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March 04, 2009 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-04

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - 3A

NEWS BRIEFS
LANSING
Granholm focuses
on green jobs
Gov. Jennifer Granholm is
pushing hard this week to plug
Michigan's flagging economy into
alternative energy.
The Democratic governor was
in Washington, D.C., yesterday for
a climate change symposium led by
former British Prime Minister Tony
Blair. Experts at the event focused
on adding jobs through U.S. climate
change policies.
A wind energy conference was
held in Detroit yesterday and will
continue today.
And Thursday, Granholm will
speak at a University of Michigan
conference about low-carbon man-
ufacturing in the Midwest. Senior
executives from Ford, Whirlpool
and advanced battery companies
also plan to speak at the event held
in partnership with the Royal Dan-
ish Embassy.
Granholm praised Denmark for
focusing on the renewable energy
industry to lower its unemployment
rate. She plans to sign an agreement
with Denmark's climate and energy
minister to work together to create
a "low-carbon economy."
CLEARWATER, Fla.
Coast guard ends
search for missing
NFL players
Families of two NFL players and
a third man lost for three days in
rough, chilly Gulf of Mexico waters
held out hope that rescuers would
find them alive somewhere off the
Florida coast.
After scouring about 24,000
square miles of ocean, the Coast
Guard at sundown yesterday
stopped looking for Oakland Raid-
ers linebacker Marquis Cooper,
free-agent defensive lineman Corey
Smith, who played with the Detroit
Lions last season, and former South
Florida player William Bleakley.
Bleakley's father said he thought
the Coast Guard did everything
it could and that his expectations
lowered after only one survivor
was found Monday, nearlytwo days
after the four friends were knocked
out of their capsized 21-foot boat.
"I think they were not to be
found," Robert Bleakley said.
Hopes were raised when crews
found Bleakley's former South
Florida teammate, 24-year-old Nick
Schuyler, who managed to stay with
the boat after it overturned Satur-
day evening.
WAYZATA, Minn.
TCF plans to give
a fed money back
TCF Financial Corp. plans to
return more than $361 million it
received from the federal govern-
ment four months ago, saying "the
rules have definitely changed"
since it accepted the money.
The bank holding company,
which has operations in Michigan
and six other states, has asked per-
mission from federal regulators
to return the money it received

in November under the Troubled
Asset Relief Program.
TCF Chairman and Chief Execu-
tive Officer Bill Cooper says public
perception now views banks that
took TARP money as having done
so out of weakness, and says par-
ticipation in TARP has put TCF at
a competitive disadvantage.
Wayzata (wy-ZET'-uh), Minn.-
based TCFhas assetsof$16.7billion
and offices in Minnesota, Colorado,
Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, Wis-
. consin and Indiana.
ZAMZAM CAMP, Sudan
Darfur camps fill as
fighting continues
The tall 14-year-old's parents
were killed when government sol-
diers swept into his hometown in
Darfur to chase out rebels. Then
Arab militias went after the survi-
vors. That's when the teenager fled
atop a truck piled with mattresses
and pots.
Mohammed Bahreddine arrived
at this refugee camp last week after
a two-day journey, joining more
than 26,000 people from the region
around the town of Muhajeria who
:have flooded into the crowded
camp in recent weeks.
"It's one of the largest single
ftights of refugees in the past year
ip Darfur - a sign how civilians
are bearing the brunt of a war that
entered its seventh year in February.
At least 10,000 more people from
the Muhajeria area are expected at
7amzam soon, camp leaders say.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

U.S. auto sales
near historic
lows in Feb.

