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November 29, 2007 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-11-29

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M The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, November 29, 2007 - 3A

NEWS BRIEFS
WASHINGTON
SBush urges Israeli,
Palestinian leaders
to focus on peace
President Bush told the lead-
ers of Israel and the Palestinian
territories yesterday he is person-
ally committed to their mission of
peace, urging them to stick with it
and not lose sight of their goal.
Bush met separately with Pales-
tinian President Mahmoud Abbas
and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert at the White House, and
then with the two men jointly
before the trio emerged for a presi-
dential sendoff from the Rose Gar-
den. The stagecraft capped three
days of U.S.-sponsored diplomacy
centered around an international
Mideast peace conference held
Tuesday in Annapolis, Md.
"No matter how important yes-
terday was, it's not nearly as impor-
tant as tomorrow and the days
beyond," Bush said, with Olmert on
one side and Abbas on the other.
"I wouldn't be standing here if I
didn't believe that peace was pos-
sible," the president said.
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan
Musharraf retires
from army duties
A tearful Pervez Musharraf
ended a four-decade military career
yesterday, giving up his army com-
mander's ceremonial baton on the
eve of taking an oath as the purely
civilian president of Pakistan.
The United States, keen to pro-
mote democracy while keeping
Pakistan focused on fighting Islam-
ic extremism, praised Musharraf's
relaxation of his grip on power as a
"good step" forward.
But it gave him no slack on the
other key demand that he end a
state of emergency that has enraged
political rivals, strained his close
ties with the West and cast doubt
on the ability of opposition par-
ties to campaign for parliamentary
elections in January.
HAWIJA, Iraq

As election nears, Report: U.S.intelligence
Putin gathers forces losing focus on terrorism

Opposition says
president has long
quashed dissent
By CLIFFORD J. LEVY
The New York Times
MOSCOW - His valor is
extolled on billboards across
the nation, and his daily feats
dominate the television news.
At a keynote election speech last
week, his handlers even show-
cased a shimmying girl band
singing an ode to that heartthrob
in the Kremlin - "I want a man
like Putin, full of strength!"
Thousands of candidates are
vying on Sunday for seats in the
next Parliament, but the election
is really about only one politician,
President Vladimir V. Putin.
After steadily securing control
over Russia since taking office in
2000, Putin has transformed the
election into a vote of confidence
on his leadership and on the
nation's economic recovery, and
he is throwing the full weight
of his government and party
machine into the fight.
But to many in the opposition,
the fight does not seem entirely
fair.
Opposition parties have been
all but suffocated by strict new
election laws, scant television
coverage, curbs on organizing
and criminal inquiries. Work-
ers at government agencies and
companies that receive state
financing said their bosses were
urging them to pull the lever for
Putin's party, United Russia.
A professor in Siberia, Dmitri
Voronin, for example, said in an
interview Wednesday that he and
others at his university had been
repeatedly called in by adminis-
trators and told that if they did
not vote for United Russia, they
would be dismissed.
An overwhelming victory for
United Russia, which is all but

assured, could embolden Putin
to maintain power over the gov-
ernment after he formally leaves
office next year. He cannot run
for a third consecutive term,
according to the Russian Con-
stitution, and he has promised to
abide by that rule.
But he has also said he will
continue to exert influence over
Russia after the presidential
election in March. Whomever
Putin endorses is most likely to
become president, but he has not
indicated a preference.
To make the case that Putin
has rescued Russia after the
crises of the 1990s, the Kremlin
has relied on the sophisticated
imagery seen in American cam-
paigns.
Putin's speech last week was
at a rally that had the trappings
of a Democratic or Republican
convention at Madison Square
Garden, with Putin shaking
the hands of the faithful as he
walked through the arena, just
as American candidates do.
"Together, my friends, we
have already done so much," he
told the crowd at the Luzhniki
arena here. "We have strength-
ened the sovereignty and revived
the integrity of Russia. We have
revived the power of law and the
supremacy of the Constitution."
At the same time, the party
has deployed stylish television
commercials that make its oppo-
nents' ads seem like high school
productions.
The advertisements often
appeal to patriotism, drawing
an implicit contrast between
the country's current success,
spurred by high oil prices, and
the failings of the years after the
fall of the Soviet Union that were
scarred by economic collapse,
crime and political chaos.
"Today, we are successful in
politics, economics, arts, scienc-
es, sports," the announcer says in
an ad to a stirring brass accom-
paniment and images of Putin
and other smiling Russians.

