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January 12, 2009 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-01-12

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, January 12, 2009 - 3A

NEWS BRIEFS
WASHINGTON
Senate Democrats
pass wilderness
protection bill
In a rare session yesterday, the
Senate advanced legislation that
would set aside more than 2 million
acres in nine states as wilderness.
Majority Democrats assembled
more than enough votes to over-
come GOP stalling tactics in an early
showdown for the new Congress.
Republicans complained that
Democrats did not allow amend-
ments on the massive bill, which
calls for the largest expansion of
wilderness protection in 25 years.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid, D-Nev., and other Democrats
said the bill - a holdover from last
year - was carefully written and
included measures sponsored by
both Republicans and Democrats.
By a 66-12 vote, with only 59
needed to limit debate, lawmakers
agreed to clear away procedural
hurdles despite partisan wrangling
that had threatened pledges by
leaders to work cooperatively as the
new Obama administration takes
office. Senate approval is expected
later this week. Supporters hope
the House will follow suit.
KARACHI, Pakistan.
Anti-Israel protest
repelled with tear
gas and batons
Security forcesused tear gas and
batons to repel anti-Israel protest-
ers who tried to attack a U.S. con-
sulate in Pakistan yesterday, as tens
of thousands in Europe, the Middle
East and Asia demonstrated against
Israel's offensive in Gaza.
A protestintheBelgiancapitalthat
drew 30,000 turned violent as well,
with demonstrators overturning cars
and smashing shop windows. And in
Manila, Philippines, policemen used
shields to disperse students protest-
ing outside the U.S. Embassy.
Israel launched its campaign in
Gaza on Dec. 27 to stop rocket fire
from the militant Palestinian group
Hamas. Gaza health officials say
nearly 870 Palestinians have been
killed, roughly half of them civilians.
Thirteen Israelis have also died.
Some 2,000 protesters in the
Pakistani port city of Karachi
burned U.S. flags and chanted
anti-Israel slogans, and several
hundred of them marched on the
U.S. Consulate, senior police offi-
cial Ameer Sheikh said.
PAREPARE, Indonesia.
Storm sinks
Indonesian ferry,
250 feared dead
Rocky seas hindered rescuers
today as they searched for nearly
250 people missing and feared dead
after a ferry capsized off Indone-
sia's Sulawesi island.
About 250 passengers and 17
crew were believed to have been
aboard the 700-ton Teratai Prima
when it sank Sunday morning as
it traveled from the western port

of Parepare to Samarinda on the
Indonesianhalf of Borneo island.
At least 22 people, including four
crew members, were rescued from
the sea by fishermen Sunday before
the military launched an operation
at daybreak Monday. Indonesians
generally don't know how to swim,
and the others on board were
feared dead.
COLUMBUS, Ohio.
Storm blankets
p snow across New
England, Midwest
A weekend winter storm blan-
keted parts of the Midwest and
Northeast with up to a foot of snow,
causing a 59-vehicle pileup and at
least four traffic fatalities.
In New Hampshire, three buses
*nd two tractor-trailer rigs were
among 59 vehicles that crashed
on snowy Interstate 93, sending a
dozen people to hospitals Sunday
morning and temporarily shutting
down a stretch of the highway's
northbound lanes.
None of the injuries were life
threatening, but it took emergency
crews about an hour to remove one
man from a car wedged under the
back of a tractor trailer, Derry Fire
Battalion Chief Jack Webb said.
A car that slid on ice caused a
33-car pileup yesterday afternoon
near Greenwich, Conn., sending
two people to the hospital and clos-
ing the northbound side of Inter-
state 95 for two hours.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

Big Three push
for new image

(SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/AP)
Israeli soldiers stand near a tank yesterday at a staging area near Israel's border with Gaza before a combat mission.
Isr aeli forces advance deep
into urban areas inGaza

