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October 02, 2008 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, October 2, 2008 - 3A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, October 2, 2008 - 3A

NEWS BRIEFS
WASHINGTON
Senate passes
bailout plan
After one spectacular failure,
the $700 billion financial indus-
try bailout found a second life
Wednesday, winning lopsided
passage in the Senate and gain-
ing ground in the House, where
Republicans opposition softened.
Senators loaded the economic
rescue bill with tax breaks and
other sweeteners before passing it
by a wide margin, 74-25, a month
before the presidential and con-
gressional elections.
In the House, leaders were
working feverishly to convert
enough opponents of the bill to
push it through by Friday, just
days after lawmakers there stun-
ningly rejected an earlier version
and sent markets plunging around
the globe.
WASHINGTON
Obama moves
ahead in polls
Barack Obama has surged to a
seven-point lead over John Mc-
Cain one month before the presi-
dential election, lifted by voters
who think the Democrat is better
suited to lead the nation through
its sudden financial crisis, accord-
ing to an Associated Press-GfK
poll that underscores the mount-
ing concerns of some McCain
backers.
Likely voters now back Obama
48-41 percent over McCain, a dra-
matic shift from an AP-GfK survey
that gave the Republican a slight
edge nearly three weeks ago, be-
fore Wall Street collapsed and sent
ripples across worldwide markets.
On top of that, unrelated sur-
veys show Obama beating McCain
in several battlegrounds, including
Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania -
three states critical in the state-by-
state fight for the presidency.
Several GOP strategists close to
McCain's campaign privately fret
that his chances for victory are
starting to slip away.
MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif.
Missing
adventurer's ID
found in California
A hiker in rugged eastern Cali-
fornia found an ID and other items
possibly belonging to Steve Fos-
sett, the adventurer missing more
than a year since going on a plea-
sure flight in a borrowed plane,
authorities said yesterday.
Theitems were foundinthe area
of the town of Mammoth Lakes,
Inyo National Forest spokeswom-
an Nancy Upham said.
"We have some ID that has the
name Steve Fossett," Mammoth
Lakes police Investigator Crystal
Schafer said. "They were turned
in to us and are in our posses-
sion."
NEW YORK
Debate moderator

dismisses questions
about neutrality
PBS journalist Gwen Ifill,
moderator of the upcoming vice
presidential debate, dismissed
conservative questions about her
impartiality because she is writ-
ing a book that includes material
on Barack Obama.
Ifill said Wednesday that she
hasn't even written her chapter on
Obama for the book "The Break-
through: Politics and Race in the
Age of Obama," which is to be
published by Doubleday on Jan.
20, 2009, the day a new president
is inaugurated.
"I've got a pretty long track
record covering politics and news,
so I'm not particularly worried
that one-day blog chatter is going
to destroy my reputation," Ifill
said. "The proof is in the pudding.
They can watch the debate tomor-
row night and make their own
decisions about whether or not
I've done my job."
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports
176
Number of American service
members who have died in the
war in Iraq, according to The
Associated Press. There were no
deaths identified yesterday.

Economy's woes led to
auto sales drop in Sept.

Last month in
which Americans
bought fewer
vehicles: Feb. '93
DETROIT (AP) - U.S. auto
sales dropped below 1 million last
month for the first time in more
than 15 years as some consum-
ers struggled to get financing and
others were frightened away from
showrooms by bank failures and
turmoil on Wall Street.
Americans bought 964,873
vehicles in September, the low-
est sales figure since February
1993, according to Autodata Corp.
and the Edmunds.com automo-
tive Web site. Sales fell 27 percent
compared with September 2007,
with every major brand but Gen-
eral Motors Corp. reporting drops
of at least 24 percent.
"It was tantamount, really, to a
natural disaster,"said George Pipas,
top sales analyst for Ford Motor Co.,
which saw sales slide 34 percent, its
worst month ofthe year.
GM, buoyed by its offer of
employee pricing on most of its
models, said Wednesday that it
sold 16 percent fewer vehicles than
it did a year earlier. But executives
were happy with the performance
given the market conditions,
which nearly all automakers said
were influenced by tighter credit
standards knocking buyers from

