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March 05, 2009 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-05

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The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Thursday, March 5, 2009 - 3A

Stimulus boosts
Mich. water plants,
National Guard
Michigan communities are get-
ting federal stimulus cash to update
Army National Guard facilities,
improve water and sewer systems
and boost public housing.
Projects announced yester-
day include $7.85 million to make
upgrades at Camp Grayling, Fort
Custer in Augusta and a reserve
forces support center in Lansing.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm also
said some communities that sub-
mitted proposals for drinking
water and sewer system upgrades
last spring and summer will be
among the first eligihle for stimu-
lus caslf.
The stimulus package could pro-
vide $168.5 million for sewer proj-
ects and $67.5 million for drinking
water upgrades this year.
Projects in Benton Harbor, Big
Rapids, Detroit, Lansing, Niles,
Port Huron, Macomb County and
Washtenaw County are among
those likely to be funded first.
Senate Democrats
preserve pet projects
Senate Democrats yesterday
preserved pet projects sought by a
lobbying firm under federal inves-
tigation and tried to nail down
support for big domestic spend-
ing increases in hopes of passing
a wrap-up budget bill by week's
Democrats defeated, by a 52-43
vote, an amendment to strip 13
projects that the PMA Group has
pressed for. The firm, now dis-
banded, is accused of illegally using
straw donors to filnnel campaign
cash to lawmakers.
At the same time, Democrats
sought a few GOP votes for the
$410 billion bill after two Demo-
crats came out against it over the
cost and two more threatened to
withhold support over changes in
U.S. policy toward Cuba.
Democrats and their allies con-
trol 58 seats in the Senate, but 60
votes will be needed to close debate
and free the measure so President
Barack Obama can sign it. Demo-
crats probably will need votes from
perhaps five or six Republicans if
the measure is to pass Thursday
night or Friday.
Ford to cut $10B
in debt with cash,
equity offer
Ford Motor Co. took another
step yesterday to stay cost-com-
petitive with government-financed
automakers General Motors
and Chrysler when it offered to
exchange up to 40 percent of its
debt for cash and stock.
The company and its financial
arm are putting up $2.2 billion in
cash to entice holders of $10.4 bil-
lion in convertible notes, other
unsecured debt and secured term

debt to take the offer. The company
said reducing the debt will cut the
amount it pays in interest and put it
in better position to compete with
General Motors Corp. and Chrysler
"This is all part of a restruc-
turing plan to make the company
healthier in the end," said Ford
spokesman Mark Truby. f

Sudanese president faces charges

Omar al-Bashir
indicted for war
crimes and crimes
against humanity
THE HAGUE, Netherlands
(AP) - The president of Sudan
became a wanted man yesterday
when the International Crimi-
nal Court charged him with
war crimes and crimes against
humanity in Darfur - its first
action against a sitting head of
state and one that could set the
stage for more world leaders to
be indicted.

President Omar al-Bashir's gov-
ernment retaliated by expelling 10
humanitarian groups from Darfur
and seizing their assets, threaten-
ing lifesaving operations, a U.N.
spokeswoman said.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambas-
sador to the United Nations, said
the United States supported the
court's action "to hold account-
able those who are responsible for
the heinous crimes in Darfur." Up
to 300,000 people have died and
2.7 million have fled their homes
in the region.
U.N. officials in Sudan will
continue to deal with al-Bashir
because he remains the president
of the country, U.N. spokeswom-

an Michele Montas said in New
Inthe Sudanese capital of Khar-
toum, the government denounced
the warrant as part of a Western
conspiracy aimed at destabilizing
the vast oil-rich nation south of
Egypt. "There will be no recogni-
tion of or dealing with the white
man's court, which has no man-
date in Sudan or against any of its
people," the Information Ministry
Several thousand people wav-
ing pictures of al-Bashir and
denouncing the court turned
out in a rally in Khartoum. Some
waved posters of chief prosecutor
Luis Morena Ocampo's face with

pig ears superimposed to chants
of, "Cowardly pig, you will not get
to the Sudan."
Al-Bashir, who denies the accu-
sations, drove through the capital
after the warrant was announced,
waving at crowds. Security was
tightened at many embassies, and
some diplomats and aid workers
stayed home amid fears of retali-
ation against Westerners.
The decision by the court lays
the groundwork for potential
indictments of otherheads of state
who have been mentioned as pos-
sible targets of war crimes investi-
gations, including leaders of other
African nations and Israel.
"Head of state immunity no lon-

ger is a bar to prosecuting heads of
state who commit war crimes and
crimes against humanity during
their time in office," said David
Crane, an international law pro-
fessor at Syracuse University.and
former prosecutor of the Sierra
Leone tribunal that indicted Libe-
rian President Charles Taylor and
put him on trial in The Hague.
Slobodan Milosevic was indicted
while still president of Yugoslavia
in 1999 by the tribunal for the for-
mer Yugoslavia.
Both Milosevic and Taylor were
indicted by temporary courts.
yesterday's ruling is significant
because the International Crimi-
nal Court is permanent.

