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February 20, 2008 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-02-20

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The Michigan Daily - nichiganclaily.com

From Page 1A
dent would decrease.
If health insurance were made
mandatory, the cost of the premi-
um would be added to the Univer-
sity's estimated cost of attendance
for each student.
Students could then be eligible
to receive financial aid to cover
the premium, but aid would not
be guaranteed. This means stu-
dents without outside insurance
who cannot receive more financial
aid could end up paying more to
attend the University, he said.
In the resolution, Dar wrote

that international students at the
University currently pay $81 per
month for a mandatory health
insurance plan provided by the
University - much less than
domestic students pay. That might
be because all international stu-
dents are required to buy insur-
When only some students are
required to buy insurance, those
who have may need it are more
likely to buy it. That can lead to
higher prices, driving healthy
people, who in effect pay for sick
customers, to drop their insur-
ance. That, in turn, leads to higher
prices still.
The University has already

assigned the task of investigating
ways of lowering the cost of health
insurance for students to a com-
But Dar said his letter would
suggest a timeframe for the com-
mittee's investigation. He said
he hopes that the committee will
present its results to the admin-
istration by next fall and make a
recommendation about whether
to pursue a health insurance man-
date for all students.
Dar said the assembly expects
the University's committee to use
student input during the investi-
gation, and eventually report the
results to the assembly and the
student body.

At 81, Fidel Castro steps down

Cuban president's
brother Raul expected
to take power
The New York Times
den for 19 months, yesterday gave
up the almost unlimited power he
has wielded in Cuba for nearly 50
years, but whether the surprise
announcement represented a his-
toric change or a symbolic political
maneuver remained unclear.
It is expected that his brother
Raul, 76, will be officially named
president, and some experts con-
sider him more pragmatic. Raul
Castro has talked about bringing
more accountability to government
and of possibly working to improve
relations with the United States.
But sincetaking over temporarily in
the summer of 2006, he has largely
operated in his brother's shadow,
and, except for facilitating huge for-
eign investment by Canadian and
has brought about little change.
Under Cuba's Constitution, a
newly chosen legislative body,
called the National Assembly, is
scheduled to select a 31-member
Council of State on Sunday. In turn,
the new council will pick the next
president. Fidel Castro said he
would not accept the position even
if it were offered to him.
In a letter read over early morn-
ing radio and television programs
across the country, the 81-year-old

Castro - who has appeared frail
in the few videos released by the
Cuban government - was said to
be too ill to continue as head of state
and would not stand in the way of
others who were ready to take over,
a sentiment he first expressed last
Experts on Cuban politics say
the decision on a successor remains
in the hands of the Castro broth-
ers and their inner circle, many of
whom hold positions in the Cabi-
net. Still, others said that it was pos-
sible that a younger presidentcould
be brought in or that the posts of
prime minister and president could
be divided between Raul Castro
and one of the ministers.
It was not clear what role, if any,
Fidel Castro would play in a new
government, or whether he would
retain' other powerful positions,
including head of the Communist
Party. But he signaled that he was
not yet ready to completely exit the
It is not even certain that Castro
was well enough to actually write
the letter of resignation. Doubts
have arisen over the state of his
health and whether he could have
written a series of essays that have
been published over the last year
and a half in Granma, the Commu-
nist Party organ.
"I am not saying goodbye to
you," said Castro in the letter writ-
ten under his name and addressed
to the people of Cuba. "I only wish
to fight as a soldier of ideas."
The confusion of analysts in both
Cuba and the United States about
the extent to which Castro would

withdraw from day-to-day gov-
ernment operations or continue to
wield power frombehind the scenes
was reflected in the mix of opinions
ofpeople from the luxurybeaches at
the seaside resort of Varadero to the
central park of Old Havana.
There was little evidence in the
streets of the capital and in other
cities to suggest that a monumen-
tal change was taking place in the
Cuban hierarchy. But that could
be because the accrued experi-
ence of 50 years of state security
efforts made open demonstrations
Cuba's leading dissident tried to
dampen expectations.
"This isn't news," said the dis-
sident, Elizardo Sanchez, in a tele-
phone interview, after learning
from friends that Castro was ced-
ing power. "It was expected and it
does nothing to change the human
rights situation, which continues to
be unfavorable, or to end the one-
party state. There's no reason to
The pace of ordinary Cuban life
In Varadero, workers collected
garbage and cleaned pools as they
normally would. On the highway,
workers whitewashed barriers.
In the seaside city of Matanzas,
Eliana Lopez, a 55-year-old trans-
portation inspector who had heard
the news on her way to work, said
she expected the revolution to con-
tinue, with change coming slowly
but surely. "There is no surprise,"
Lopez said. She added, "This is the
correct decision," referring to Cas-
tro's declaration.






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