the market.
"A few years ago I'd have
jumpedoutthewindowwiththese
numbers, and we're on the 39th.
floor here," Mark LaNeve, GM's
vice president of North Ameri-
can sales, said in a conference call
from the automaker's downtown
Detroit headquarters.
Even Toyota Motor Corp.,
whose fuel-efficient offerings led
to strong sales earlier this year,
saw a decline of 32 percent, with
the top Japanese automaker blam-
ing the drop on the overall eco-
nomic conditions.
Many dealers have said cus-
tomers are having an increasingly
hard time qualifying for loans to
buy autos, as banks have restrict-
ed lending because of widespread
mortgage defaults that led to dis-
ruptions in the financial markets.
Plus, several automakers' finance
arms -have limited or discontin-
ued leasing.
Unlike other automakers, Toy-
ota officials said its finance arm
has a strong ability to provide
credit, so that did not cause the
sales decline. But a lack of con-
sumer confidence did, they said,
especially late in the month.
"The last 10 days of the month
are typically the best, and we
saw the traffic steadily decline to
extremelylowlevels inthelastcou-
ple of days," said Bob Carter, group
vice presidentand general manager
of Toyota Division in the U.S.
"I think consumers are waiting

on the sidelines to rebuild some
confidence and get back out into
the market," he said.
At Chrysler LLC, sales tumbled
33 percent for the month, while
even Honda Motor Co., one of the
few automakers that had posted
sales growth through August,
reported a 24 percent drop.
Mike DiGiovanni, GM's execu-
tive director of global market and
industry analysis, said it is criti-
cal for Congress to approve the
government's $700 billion bailout
plan to free up credit for car buy-
ers and small businesses.
GM said earlier' that tighter
credit requirements cost it 10,000
to 12,000 sales per month during
the first half of the year, and that
number probably grew in August
and September.
Passing the bill would ease con-
sumer and business fears of the
economy worsening, he said.
"The psychological impact is of
particular importance here," he
said. "We need to break that cycle.
The only way I know to do that is
to pass this legislation."
GM's market share in Sep-
tember grew to just over 29 per-
cent, compared with 23 percent
through August, mainly because
of the employee pricing offer that
expired Tuesday. The offer gen-
erally gives people 10 percent off
dealer invoice prices, but LaNeve
said GM averaged only $100 more
in incentives per vehicle than in
August.

EU troops begin patrols near
Georgian breakaway region

Deployment to pave
way for Russian
withdrawal
KARALETI, Georgia (AP)
- European Union monitors in
white shirts andbrightblueberets
began patrolling a buffer zone
yesterday outside the breakaway
region of South Ossetia that has
been controlled by Russian troops
and separatists since an August
war in Georgia.
The deployment paves the way
for a promised Russian pullback of
its remainingtroops from areas they
occupied outside South Ossetia and
another separatist region in Georgia.
Georgians in villages beyond
Russian checkpoints welcomed
the Western observers, who are
to monitor the cease-fire and the
withdrawal of Russian troops.
Some frightened residents of vil-
lages damaged by arson and loot-
ing they blame on South Ossetians
said the EU came too late.
Russian troops had said Tues-
day that none of the EU observers
would immediately be permitted
in the buffer zone outside South
Ossetia, raising concerns that
Moscow was backtracking on its
commitments.
But EU monitors - whose job
Somalia
to talk
with
pirates
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP)
- An official at Somalia's for-
eign ministry says negotiations
are taking place between the
Somali pirates who hijacked
a Ukrainian cargo ship laden
with battle tanks and the ship's
MohamedIamaAli, the min-
istry's acing permanent direc-
tor, said Wednesday "there are
talks between the owners of
the ship and the pirates. But no
other side is involved in nego-
tiations."
The hijacking last week of
the ship MV Faina - carry-
ing 33 Soviet-made T-72 tanks,
rifles, and heavy weapons that
U.S. defense officials have said
included rocket launchers -
was the highest-profile act of
piracy in the dangerous waters
off Somalia this year.
The ship is now surrounded
by U.S. warships that are not
allowing the pirates to take the
weapons off the ship.