Detroit mayor vetoes city Rove, Miers to testify

council's vote on Cobo

in prosecutor tirings

Cockrel confident he
has the authority to
veto council's vote
DETROIT (AP) - Mayor Ken
Cockrel Jr. yesterday followed
through on his promise to veto
the Detroit City Council's 5-3 vote
shooting down a deal to turn Cobo
Center over to a regional authority.
Flanked by about two dozen
members of local unions, Cockrel
said he is confident Detroit's city
charter gives him the authority to
veto the council's action.
"I believe we're on solid legal
ground and I took this action today
with that understanding," he said
yesterday afternoon inside the
downtown convention center.
Council President Monica Cony-
ers has vowed to take the matter
to court if there is a veto. She says
the city would not get an adequate
return on its investment in Cobo
under the plan.
Conyers told reporters during
a late afternoon news conference
that the Council would review its
options, but "we don't need to over-
ride, because he doesn't have the
authority to veto it."
"Ifhe wants acourtbattle, I guess
we'll have a court battle."
Six of nine votes normally would
be needed' to override a mayoral
veto,but the councilis downto eight
members with Cockrel's ascension
in Septemberto mayor.
Cockrel said a two-thirds vote

Former Bush aides
agree to testify
about the firings of
U.S. attorneys
top Bush aides Karl Rove and Har-
riet Miers agreed yesterday to tes-
tify before Congress under oath
about the firings of U.S. attorneys,
a controversy involving allega-
tions of political interference that
grew into a constitutional stand-
off between two branches of gov-
The Bush White House had
fought attempts to force Rove
and Miers to testify, and the
agreement - steered by aides to
President Barack Obama - ended
that dispute. Both the White
House and lawmakers, especially
now that Democrat ObamA has
replaced Republican George W.
Bush - were leery of having a
judge settle the question about
the limits of executive privilege,
for fear of losing.
The agreement calls for Rove
and Miers, Bush's top political
adviser and White House counsel,
to be interviewed by the House
Judiciary Committee in closed
depositions "under the penalty

for perjury," said House Judiciary
Committee Chairman John Cony-
ers, D-Mich. The committee says
it also might call the two for public
The arrangement ends a law-
suit over whether former White
House aides couldbe forced to tes-
tify about matters on which they
advised the president. Bush had
ordered Wove and Miers not to tes-
tify in the U.S. attorneys investiga-
tion, and the Judiciary Committee
sued a year ago.
Last July, U.S. District Judge
John Bates rejected Bush's con-
tention that senior White House
advisers were immune from the
committee's subpoenas, siding
with Congress' power to inves-
tigate the executive branch. The
Bush administration had appealed
the decision.
Until this dispute, Congress had
never gone to court to demand the
testimony of White House aides.
Bates had suggested that the two
sides settle to avoid a ruling that
would be binding of future presi-
dents and members of Congress.
Justice Department officials
said the committee and the Obama
administration would make i joint
filing to the court asking the judge
to stay the lawsuit over the issue.
If the agreement is breached, the'
case could be revived.

Flanked by about two dozen members of local unions, Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel
Jr., addresses members of the media yesterday in Detroit.

still is required by council to over-
ride his veto.
It's not clear if any action will be
taken by the council at next Tues-
day's formal session, but for a city
facing a budget deficit that could
approach $300 million justify-
ing a costly court fight could be
cil Wednesday of the veto, Cock-

rel wrote that the body's own fiscal
analyst issued a report that said the
transfer to an authority would save
Detroit up to $500 million over the
next six years.


Being Black and Poor in the Inner City
William Julius Wilson, the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser
University Professor at Harvard University
Friday, March 6,;2009
4:00-5:30 PM
Rackham Auditorium, 915 E Washington, Ann Arbor, MI
Free lecture with refreshments provided.
Nicola's Books will be selling copies of
Wilson's new book before and after the lecture.
7' IntedsiliaryGoup on P'overl' and nequaliy
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Police
Hrc aktmSho fra l Slde rinterdisciplinar),Workshops



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Family refuses to
give up search for
missing NFL players
Family and friends refused to
give up the search for two NFL
players and a third man missing
four days in the Gulf of Mexico,
enlisting private boats and planes
to comb the waters off the Florida
The Coast Guard called off the
official search Tuesday for Oak-
land Raiders linebacker Marquis 9 3 1
Cooper, free-agent NFL defen-
sive lineman Corey Smith, who 9
played for the Detroit Lions last
season, and former South Flori-
da player William Bleakley. The
friends have been missing since
their boat overturned Saturday in
rough seas.
Authorities were done, but about 8
a dozen charter hoats motored out
yesterday, some with friends of the 2
families aboard, to try to locate
some signs of the men, according 5 4
to dock workers at John's Pass near
St. Petersburg.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

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