to sit
by and I can't sit by and let this go
Mental health experts say vir-
tually no suicides occur without
some kind of a diagnosable mental
illness. But Ritscher's family dis-
agrees aboutwhether he had severe
mental problems.
In a statement, Ritscher's par-
ents and siblings called him an
intellectually gifted man who suf-
fered from bouts of depression.
They stopped short of saying he'd
ever received a clinical diagnosis of
mental illness.
"He believed in his actions,
however extreme they were," his
younger brother, Paul Ritscher,
wrote online. "He believed they
could help to open eyes, ears and
hearts and to show everyone that a
single man's actions, by taking such

extreme personal responsibility,
can perhaps affect change in the
His son, who shares the same
name as his father, said his father
was trying to cope with mental ill-
ness. Suicide seemed tobe the next
step, and the war was a way to give
his death meaning.
"He was different people at dif-
ferent instances and so, so erratic.
I loved him no doubt, but he was a
very lonely and tragic man," said
Ritscher, 35, who is estranged from
the rest of the family. "The idea of
being a martyr I'm sure was attrac-
tive. He could literally go out in a
blaze of glory."
Born in Dickinson, N.D., with
the name Mark David, Ritscher
dropped out of high school, mar-
ried at 17 and divorced 10 years
later. Eventually, he would change
his name to match his son's and,
coincidentally, a world-famous
prophet. At the end, he worked in
building maintenance and was a
fixture in Chicago's experimental
music scene.
He described himself as a renais-
sance man who'd amassed a collec-
tion of more than 2,000 musical
recordings from clubs in Chicago.
He was a writer, philosopher and
photographer. He was an alcoholic
who collected fossils, glass eyes,
light bulbs and snare drums. He
paid $25 to become an ordained
minister with the Missionaries
of the New Truth and operated a
handful of Web sites protesting the
Iraq war.
A member of Mensa who claimed
to be able to recite the infinite num-
ber Pi to more than 1,000 decimal
places, he titled his obituary "Out of

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eve of wedding
NEW YORK (AP) - A crowd
angrily called on police yesterday
to explain why authorities fatally
shot a 23-year-old man on the day
of his wedding, and some called for
the ouster of the city's police com-
missioner. To play: Complete the grid so
At a vigil and rally, family mem-
bers and friends chanted and and every 3x3 box contail
prayed. Community leaders said
they wanted to know why officers There is no guessing o
fired as many as 50 rounds at an just use logic to solve. Gc
unarmed group Saturday as they
left Sean Bell's bachelor party in a
car. Difficulty: Easy
"We cannot allow this to con-
tinue to happen," said the Rev. Al 5 6
Sharpton, who has been speaking t
for Bell's family since the shooting.
"We've got to understand that all of ----
us were'in that car." 8
The civil rights advocate led the
crowd in chants of "No justice, no
peace." At times some in the crowd j- .
yelled that Police Commissioner 2
Raymond Kelly should be ousted.
"Kelly must go!" people shouted. , 7 4
The shootings occurred outside
the Kalua Cabaret, a strip club
where the bachelor party was held.
The surviving victims were Joseph
Guzman, 31, who was shot at least
11 times, and Trent Benefield, 23,
who was hit three times. Both men
are at Mary Immaculate Hospital,u
where Guzman was in critical con-
dition and Benefield was stable.


CA L734.6I5.6449


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