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April 09, 2008 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-04-09

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, April 9, 2008- 3A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, April 9, 2008- 3A

Millions in federal
employee charges
found questionable
Federal employees charged
millions of dollars for Internet
dating, tailor-made suits, lingerie,
lavish dinners and other question-
able expenses to their government
credit cards over a 15-month pe-
riod, congressional auditors say.
A report by the Government Ac-
countability Office, obtained yes-
terday by The Associated Press,
examined spending controls
across the federal government
following reports of credit-card
abuse at departments including
Defense, Homeland Security and
Veterans Affairs.
The review of card spending at
more than a dozen departments
from 2005 to 2006 found that
nearly 41 percent of roughly $14
billion in credit-card purchases,
whether legitimate or question-
able, did not follow procedure
- either because they were not
properly authorized or they had
not been signed for by an indepen-
dent third party as called for in
federal rules to deter fraud.
Cleric threatens to
break cease-fire
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr
raised the stakes yesterday in his
showdown with government,
threateningtoend formallyaseven-
month cease-fire unless authorities
stop attacks on his followers in
Formally ending the cease-fire
could trigger renewed fighting
throughout southern Iraq, nine
days after a deal brokered in Iran
calmed the region.
But there was no letup in the
clashes in the capital yesterday, as
American and Iraqi soldiers stepped
up the pressure against Shiite mili-
tants in their Sadr City stronghold
of northeast Baghdad.
HARARE, Zimbabwe
Opponents claim
Mugabe used violent
tactics in power grab
Opponents of President Rob-
ert Mugabe accused his regime
yesterday of unleashing thugs to
attack opposition supporters and
seizing white-owned farms in
an attempt to retain power. They
called on other African powers to
Mugabe, who has led Zim-
babwe for 28 years, has virtu-
ally conceded that he did not win
March 29 elections and appeared
to be campaigning for an expected
runoff against Morgan Tsvangirai
by intimidating foes and fanning
racial tensions.
Bill Clinton for free
trade with Colombia,

Hillary opposed
The presidential campaign of
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said
yesterday that her husband, the
former president, supports a free
trade agreement with Colombia
that she strenuously opposes.
The acknowledgment adds new
hurdles to the New York senator's
bid -to woo Democratic voters in
Pennsylvania and elsewhere who
believe free trade agreements have
eliminated thousands of U.S. jobs.
On Sunday, she demoted her chief
campaign strategist for his role in
promoting the Colombia pact.
Hillary Clinton told union ac-
tivists yesterday she would do ev-
erythingin her powerto defeat the
Colombia Free Trade Agreement
now before Congress.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports
15. DE ATH S
Number of American service mem-
bers who have died in the war in
Iraq, according to The Associated
Press. The following deaths were
identified yesterday:
Army Staff Sgt. Emanuel Pickett,
34, Teachey, N.C..
Army Col. Stephen K. Scott, 54,
New Market, Ala.
Army Maj. Stuart A. Wolfer, 36,
Coral Springs, Fla.
Army Sgt. Richard A. Vaughn,
22, San Diego,

Petraeus: Iraq can't afford U.S. troop pull-out

top U.S. commander in Iraq told
Congress yesterday that hard-won
gains in the war zone are too frag-
ile to promise any troop pullouts
beyond this summer, holding his
ground against impatient Demo-
crats and refusing to commit to
more withdrawals before President
Bush leaves office in January.
Army Gen. David Petraeus
painted a picture of a nation strug-
gling to suppressviolence among its
own people and to move toward the
political reconciliation that Bush

said a year ago was the ultimate
aim of his new Iraq strategy, which
included sendingmore than20,000
extra combat troops.
Security is getting better, and
Iraq's own forces are becoming
more able, Petraeus said. But he also
ticked off a list of reasons for worry,
including the threat of a resur-
gence of Sunni or Shiite extremist
violence. He highlighted Iran as a
special concern, for its training and
equipping of extremists.
In back-to-back appearances
before two Senate committees,

ocrats that, after five years of war, it
of the war burdento the Iraqis. Those
senators said Iraq will not attain sta-
bility until the United States makes
the decision to begin withdrawing in
large numbers and forces the Iraqis
to settle their differences.
Republican Sen. George Voinov-
ich of Ohio, a longtime critic of the
administration's war strategy, told
Petraeus: "The American people
have had it up tohere."
Petraeus responded, "I certainly

