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April 09, 2009 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, April 9, 2009 - 3A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, April 9, 2009 - 3A

NEWS BRIEFS
LANSING
" Hike on beer tax
would help support
welfare programs
A state-appointed task force
will recommend improvements
to Michigan's child welfare sys-
tem, including a way to raise more
money for abuse and neglect pre-
vention programs through a higher
beer tax.
The upcoming Michigan Child
Welfare Improvement Task Force
report was discussed yesterday by
state Department of Human Ser-
vices officials. A final report could
be out as early as next week.
The task force suggests improv-
ing prevention and family support
programs so fewer children get
placed in foster care or other pro-
grams outside of their homes. The
final report is expected to recom-
mend raising the beer tax and
putting the money into those pro-
grams.
The current Michigan beer
tax equals roughly 2 cents for a
12-ounce beer.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich
Meijer pulls pet toys
found to be infested
with worms
Midwestern retailer Meijer
has pulled a pet toy from its store
shelves after a customer said she
bought one that was infested with
worms.
Debbie Fitzgerald of New Era
says she bought a "Save My Plan-
et" pet toy in the shape of a ferret
at a Meijer store in Norton Shores,
just south of Muskegon.
She says she discovered the
worms when she got home.
Meijer Inc. officials told Grand
Rapids TV stations WZZM and
WOOD the item has been re-
moved from all of the retailer's
nearly 200 stores in Illinois, In-
diana, Kentucky, Michigan and
Ohio.
Meijer is based in Grand Rap-
ids. Telephone messages seeking
comment were left yesterday at
the company.
WASHINGTON
U.S to attend group
talk with Iran on
nuclear weapons
The Obama administration
said Wednesday it will participate
directly in group talks with Iran
over its suspect nuclear program,
another significant shift from
President George W. Bush's policy
toward a nation he labeled part of
an axis of evil.
The State Department said
the United States would be at the
table "from now on" when senior
diplomats from the five perma-
nent members of the U.N. Security
Council and Germany meet with
Iranian officials to discuss the
nuclear issue. The Bush adminis-
tration had generally shunned such
meetings, although it attended one
last year.

"We believe that pursuing very
careful engagement on a range
of issues that affect our interests
and the interests of the world with
Iran makes sense," Secretary of
State Hillary Rodham Clinton told
reporters. "There is nothing more
* important than trying to convince
Iran to cease its efforts to obtain a
nuclear weapon."
WASHINGTON
Fed's action driven
byfears ofanew
recession low
The Federal Reserve's deci-
sion last month to plow $1.2 tril-
lion into the economy reflected
growing concerns about a vicious
economic cycle in which rising
unemployment will curtail con-
sumer spending, potentially into
2010.
Documents released yesterday
provided insights into the Fed's
decision to revive the economy
by buying long-term government
debt and boosting purchases of
mortgage-backed securities from
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Projections for economic activity
in the second half of 2009 and in
2010 "were revised down" by the
Fed's staff, who did not provide
updated forecasts.
"Most participants viewed
downside risks as predominating
in the near term," according to
minutes of the Fed's closed-door
meeting on March 17-18.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

Crew retakes
ship captured
by pirates
Unarmed was following the situation close-
ly, foreign policy adviser Denis
Americans take McDonough said.
The Maersk Alabama was the
back control from sixth vessel seized by Somalia
pirates in a week. Pirates have
Somaiians staged 66 attacks since January,
and they are still holding 14 ships
NAIROBI, Kenya (AF) - In and 260 crew members as hoscag-
a riveting high-seas drama, an es, according to the International
unarmed American crew wrested Maritime Bureau, a watchdog
control of their U.S-flagged cargo group based in Kuala Lumpur.
ship from Somali pirates yesterday Somalia'sl1,900-mile (3,057-kilo-
and sent them fleeing to a lifeboat meter) long coastline borders one of
with the captain as hostage. the world's busiest shipping lanes
A U.S. warship and at least six and offers a perfect haven to the
others were speeding toward the heavily armed pirate gangs. They
ship as crew members negotiated often dress in military fatigues
with the pirates for the return of and use GPS systems and satellite
the captain, phones to coordinate attacks from
Details of the day's events small, fast speedboacs resupplied
emerged sporadically as members by a larger "mother ship".
of the crew were reached by satel- The pirates usually use rocket
lite phone, providing a glimpse of propelled grenades, anti-tank rock-
the maneuvering. et launchers and automatic weap-
A sailor who spoke to The ons to capture large, slow-moving
Associated Press said the entire vessels like the U.S.-flagged 17,000-
20-member crew had been taken con Maersk Alabama, which was
hostage but managed to seize one carrying food aid from USAID and
pirate and then successfully nego- ,other agenciesto help malnourished
tiate their own release. The man people in Uganda and Somalia.
did not identify himself duringcthe According to reports from the
brief conversation. crew, the pirates sank their boat
The crisis played out hundreds when they boarded the ship and
of miles off the coast of Somalia the captain talked them into get-
- one of the most lawless nations ing off the vessel using one of its
on earth. President Barack Obama lifeboats.
U.. ournalist
charged ashsp