GERALD HERBERT/AP
President Barack Obama arrives to deliver remarks at the Interior Department in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2009.
. "
Top Obama officials
defend new tax hi~kes

Sales for the Detroit
Three down 48
percent from 2008
DETROIT (AP) - Offers of huge
rebates and tempting low-interest
loans weren't enough to entice car
buyers out of their bunkers in this
economic crisis, causing U.S. auto
sales in February to hover near
historic lows.
General Motors' sales tumbled
53 percent from a year earlier,
while Ford's U.S. sales fell 48 per-
cent and Chrysler's dropped 44
percent. The major Japanese auto-
makers fared only slightly better.
Overall auto sales were down 41
percent from February 2008, but
up 5 percentfrom January, accord-
ing to Autodata Corp. and Ward's
AutoInfoBank. January marked
the industry's worst monthly per-
formance since December 1981.
The increase was a good sign,
but it's far less than the usual 14
percent sales bump from January
to February, and it doesn't neces-
sarily mean sales have hit the bot-
tom, said Jesse Toprak, executive
director of industry analysis for
the auto Web site Edmunds.com.
"It does mean that there's some
life out there," Toprak said.
Things are so bad that GM,
which marked its worst February
sales since 1967, is considering a
program to let buyers keep their
cars for a time without making
payments if they lose their jobs.
The huge stock market decline
helped push down sales, said.
Mark LaNeve, GM's North Ameri-
can vice president of sales, servic-
es and marketing. The Dow Jones
industrial average ended the
month atits lowest level in nearly
12 years.
"People are seeing, tracking
their investments going down 3, 4,
5 percent a day or a week," LaNeve
said. "That doesn't put you in a
mood to go out and splurge on a
new vehicle."
Autornakersold698. i 0 A cars

and trucks last month, and there's
little they can do to spur sales until
the economy recovers, Toprak said.
"You can spend money on mar-
keting or incentives. That's all you
can do," he said. "Neither is hav-
ing a big impact on sales. That tells
us it's really consumer confidence
and the general negative state of
the economy overall causing con-
sumers to postpone making pur-
chase decisions."
According to one figure closely
watched by the industry, Febru-
ary's annualized sales rate was
the lowest in more than 27 years,
dropping to 9.1 million vehicles.
That figure makes adjustments for
seasonal sales fluctuations.
Toyota Motor Corp.'s sales fell
40 percent. The global auto sales
leader was forced to seek aid from
the Japanese government Tues-
day for its finance arm.
Automakers and analysts have
been predicting sales will rebound
in the second half of this year, but
they are becoming less certain.
As recently as January, they were
predicting that U.S. sales this year
would total around 11.5 million
vehicles, but as the economy has
worsened, they have lopped off a
million or more sales from their
estimates.
The incentive GM is consider-
ing would be similar to Hyundai
Motor Co.'s "Assurance" program,
which helped it buck the double-
digit sales decline with only a
2 percent drop last month. The
South Korean company's program
allows buyers to return a vehicle
within a year if they can't make
the payments due to a misfortune
such as job loss or disability.
LaNeve said a GM plan might
be more useful to reassure buyers.
"We're not crazy about the
Hyundai program because all it
really does is keep your credit
from getting wrecked," he said
Tuesday. "You lose your job, you
have to turn your car in. If you
lose your job, you need your car,
right? How are you going to get a
new i?"

RE
ne
will
WAS
dent Br
taxes o
house
opposit
sional I
Democ
"I we
ly affec
ble or g
D-N.Y.,
ing Ho'
mittee,
high-in
deduct
tions ar
Reps
dent's p
tries th
amount
for all
exceed
cut for
extend
"The

epublicans say es taxes on every American, and
does so during a recession," said
Mly created fees Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the
top Republican on the Ways and
exceed tax cuts Means Committee.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Gei-
for workers thner argued that the Obama pro-
posal would reduce taxes for most
HINGTON (AP) -- Presi- Americans. Any increases, he said,
arack Obama's call to raise wouldn't occur until 2011, when the
n high earners and green- economy is "safely into recovery."
gas polluters met fierce Geithner said Obama's plan
ion Tuesday from congres- would cut income taxes for 95 per-
Republicans and also a few cent of families and 97 percent of
rats. small businesses. Raising taxes
ould never want to adverse- on couples that make more than
t anything that is charita- $250,000 would make the tax
ood," Rep. Charles Rangel, system more equitable, restoring
chairman of the tax-writ- the balance that existed before
use Ways and Means Com- a series of tax cuts were enacted
said of Obama's call to limit under former President George W.
come taxpayers' itemized Bush, he said.
ions for charitable dona- "This budget targets tax relief.
nd mortgage interest. to families that have lost ground
ublicans said the presi- the past eight years," Geithner
plan txrchargefeestoindus- said.
sat spew greenhouse gases Geithner and White House
ts to a stealthy tax increase Budget Director Peter Orszag
Americans that will far testified at separate congressio-
the new $400 annual tax nal hearings yesterday, giving
workers that he wants to lawmakers their first opportu-
beyond 2010. nity to publicly question admin-
president'sbudgetincreas- istration officials about Obama's