Israeli navy fires
more than 25 shells
at Gaza City
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP)
- Israeli ground forces made
their deepest foray yet yesterday
into Gaza's most populated area,
with tanks rolling into residential
neighborhoods and infantry fight-
ing urban warfare in streets and
buildings with Hamas militants
who kept up their rocketing of
southern Israel.
An Israeli army spokeswoman
said residential neighborhoods in
Gaza are riddled with homemade
bombs and booby traps, including
mannequins placed at apartment
entrances to simulate militants
and rigged to explode if soldiers
approach.
The army "is advancing more
into urban areas," said the spokes-
woman, Maj. Avital Leibovich.
"Since the majority of the Hamas
militants are pretty much in hid-
ing in those places, mainly urban
places, then we operate in those
areas."
Late yesterday, dense plumes
of smoke from explosions rose
over Gaza City and heavy gunfire
was heard just south of the city.
Early today, Israeli navy gun-
boats fired more than 25 shells
at Gaza City, setting fires and
shaking office buildings, includ-
ing the local bureau of The Asso-
ciated Press. The military said
that in general, the targets are
Hamas installations but had no
immediate information about
the shelling that began just after
midnight.
Gaza medical officials say at
least 870 Palestinians, about half
of them civilians, have been killed
in the conflict that began Dec. 27
with Israeli airstrikes on Hamas
buildings, as well as suspected

rocket launch sites and smuggling
tunnels on the Egyptian border.
Thirteen Israelis, including 10 sol-
diers, have died.
German and British envoys
pressed efforts to negotiate an
end to the war even though Israel
and Hamas have ignored a U.N.
Security Council resolution call-
ing for an immediate and durable
cease-fire.
Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert said Israel had made prog-
ress in its objectives in the Gaza
offensive but was not finished yet.
"Israel is nearing the goals
that it set for itself," Olmert said.
"However, further patience, deter-
mination and effort are necessary
in order to achieve those goals in a
way that will change the security
reality in the south."
While Olmert's comment sig-
naled no immediate end to the
offensive, it indicated that Israel
is wary of an open-ended con-
flict with an unclear agenda.
Israel wants to end years of rocket
attacks by Hamas on its south-
ern population, a complex goal
that could require Egyptian or
international help in shutting off
routes to smuggle weapons into
Gaza from Egypt. Israel has been
bombing tunnels that run under
the Egypt-Gaza border.
In ane-mail message early Mon-
day, Hamas leader Ismail Radwan
said his group would not consider
a cease-fire before Israel stops its
attacks and pulls back from Gaza.
He also demanded the opening of
all border crossings, emphasizing
the Rafah crossing with Egypt.
That would relieve economic
pressure on the destitute terri-
tory but also strengthen Hamas'
control of Gaza, an odious pros-
pect for Israelis who fear a halt
to the fighting will just give
Hamas another opportunity to
re-arm. .t
In Cairo, Egypt's state-owned

news agency reported progress in
truce talks with Hamas, but pro-
vidednospecifics.TheMiddleEast
News Agency quoted an unnamed
Egyptian official as saying talks
between the nation's intelligence
chief, Omar Suleiman, and Hamas
envoys were "positive."
Palestinian medical officials
reported about 60 deaths on Sun-
day, including 17 who had died of
wounds suffered on previous days.
Most of those killed Sunday were
noncombatants, medical officials
said, including four members of
one family killed when a tank shell
hit their home near Gaza City, and
a 10-year-old girl killed in a simi-
lar attack.
Palestinian witnesses said
Israeli troops moved to within
half a mile of Gaza City's south-
ern neighborhoods, and within
a quarter mile of the northern
neighborhood of Sheikh Ajleen.
Firefights in Sheikh Ajleen
erupted before dawn as Israeli
forces advanced toward Gaza City,
home to 400,000 people, Pales-
tinian witnesses said. The battles
were still in progress nearly a full
day later, though tanks pulled
back, with the Israelis in control
of some buildings on the neigh-
borhood's outskirts.
"We are safe, but we don't know
m for how long," said Khamis Alawi,
44, who huddled with his wife and
six children in their kitchen over-
night. He said bullets riddled his
walls and several came in through
the windows.
Military analysts say Israeli
troops are probing territory, clear-
ing buildings and moving around
regularly, rather than digging into
positions that would allow Hamas
militants to get a fix on their
whereabouts and lay ambushes.
Israel risks losing the advantage
of armor and heavy firepower in
urban settings that the militants
know well.