Information-sharing
centers focused more
on street crimes
WASHINGTON (AP) - Local
intelligence-sharing centers set
up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks
have had their anti-terrorism mis-
sion diluted by a focus on run-of-
the-mill street crime and hazards
such as hurricanes, a government
report concludes.
Ofthe 43"fusion centers"already
established, only two focus exclu-
sively on preventing terrorism, the
Government Accountability Office
found in a national survey obtained
by The Associated Press. Center
directors complain that they were
hampered by lack of guidance from
Washington and they were flooded
by often redundant information.
The original concept behind
fusion centers was to coordinate
resources, expertise and informa-
tion of intelligence agencies so the
country could detect and prevent
terrorist acts. The concept has
been widely embraced, particularly
by the Sept. 11 commission, and
the federal government has pro-
vided $130 million to help get them
off the ground. But until recently,

there were no guidelines for set-
ting up the centers and as a result,
the information shared and how it
is used varies.
Centers in Kansas and Rhode
Island are the only two focused
solely on counterterrorism. Other
centers focus on all crimes, includ-
ing drugs and gangs, said the GAO,
Congress' investigative and audit-
ing arm. Washington state's fusion
center, for instance, has an all-
hazards mission so it can focus on
natural disasters and public health
epidemics in addition to terrorism.
"States are at different levels
because there wasn't the precon-
ceived game-plan on how to do
this," said George Foresman, a for-
mer undersecretary at the Home-
land Security Department who
oversaw the awarding of startup
money for many of the centers.
The GAO findings backed up
results from a congressional report
earlier this year.
"Although many of the centers
initially had purely counterterror-
ism goals, for numerous reasons
they have increasingly gravitated
toward an all-crimes and even
broader all-hazards approach,"
according to a June Congressional
Research Service report.
Most of the centers are run by

state police or other law enforce-
ment agencies, but many also have
representatives from a wide range
of other agencies, including fire
and public works departments and
state gambling regulators. This
has raised concerns about privacy
as those agencies become linked
to a broader intelligence-shar-
ing network. Most of the centers
also include federal officials such
as analysts from the FBI and the
Homeland Security Department.
Some centers are even housed
together with federal agencies,
which can be a benefit. Minnesota's
fusion center, for example, is in the
same building as the FBI, which
makes it easier for local officials to
access the FBI's networks.
The centers can potentially tap
into five separate federal databases
containing case files on investiga-
tions, reports on suspicious inci-
dents and research on terrorist
weapons and tactics. But not all of
the facilities are in buildings that
have adequate security to access
those databases, GAO found.
Each fusion center is indepen-
dent and not controlled by the fed-
eral government, and it was only
last month that the Bush adminis-
tration offered guidelines for the
centers' missions and operations.

The University of Michigan Museum of Art presents
Day With(out) Art

Poetry reading by
Robert Hass
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 4PM
Rackham Amphitheater, 915 E. Washington, Ann Arbor

Sunni Arabs join
U.S. forces in RAND
security agreement = E
Nearly 6,000 Sunni Arab resi-
dents joined a security pact with
American forces yesterday in what
U.S. officers described as a criti-
cal step in plugging the remaining
escaperoutes for extremists flushed
from former strongholds.
The new alliance - called the
single largest single volunteer
mobilization since the war began -
covers the "last gateway" for groups Call to
such as al-Qaida in Iraq seeking
new havens in northern Iraq, U.S.
military officials said.
U.S. commanders have tried to
build a ring around insurgents who
fled military offensives launched
earlier this year in the western
Anbar province and later into Bagh-
dad andsurroundingareas. Inmany
places, the U.S.-led battles were
given key help from tribal militias
- mainly Sunnis - that had turned
again al-Qaida and other groups.
TULSA, Oklahoma
Oral Roberts
president says God
told him to resign
Richard Roberts told students
at Oral Roberts University yester-
day that he did not want to resign
as president of the scandal-plagued
evangelical school, but he did so
because God insisted.
God told him on Thanksgiving To play: C
that he should resign the next day, and eV
Roberts told students in the univer-
sity's chapel.
"Every ounce of my flesh said The
'no"' to the idea, Roberts said, but just us
he prayed over the decision with
his wife and his father, Oral Rob-
erts, and decided to step down.
Roberts said he wanted to "strike
out" against the people who were
persecuting him, and considered
countersuing, but "the Lord said,
'don't do that,"' he said.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports
0O
3,878
Number of American service mem- 3
bers who have died in the war in
Iraq, according to The Associated
Press. No service members killed in
Iraq were identified yesterday.

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Renowned American poet, environmentalist, teacher,
and essayist Robert Hass will read from his work to mark this
year's Day With(out) Art. Since the first Day With(out) Art
on December, ,1989, this national day of action and mourning
has commemorated the devastating toll that HIV and AIDS have taken on the international arts
communities. This program is cosponsored by UMMA and the Creative Writing Program of the
UM Department of English and is part of the Zell Visiting Writers Series 2007-2008.

LmnA

versity of Michigan Museum of Art ( WWW.UMMAUMc

734.763.UMMA

I

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