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April 01, 2009 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 - 3A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, April 1, 2009 - 3A

NEWSBRIEFS
* DETROIT
GM, Chrysler race
against time to
avoid bankruptcy
He doesn't know exactly what
the Obama administration wants
himtocut;but Fritz Henderson, the
new CEO of General Motors Corp.,
isn't waiting around to find out.
Cut deeper. Work harder. Move
faster.
That's how he described the
ailing automaker's urgent effort
to meet a June 1 deadline to fix its
debt-ridden balance sheet, cut bil-
lions in costs and take other steps
to transform itself into a profitable
entity.
It's the same government-
imposed race that Chrysler LLC is
running, only GM's smaller neigh-
bor has to cover more distance in
* half the time.
The Auburn Hills, Mich., auto-
maker must make the same cuts as
GM, and sign up Fiat Group SpA as
a partner, all in 30 days. Fiat's CEO
jetted to Detroit for intense negoti-
ations, but if Chrysler doesn't meet
the deadline, it's almost certainly
destined for the auction house.
DETROIT
Detroit schools settle
with former chief
The Detroit Public Schools has
settled a lawsuit with a former
superintendent who claimed he
. was wrongfully fired.
Emergency financial manager
Robert Bobb says in a release that
the district has settled with Wil-
liam Coleman III for an undisclosed
amount. Coleman was replaced in
2007 by former Superintendent
Connie Calloway, now on adminis-
trative leave.
Coleman alleged he was fired
after asking federal authorities to
investigate financial irregularities.
CAMPPENDLETON, Calif.
Trial begins for
Marine involved in
Iraq killings case
A court-martial began yesterday
fns a.R4 Mine accused of killing an
unarmed captive in Iraq in a case
officials knew nothing about until
the defendant sought a Secret Ser-
vice job and was asked about the
most serious crime he had ever
committed.
An attorney for Sgt. Ryan Weem-
er told the jury that prosecutors
cannot prove their case because
they have no body, no forensic evi-
dence and no relatives complain-
ing of alost loved one. Prosecutors,
however, played recorded inter-
views in which Weemer said he
gnd other Marines shot a total of
four Bpen in Fallujah in November
2004 after their squad suffered its
first fatality.
Weemer, 26, of Hindsboro, Ill.,
is accused of the unpremeditated
murder of one man and dereliction
of duty. His former squad leader
was acquitted of related charges
in federal court and another squad

member has yet to face court-mar-
tial.
The case came to light long after
the battle.
COLUMBUS, Ohio.
JIonda offers worker
buyouts, cuts pay in
North America
HondaMotorCo. isofferingvol-
untary buyouts, cutting workers'
pay and imposing 13 non-produc-
tion days at its North American
plants to reduce its output this
summer by 62,000 vehicles.
Honda spokesman Ron Lietzke
said Tuesday that the buyouts will
be offered at most of the Japanese
automaker's facilities in the North
America, where it employs 35,600
people. Sweetened retirement
packages are also being offered,
he said.
Overall compensation will
be reduced for its North Ameri-
can employees, with top execu-
tives experiencing the biggest
cuts, Lietzke said. He would not
say how much salaries would be
reduced.
Bonuses will be greatly reduced
or eliminated, but pay rates for
production and hourly workers
will not be affected, Lietzke said.
"There is a continuing need to
reduce our inventory," Lietzke
said. "Regardless of job title or
level within our organization,
each Honda associate will share
the responsibility of doing what we
must do tq remain competitive."
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

Taliban chief:
Next targets
will be in U.S.

Benjamin Netanyahu, right, struck a conciliatory tone as he took office yesterday, promising to seek a "permanent arrange-
ment" with the Palestinians and "full peace" with the entire Arab and Muslim world.
New IsraelI leader seeks
peace with Arabs, Musli*ms

Netanyahu hesitant to
embrace the idea of
Palestinian statehood
JERUSALEM (AP) - Benjamin
Netanyahu, taking office as Israel's
new leader yesterday, promised to
seek "full peace" with the Arab and
Muslim world, but refused to utter
the words the world was waiting to
hear: "Palestinian state."
The well-spoken, U.S.-educated
hawk took pains to portray himself
as a pragmatist, telling a packed
parliament that Israel does not
want to rule the Palestinians.
"Under the permanent status
agreement, the Palestinians will
have all the authority to rule them-
selves," Netanyahu said in com-
ments that appeared to hark back
to a decades-old notion that peace
could be achieved through limited
Palestinian autonomy.
His words drew a sharp reac-
tion from Palestinian negotiator
Saeb Erekat. "I want to say to Mr.
Netanyahu that the only way the
Palestinians can rule themselves,
by themselves, is through ending
the Israeli occupation that began in
1967 and establishing an indepen-
dent Palestinian state," Erekat said.