GM highlights 17
new vehicles in auto
show pep rally
DETROIT (AP) - We're dif-
ferent, and our new stuff is really
good. In a nutshell, that's what
General.Motors, Ford and Chrysler
tried to tell consumers - and tax-
payers - yesterday as they rolled
out an array of new vehicles at the
North American International
Auto Show.
They told their stories in differ-
ent ways, with Chrysler LLC mak-
ing its senior executives available
to assure people that it remains a
viable company. General Motors
Corp. held a pep rally with hun-
dreds of cheering employees and
supporters who watched a parade
of 17 new and upcoming vehicles.
Ford Motor Co. emphasized its
plans for electric vehicles, joining
the list of automakers that have
promised one next year.
The fanfare, on opening day of
the Detroit show's press preview,
comes after a year of dismal sales
that forced GM and Chrysler to get
$17.4 billion in federal loans to stay
alive. Ford doesn't need money
now but says it might in 2010 if
U.S. sales don't improve.
But industry analysts say the
automakers could still be in trou-
ble thisryear if U.S. auto sales don't
recover. Several are predicting
annual sales of around 10.5 mil-
lion - almost 6 million below 2007
levels - as consumers delay major
purchases due to economic uncer-
tainty. In the third quarter of last
year, GM and Ford each spent
more than $1 billion per month
above their income.
Yesterday, the U.S.-based auto-
makers touted new products with
a focus on fuel efficiency that they
say will help return them to finan-
cial health and ensure that their
cars and trucks will roll off assem-
bly lines for years to come.
GM said it would build a
40-mile-per-gallon minicar for
the U.S. market, and it unveiled
an electric-powered Cadillac
concept car.
Ford announced plans to put a
battery-powered commercial van
on the market in 2010, with an
electric car coming a year later,
followed by plug-in versions of
its gas-electric hybrid vehicles in
2012.

Chrysler showed off a sleek new
midsize electric concept car called
the 200C, and one of its executives
said it could be the inspiration for
a new midsize car to compete with
Toyota's top-selling Camry.
Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli
told reporters that while its key
new products won't show up in
dealer showrooms until next
year, the Auburn Hills automak-
er expects to survive 2009 and
remain an independent company.
Yet many analysts say that
because of Chrysler's 30 percent
sales drop last year and 53 percent
decline in December, and a model
Lineup that doesn't change signifi-
cantly this year, the company will
be forced to sell itself to another
automaker or be sold off in pieces
by majority owner Cerberus Capi-
tal Management LP, a New York
private equity firm.
Chrysler Vice Chairman Jim
Press said dealers are report-
ing they are losing 25 percent of
sales in showrooms due to a lack
of available credit, and says sales
will improve if credit loosens. He
also said the December sales drop
was due to an intentional cut in
low-profit sales to rental car com-
panies and other fleet buyers.
Nardelli said the company came
out with the new Dodge Ram
pickup, Journey crossover and
Challenger sports car in 2008, all
excellent products that should sell
in abetter economic environment.
GM CEO Rick Wagonersaid his
company's restructuring plans
submitted to Congress, which
include concessions from the
United Auto Workers union and
other cost cuts, combined with
GM's lineup of new products,
will make the company prosper
when the worldwide auto market
recovers.
"We'll be in a position to run
the business at break-even or prof-
itable at a much, much smaller
industry than frankly a year ago
that we ever felt would be possible
to deal with," Wagoner said.
The new vehicles GM intro-
duced Sunday included the Chev-
rolet Spark subcompact, which
was called the Beat when GM
unveiled it as a concept car: in
2007. The three-door hatchback
with a 1.2-liter turbocharged
engine is about the size of a Honda
fit or Toyota Yaris and is set to go
on sale in Europe next year and in
the U.S. in 2011.