is to observe the cease-fire and
the Russian pullback - arrived
on schedule. They were quickly
allowed to pass through Russian
checkpoints near two Georgian
villages on the perimeter of the
so-called security zone.
"The situation is very calm,"
said Ivan Kukushkin, a Russian
officer in charge of the checkpoint
near the Georgian village of Kve-
natkotsa.
Russia still plans to keep
around 7,600 troops in South
Ossetia and the other breakaway
region of Abkhazia, which the EU
and U.S. consider to be violations
of its cease-fire. commitments.
Moscow has refused to allow the
EU monitors inside the regions
themselves.
RussianPresidentDmitryMed-
vedev said there are no ideologi-
cal grounds for a new Cold War
or any other kind of conflict with
the United States, a staunch sup-
porter of Georgia's pro-Western
government.
"We do not have such ideologi-
cal differences around which a
new cold or any other kind of war
could start," Medvedev said at a
news conference after meeting
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis
Rodriguez Zapatero outside St.
Petersburg, Russia.
In Karaleti, a village on a main

road leading from Georgian-con-
trolled territory to South Ossetia,
Vitaly Shavishishvili said he and
his relatives are living in a cow-
shed after looters burned down
their two-story house and stole
two of their vehicles.
"We only count on ourselves,"
said Shavishishvili, 24.
Marauders had set fire to more
than 30 houses in the village and
looted the local store, then blew it
up with hand grenades, said Zaira
Mamagulashvili, 62.
"No one is in control. We are
afraid of everyone," added Misha
Sukhitashvili, another Karaleti
resident. "A Russian soldier is the
kind of guy who after he has a
drink is capable of anything."
Under cease-fire agreements
brokered by French President
Nicolas Sarkozy on behalf of the
EU, Russian troops are to with-
draw from so-called security
zones surrounding South Osse-
tia and the other Russian-backed
separatist region, Abkhazia, with-
in 10 days of the EU deployment
Wednesday.
There was no evidence of an
imminent Russian withdrawal.
"The Russians gave us plans for
dismantling their (checkpoints)
but didn't say when," EU mission
director Hansjoerg Haber told
reporters.

John Lafond, a University alum and Plymouth resident, said he wants to evaluate the
University's costs and reduce them.
Rege40nt hopeful:,
I'll cap tuition
LaFond addresses of the Board are held every two
SCollege years.
U'C During the discussion, students
expressed frustration with text-
Republicans book costs, which they said were
too high.
By JULIE ROWE LaFond asked if textbooks were
Daily StaffReporter available online or if they still were
---buying printed versions of books
John LaFond, a Republican course packs. After being told that
candidate running the University the majority of classes require
Board of Regents, spoke with stu- printed copies, he said he'd like
dents last night at a meeting with to look into the possibility of elec-
the University's chapter of Col- tronic versions of books.
lege Republicans, saying he would "There's a lesson to be learned
place a cap on tuition if given the here, and we'll learn it," LaFond
power to do so. said. "We'll learn it either the easy
LaFond said he would to work way or the hard way. We'll listen
for the taxpayers, keeping the cost to you."
of tuition low by reducing excess LSA sophomore Charles Mark-
spending and controlling costs. man, who attended the meet-
Specifically, LaFond said he ing, said he thought LaFond was
wanted to evaluate the Univer- insightful and understanding of
sity's energy, salary and health students's concerns. He said he
care costs and working to reduce was hopeful LaFond would cut
them. unnecessary spending.
"(I would) challenge the leader- "He has the best economic plan
ship of this university - without to make school affordable for all
micromanaging them - to jump students," Markman said.
out of the box, to think creatively LSA freshman Bailey Water-
and be able to come up with some man said she was glad LaFond was
solutions to make that happen," committed to keeping costs low
he said of his goal to make college at the University, but didn't know
more affordable. "All of you are whether he could effectively push
going to be challenged here, and for reform. The board currently
I don't know why the administra- includes six Democrats and two
tion shouldn't be challenged as Republicans.
well." "I think that he'll try to do what
The Board of Regents is com- he can," she said. "I don't know
prised of eight elected members, how much he can do single-hand-
and elections for two members edly."

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