share the frustration."
But when it came to promising or
predicting a timetable for further
withdrawals, Petraeus didn't budge.
He said he had recommended to
Bush that he complete, by the end of
July, the withdrawal of the 20,000
extra troops. Beyond that, the gen-
eral proposed a 45-day period of
"consolidation and evaluation," to
be followed by an indefinite period
of assessment before he would rec-
ommend any further pullouts.
The Petraeus plan, which Bush
is expected to embrace, reflects a

conservative approach that leaves
open the possibility that roughly
140,000 U.S. troops could remain
in Iraq when the president leaves
office next year.
On Thursday Bush will make a
speech about the war, now in its
sixth year, and his decision about
troop levels.
In exchanges with several sena-
tors, Petraeus refused to say when
he thought it would be safe to
resume troop reductions beyond
July without risking "fragile and
reversible" security gains.


From Page 1A
whole, he has had fewer custom-
Because the street is partially
blocked off, he said, the store gets
less foot traffic.
Residential College sophomore
Ali Ploechl, an East Quadran-
gle resident, said students have
noticed that the sidewalk in front
of Zaragon Place has moved, lead-
ing many of them to bypass the
local eateries.
"Getting to Za's now involves
some maneuvering around the
construction," Ploechl said.
Aaron Blumhardt, manager
of neighboring restaurant Red
Hot Lovers, said he still receives

plenty of student foot traffic, but
that summer sales were a differ-
ent story. Then, Blumhardt said,
noise from jackhammers made
it difficult for customers to talk
while they ate.
He also said that because there
are less parking meters avail-
able now, fewer city residents
frequent the restaurant because
they can't park near it.
Despite the troubles, Blum-
hardt said he's optimistic that the
project - slated to yield 66 apart-
ments with 248 bedrooms, and
40 underground parking spaces
- willbringnew business once it's
"It's going to be primarily stu-
dent housing," Blumhardt said.
"That's new clientele at least every
four years."

From Page 1A
between the two groups.
"I think it's important to not
simply raise awareness, but to have
a conversation about solutions, and
that's really the meat of policy,"
Smith said. "I would be more than
happy to add the Republican view-
point and the Republican voice to
their discussions."
John Barrett, a law professor at
St. John's University and member
of the Institution's national advi-
sory board, said students involved
in the program probably won't see
their policy proposals putinto place
by government officials anytime
soon. Still, he said that shouldn't
discourage them from developing

their ideas.
"Policy proposals like this, papers
like this, go into discussions," Bar-
rett said, "In time, there will be
things that emerge from the politi-
cal process that some of the young
people will be able to feel some
ownership to and connection to."
Policy centers also host educa-
tional events like the University
chapter's China Policy Center, which
invited students to be in a forum last
week about what the nation's growth
means for Americans.
Institution's "positive" approach to
pressing political issues attracted
him to the group last year. Cook
said other student groups on cam-
pus often address problems in the
political system but fail to propose
feasible solutions.

Goodman said the University's
chapter distinguishes itself from
other chapters because of its open
can write a policy proposal to sub-
mit for publication. The University
chapter initially tried to replicate
Stanford's model. There, only cer-
tain members are allowed to write
policy papers.
"Michigan is more participa-
tory - everyone can do everything.
We'll teach you if you're not quite
on that level yet," Goodman said.
Goodman said the University's
chapter will focus more on research
techniques this coming year.
"Right now we're more worried
about the think tank process, more
worried about teaching kids how to
research, how to think critically,"
she said.


From Page 1A
them over because there is no
way to know if they belong to the
group," Coleman said. She said
that if the law changed, though,
the University could change its
Later, one student brought up
the recent Graduate Employees'
Organization walkout, question-
ing whether the University was
simply waiting for the GEO to
protest before revising the con-
tract, but Coleman interrupted
the student with an abrupt "no."
"We care deeply about how our
graduate students fare," she said.
Several students asked Cole-
man about ongoing renovations
on campus, making North Cam-
pus more "lively" and ways to
make the dorms more accommo-
dating to handicapped residents.

Two students said it was a dif-
ficult process for out-of-state stu-
dents to find summer jobs intheir
home states. Coleman said she
would pass the concern to other
University officials. -
Coleman also touched on the
University's move to digitize
researchers' materials to make
them available for everyone, in
response to a student's comment
about Harvard University's simi-
lar endeavor.
"It is our responsibility to
make things accessible," she
said. "I think we've been very
much leaders in the digitization
After a little more than an hour
of talking,.the chat wound down.
Coleman said she was excited by
the discussion.
"This is my best one of these in
six years," said Coleman, who's
participated in similar talks
before with students.

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