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E-mail graca@michigandaily.com for
more information.

Senate Democrats respond to
request for unspent $350B

Bush, Obama team
up to obtain unused
bailout funds
WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen-
ate Democrats prepared yester-
day to answer a request for the
remaining $350 billion in financial
industry bailout funds as the Bush
administration and President-
elect Obama undertook atag-team
effort to obtain the money from
reluctant lawmakers.
A vote in Congress is likely as
early as this week, several sena-
tors predicted after receiving a
rare briefing yesterday from top
Obama economic adviser Larry
Summers on the Wall Street bail-
out, as well as on Obama's sepa-
rate $800 billion-or-so economic
recovery plan.
President Bush would request
the additional money for the
Troubled Asset Relief Program, or
TARP, but the incoming adminis-
tration would make the case for it
by laying out a series of changes
in how the program is run. More
of the money would go directly
to relieve homeowners threat-
ened with foreclosure, said Senate
Banking Committee Chairman
Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. A full-
er accounting of the money already
spent is needed as well, Dodd said.
"Larry Summers made a very
strong argument for why it's
important and critical for the
overall recovery," said Sen. John
Kerry, D-Mass. "And I think that's
an argument that most senators
understand."

Summers sought to win over
Senate Democrats even as the
GOP leader of the House, John
Boehner of Ohio, warned that any
effort to release the additional
money would "be a pretty tough
sell." Boehner appeared on CBS'
"Face The Nation."
A request would force a vote
within days on whether to block
the funding, but the deck is stacked'
in favor of Bush and Obama win-
ning release of the remaining $350
billion. Congress can pass a reso-
lution disapproving the request,
but the White House could veto
the resolution; then, just one-
third of either chamber would be
needed to uphold the veto and win
release of the money. Senate lead-
ers would prefer to win a majority
vote, Dodd said.
The idea is to make the money
available to the new administra-
tion shortly after Obama takes
office Jan. 20. The unpopular bail-
out has featured unconditional
infusions of money into financial
institutions that have done little to
reveal what they've done with it.
Treasury Secretary Henry
Paulson originally promised the
money would be used to buy up
toxic mortgage-related securities
whose falling values have clogged
up credit markets and brought
many financial institutions to the
brink of failure.
Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid indicated Sunday that Bush
and Obama officials are near
agreement on submitting notice to
Congress about using the remain-
ing $350 billion.
"We're waiting to hear from

President Bush and or President-
elect Obama as to what, if any-
thing, they're going to do," said
Reid, D-Nev., "and that's occur-
ring as we speak."
"The likelihood is that we'll
have some kind of vote on that
somewhere in the course of the
week," Kerry said.
But to prevail, Obama and his
team must soothe senators who
feel burned by the way the Bush
administration has used the
TARP.
"The (incoming) administra-
tion ... is going to fundamentally
alter how this is being managed,"
Dodd said. "The concept is still very
sound andsolid and it is needed. But
it's not going to pass around here
unless there's a strong commitment
to foreclosure mitigation."
Dodd said lawmakers were
demanding other conditions, such
as more concrete steps to limit
executive compensation and make
recipients of the funds be more
accountable.
The Congressional Oversight
Panel raised detailed questions
last week about how banks are
spending the first $350 billion,
how the money will combat the
rising tide of home foreclosures
and Treasury's overall strategy
for the rescue. In instance after
instance, the panel said, the Trea-
sury Department did not offer
adequate responses.
In an interview aired Sunday on
ABC's "This Week," Obama said
he has asked his economic team
to develop a set of principles to
ensure more openness about how
the money is spent.

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