Netanyahu's refusal to embrace
the idea of Palestinian statehood
could put him at odds with the
Obama administration and much
of the rest of the world. So could his
decision to appoint ultranational-
ist politician Avigdor Lieberman as
foreign minister.
In recent days, however, Netan-
yahu has moved to soften his image,
welcomingthe centrist Labor party
into an otherwise markedly right-
wing coalition and announcing
that he supports peace talks with
the Palestinians.
The 59-year-old politician - the
son of a prominent historian and
the brother of a war hero who died
commanding the daring 1976 hos-
tage rescue at Entebbe, Uganda -
is returning to the premiership a
decade after being forced from it
amid a string of failures.
In his speech before parliament
Tuesday, Netanyahu praised Islam-
ic culture as "great and rich," and
said Israel and moderate Arab states
could find common ground fighting
radical Islam and what he called the
extremist regime in Tehran.
"Israel has always, and today
more than ever, striven to reach
full peace with the entire Arab and
Muslim world," he said.
A senior Netanyahu aide

appeared to suggest his boss would
accept the much hailed two-state
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict in the next few weeks, per-
haps ahead of a planned trip to the
United States.
The aide, speaking on condition
of anonymity so as not to pre-empt
any announcementsaidNetanyahu
will say something that will "take
this issue off the table" and avoid
confrontation with the world.
If he does, Netanyahu would join
the ranks of hard-line Israeli lead-
ers such as Menachem Begin and
Ariel Sharon, who changed their
minds about giving up land and
ended up making far-reaching con-
cessions.
However, so far there is no indi-
cation that Netanyahu's latest con-
ciliatory statements are anything
more than words designed to curry
favor with the West.
He has not retracted his promise
to press ahead with construction
in West Bank settlements to make
room for settlers' growing families.
And his new government
includes many ministers opposed
to territorial compromise, includ-
ing a housing minister from an
ultra-Orthodox Jewish party that
sees giving up land as a betrayal of
God's will.

Pakistani terrorist
wants revenge for U.S.
missile attacks
ISLAMABAD (AP) - Pakistan's
Taliban chief claimed responsibili-
ty yesterday for a deadly assault on
a police academysayinghe wanted
to retaliate for U.S. missile attacks
on the militant bases on the border
with Afghanistan.
Baitullah Mehsud, who hasa $5
million bounty on his head from
the United States, also vowed to
"amaze everyone in the world"
with an attack on Washington or
even the White House.
The FBI, however, said he had
made similar threats previously
and there was no indication of any-
thing imminent.
Mehsud, who gave a flurry of
media interviews yesterday, has no
record of actually striking targets
abroad although he is suspected
of being behind a 10-man cell
arrested in Barcelona in January
2008 for plottingsuicide attacks in
Spain.
Pakistan's former government
and the CIA consider him the
prime suspect behind the Decem-
ber 2007 killing of former Prime
Minister Benazir Bhutto. And Pak-
istani officials accuse him of har-
boring foreign fighters, including'
Central Asians linked to al-Qaida,
and of training suicide bombers.
But analysts doubt that Taliban
fighters carried off Monday's raid
on the Lahore academy on their
own, saying the group is likely
working more closely than ever
with militants based far from the
Afghan frontier.
It's a constellation that includes

al-Qaida, presenting a formidable
challenge to the U.S. as it increases
its troop presence in the region,
not to mention nuclear-armed
Pakistan's own stability.
Mehsud told The Associated
Press that the academy and other
recent attacks were revenge for
stepped-up American missile
strikes into Pakistan's border bad-
lands.
"Soon we will launch an attack
in Washington that will amaze
everyone in the world," Mehsud
said in a telephone interview with
an Associated Press reporter. He
offered few details, though in a
separate recorded conversation
with local Dewa radio station, he
said the White House was a target.
FBI spokesman Richard Kolko
said the bureau was not aware of
any imminent or specific threat
to the U.S., despite what the Paki-
stani Taliban leader said.
"He has made similar threats to
the U.S. in the past," said Kolko.
State Department spokesman
Gordon Duguid said he had not
seen any reports of Mehsud's com-
ments but that he would "take the
threat under consideration."
The ruthless attack on Lahore's
outskirts Monday left at least
12 people dead, including seven
police, and sparked an eight-hour
standoff with security forces that
ended when black-clad commandos
stormed the compound. Some of
the gunmen blew themselves up.
The siege-style approach using
heavily armed militants came just
weeks after the deadly ambush of
Sri Lanka's visiting cricket team in
the heart of Lahore. Both attacks
were reminiscent of November's
siege of Mumbai, India - also
blamed on Pakistani militants.