Rob Simmons, who will challenge Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., for his Senate seat, talks to the Associated Press during an
interview irr Washington last week. Two years after losing his House seat by just 83 votes to Dodd, a feisty Simmons is back
in Washington taking aim at Dodd amid the financial tumult.
Simmons blasts Dodd
at Capitol Hill lu

Representative from
Connecticut angry
over senator's ties to
Wall Street
WASHINGTON (AP) - The
staid Capitol Hill Club dining
room was quiet. Except for Rob
Simmons.
Perched at a table at the popu-
lar Republican hangout blocks
from the Capitol, Simmons waved
a sheaf of newspaper clippings
about Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.,
and his cozy Wall Street fundrais-
ing ties, his role in the economic
crisis and the billions of taxpayer
dollars spent to bail out banks.
"That's why the people are out
with the pitchforks," Simmons
said loudly, jabbing the air with a
finger. "People are upset."
When his raised voice turned a
few heads at nearby tables, Sim-
mons caughthimselfandshrugged
apologetically.
"I get a little excited," Simmons
said, chuckling.
"What I see is a sweetheart
deal, a sweetheart relationship
between the chairman of the Sen-

ate Banking Committee and the
people he oversees."
Two years after losing his
House seat by just 83 votes, a feisty
Simmons is back in Washington
and taking aim at Dodd amid the
financial tumult. Dodd's re-elec-
tion promises to be a marquee
race next year, and taking down a
major Democrat like Dodd could
be a coup for the Republicans.
Dodd, a five-term incumbent,
has soured many voters and found
himself vulnerable for several rea-
sons: his role in writinga bill that
protected bonuses for executives
at bailed-out insurer American
International Group Inc; his ini-
tial refusal to release documents
about his two controversial mort-
gages with Countrywide Finan-
cial Corp.; and his financing of a
vacation cottage in Ireland.
"I'm going to do my job," Dodd
has said. "Politics will take care of
itself, one way or the other in the
final analysis. And I'll either once
again earn the respect and confi-
dence of the people of this state, or
I won't."
Simmons bucks the trend in a
congressional climate flush with
lawyers and other buttoned-down
business types. The lanky former

three-term GOP congressman is
an ex-spy with a quirky, self-effac-
ing side. As a photographer in the
club clicks away, Simmons jok-
ingly asks if there's a way to add
"a little more hair" and make his
ears look thinner in the pictures.
Simmons, 66, pounced when
polls showed Dodd, 64, could be
vulnerable. Simmons believes he
faces an uphill fight against Dodd,
despite a recent Quinnipiac Uni-
versity poll that showed the sena-
tor's popularity at 33 percent, a
career low. Simmons is bracing
for a primary fight as well against
state Sen. Sam Caligiuri.
"Simmons is a goofy, awkward
guy who comes across as being
affable enough," said Roy Occhi-
ogrosso, a veteran Democratic
strategist and Dodd supporter.
But, Occhiogrosso said, Simmons'
aw-shucks personality belies the
hardball campaigning that tended
to surface in the closing days of his
congressional races.
Occhiogrosso noted there
were mailings and recorded tele-
phone messages to voters making
"ridiculous" charges against Sim-
mons' foes, but Simmons "would
disavow any knowledge of it or
refuse to talk about it."

Woman jailed in
Iran for two months
seeks quick release
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - An
American journalist jailed for
more than two months in Iran
has been charged with spying for
the U.S., a judge said yesterday,
dashing hopes of a quick release
days after her parents arrived
in the country seeking her free-
dom.
The espionage charge is far
more serious than earlier state-
ments by Iranian officials that
the woman had been arrested for
working in the Islamic Republic
without press credentials and her
own assertion in a phone call to
her father that she was arrested
after buying a bottle of wine.
Roxana Saberi, who grew up
in Fargo, North Dakota, and is
a dual citizen of the U.S. and

Iran, has been living in Iran for
six years. She has reported from
there for several news organiza-
tions, including National Public
Radio and the British Broadcast-
ing Corp.
Aninvestigative judge involved
in the case told state TV that
Saberi was passing classified
information to U.S. intelligence
services.
"Under the cover of a journal-
ist, she visited government build-
ings, established contacts with
some of the employees, gathered
classified information and sent it
to the U.S. intelligence services,"
said the judge, who under secu-
rity rules was identified only by
his surname, Heidarifard.
"Her activities were discov-
ered by the counter-espionage
department of the Intelligence
Ministry," Heidarifard said.
Saberi will stand trial next
week, the judge said, though he
did not specify which day.

HOLY WEEK AT CANTERBURY HOUSE
Thursday, April 9th -
5:30 p.m. A simple Mediterranean meal
in commemoration of The Last Supper.
Thursday, April 9th -
M o7:30 p.m. Screening of Daniel
Karslake's 2007 documentary that
explores the intersection between
religion and homosexuality in America.
Friday, April 10th -
5:30 p.m. Featuring a reading of the
Passion Gospel by the women of
Canterbury House.
Saturday, April 11th -
i . 8:00 p.m. A culmination of the Holy
Week celebration, with fire-juggling and
the re-telling in scripture and music of the
whole salvation story.

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