spending plan.
Questioning was pretty much
along party lines. Democrats for
the most part praised Obama's
proposal.
"It is making the tax code more
fair," Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., told
Geithner.
But the Treasury secretary
acknowledged that consumers
could face higher electric bills
because Obama would impose
fees on greenhouse gas producers,
including power plants that burn
fossil fuels, by auctioning off car-
bon pollution permits. The goal is
to reduce the emissions blamed for
global warming while raisinga pro-
jected $646 billion over 10 years.
"Now, if people don't change
how they use energy, then they
will face higher costs for energy,"
Geihne nida

Pakistan: Gunmen
attack cricket team,
6 killed, 7 wounded

Brazen attack was
similar to Mumbai
attacks last year
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) - A
team of heavily armed gunmen,
some traveling in rickshaws,
ambushed Sri Lanka's nation-
al cricket team yesterday as it
arrived for a match, killing six
police guards and wounding
seven players. The brazen attack
heightened fears that Pakistan is
becoming increasingly unstable.
The assault bore striking simi-
larities to last year's three-day
hostage drama in the Indian
financial capital of Mumbai.
Working in pairs, the attackers
in Lahore carried walkie-talk-
ies and backpacks stuffed with
water, dried fruit and other high-
energy food - a sign they antici-
pated a protracted siege and may
have been planning to take the
players hostage.
The bus sped through the
ambush, but the gunmen's prepa-
rations indicated they may been
planning to hijack the vehicle,
Interior Ministry chief Rehman
Malik told The Associated Press.
None of the gunmen were killed
and all apparently escaped into
this teeming eastern city.
Even though the bus was pep-
pered with 25 bullet holes, none
of the cricket players were killed.
The attack was among the high-
est-profile terrorist strikes on a
sports team since the 1972 Munich
Olympics, when Palestian mili-
tants killed 11 Israeli athletes.
In addition, by targeting not
only a major Pakistani city but
also the country's most popu-
lar sport, the attack was sure to
resonate throughout the region,
where cricket has been an obses-

sion since it was introduced by the
British during the colonial era.
In targeting the sport, the
gunmen were certain to draw
international attention to the
government's inability to provide
basic security as it battles mili-
tants linked to al-Qaida and the
Taliban and faces accusations
that it is harboring terrorists.
The attack ended Pakistan's
hopes of hosting international
cricket teams - or any high pro-
file sports events - for months, if
not years. Even before yesterday,
most cricket squads chose not
to tour the country for security
reasons. India and Australia had
canceled tours, and New Zealand
announced Tuesday it was call-
ing of its December tour.
Besides the six police officers,
a driver of a vehicle in the con-
voy was also killed, officials said.
Seven Sri Lankan players, a Paki-
stani umpire and a coach from
Britain were wounded, none with
life-threatening injuries.
Malik did not speculate on the
identity of the attackers, but said
Pakistan was "in a state of war"
and vowed to "flush out all these
terrorists from this country."
Pakistan has a web of Islamist
militant networks, some with
links to al-Qaida and the Taliban,
which have staged other high-
profile strikes in a bid to destabi-
lize the government and punish
it for its support of the U.S.-led
invasion of Afghanistan.
The convoyctransporting the Sri
Lankan team and cricket officials
was surrounded by police vehicles
at the front, rear and side, but
traveled the same route each day
of the five-day test match against
Pakistan's national team, accord-
ing to Malik. The attack occurred
on the third day of play justbefore
9 a.m.

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