Pistachio recall
could change
safety standards

HHS nominee admits error,
pays $7,000 in back taxes

Sebelius the latest
of many Obama
appointees with
unpaid taxes
WASHINGTON (AP) - Health
and Human Services nominee
Kathleen Sebelius recently cor-
rected three years of tax returns
and paid more than $7,000 in
back taxes after finding "unin-
tentional errors" - the latest tax
troubles for an Obama adminis-
tration nominee.
The Kansas governor explained
the changes to senators in a letter
dated yesterday, that the admin-
istration released. She said they
involved charitable contributions,
the sale of a home and business
expenses.
Sebeliussaidshe filed the amend-
ed returns as soon as the errors
were discovered by an accountant
she hired to scrub her taxes in
preparation for her confirmation
hearings. She and her husband,
Gary, a federal magistrate judge
in Kansas, paid a total of $7,040 in
back taxes and $878 in interest to

amend returns from 2005-2007.
Several Obama administra-
tion nominees have run into tax
troubles, notably the president's
first nominee for HHS secretary,
former Senate Democratic leader
Tom Daschle. He withdrew from
consideration while apologizing
for failing to pay $140,000 in taxes
and interest.
Finance Committee Chairman
Max Baucus, D-Mont., quickly
issued a statement supporting
Sebelius.
"Congress is going to need a
strong partner at the Department
of Health and Human Services
to achieve comprehensive health
reform this year, and we have that
partner in Gov. Sebelius," Baucus
said. "There is absolutely no doubt
in my mind that Gov. Sebelius has
the political experience, determi-
nation, and bipartisan work ethic
to get the job done with Congress
this year. She's the right person for
the job."
There was no comment from the
White House.
Sebelius is to appear Thursday
before Baucus' committee, which
will vote on sending her nomina-
tion to the full Senate. Sebelius

testified Tuesday before the Sen-
ate's Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions Committee before the
tax issue became public, getting a
friendly reception.
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa,
the top Republican on the Finance
Committee, said through a spokes-
woman that he is reserving judg-
ment until the vetting process,
including the nomination hearing,
is completed.
InherlettertoBaucusandGrass-
ley, Sebelius wrote that the accoun-
tant discovered these errors:
-Charitable contributions over
$250 are supposed to include an
acknowledgment letter from the
charity in order for a deduction
to be taken. Out of 49 charitable
contributions made, three letters
couldn't be found.
-Sebelius and her husband took
deductions for mortgage interest
that they weren't entitled to. The
couple sold their home in 2006
for less than what they owed on
the mortgage. They continued to
make payments on the mortgage,
including interest. But since they
no longer owned the home they
weren't entitled to take deductions
for the interest.

Officials sayit could
take weeks to find all
tainted products
TERRA BELLA, Calif. (AP) -
It could take weeks before health
officials know exactly which pis-
tachio products may be tainted
with salmonella, but they've
already issued a sweeping warn-
ing to avoid eating the nuts or
foods containing them.
The move appears to indicate
a shift in how the government
handles food safety issues - from
waiting until contaminated foods
surface one-by-one and risking
that more people fall ill to jump-
ing on the problem right away,
even if the message is vague.
Officials wouldn't say if the
approach was in response to any
perceived mishandling of the
massive peanut recall that started
last year, only that they're trying
to keep people from getting sick
as new details surface about the
California plant at the center of
the pistachio scare.
"What's different here is that
we are being very proactive and
are putting out a broad message
withthegoal oftryingtominimize
the likelihood of consumer expo-
sure," said Dr. David Acheson,
FDA's assistant commissioner
for food safety. "The only logical

advice to consumers is to say 'OK
consumers, put pistachios on hold
while we work this out. We don't
want you exposed, we don't want
you getting salmonella."'
Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the pres-
ident's new acting commissioner
who started Monday, made it
clear staff needed to move quick-
ly, Acheson said.
The agency announced Mon-
day that Setton Pistachio of
Terra Bella Inc., the second-
largest pistachio processor in
the nation, recalled more than
2 million pounds of its roasted
pistachios.
Suspect nuts were shipped as
far away as Norway and Mexico,
Acheson said yesterday. One week
after authorities first learned of
the problem, they still had little
idea what products were at risk,
he said.
As federal health inspectors
take swabs inside the plant to try
to identify a salmonella source,
a whole range of products from
nut bars to ice cream and cake
mixes remain in limbo on grocery
shelves.
Company officials said yester-
day they suspected their roasted
pistachios may have been contam-
inated by salmonella-tainted raw
nuts they were processed with at
the hulking facility.
Roasting is supposed to kill the
bacteria in nuts.

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