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April 15, 2009 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-04-15

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, A pril 15, 2009 - 3A

NEWS BRIEFS
DETROIT
Detroit man sues to
block demolition of
rail depot
A Detroit man wants to derail
the possible demolition of the
Michigan Central Station.
Stanley Christmas filed suit
Monday against the city and City
Council, contending the 96-year-
old building is protected by the
National Historic Preservation Act
of 1966.
The council on April 7 approved
a resolution seeking emergency
demolition of the decrepit 17-story
building long considered a symbol
of Detroit's decay. Mayor Ken Cock-
rel Jr. wants to use $3.64 million in
federal stimulus funds to raze the
station, which closed in 1988.
City attorneys will outline the
process to the council on April 28.
Mayoral spokesman Daniel Cher-
rin says the city has made no firm
plans regarding the depot's fate.
Christmas ran for mayor in 2005
and in the Feb. 24 special mayoral
election, drawing 103 votes.
HILLSDALE, Mich.
Hillsdale's youngest
mayor won't seek
re-election
The city's youngest mayor is
ready to move on.
Michael Sessions was 18 when
he won a 2005 write-in campaign
in Hillsdale, a city of 8,200 located
85 miles southwest of Detroit.
The 21-year-old announced yes-
terday he won't seek re-election be-
cause he is to graduate from Hills-
dale College in 2010 and his career
plans may prevent him from com-
pleting a second four-year term.
Sessions registered to vote one
day after his 18th birthday in Sep-
tember 2005 and signed up as a
write-in candidate the day after
that. He financed his campaign
with $700 earned by working at a
french fry wagon at local fairs and
carnivals.
After defeating the incumbent
by two votes, Sessions appeared
on national news programs and on
the "Late Show with David Letter-
man."
MOMBASA, Kenya
Somali pirates on
hijack spree since
the weekend
A Somali pirates were back to
business as usual yesterday, defi-
antly seizing four more ships with
60 hostages after U.S. sharpshoot-
ers rescued an American freighter
captain. "No one can deter us," one
bandit boasted.
The freed skipper, Richard Phil-
lips, will return home to the United
States today, after reuniting with
his 19-man crew in the Kenyan port
of Mombasa, according to the ship-
ping company Maersk Line Ltd.
Thebrigandsgrabbed moreships
and hostages to show they would
not be intimidated by President
Barack Obama's pledge to confront

the high-seas bandits, according to
a pirate based in the Somali coastal
town of Harardhere.
"Our latest hijackings are meant
to show that no one can deter us
from protecting our waters from
the enemy because we believe in
dying for our land," Omar Dahir
Idle told The Associated Press by
telephone. "Our guns do not fire
water. I am sure we will avenge."
MONTPERLIER, Vermont
Vt. may set aside
harshest penalties
for 'sexting'
Parents, school districts and
law enforcement have been grap-
pling with what to do with teen-
agers who take sexually explicit
photos of themselves with their
cell phone cameras and send them
to friends.
Vermont legislators are moving
to get rid of one option: child por-
nography counts that result in life-
time listings on the state's Internet
sex offender registry.
Legislation passed by the Ver-
mont Senate and pending in the
House would remove the most seri-
ous legal consequences for teenag-
ers who engage in "sexting." The
bill would carve out an exemption
from prosecution for child por-
nography for 13- to 18-year-olds
on either the sending or receiving
end of sexting messages, so long as
the sender voluntarily transmits an
image of himself or herself.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

N. Korea set to
restart nuclear
programs

Officials oust U.N.
inspectors, pull
out of negotiations
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -
North Korea said yesterday it was
restarting its rogue nuclear pro-
gram, bootingU.N. inspectors and
pulling out of disarmament talks
in an angry reaction to U.N. Secu-
rity Council condemnation of its
April 5 rocket launch.
Pyongyang ordered U.N. nucle-
ar inspectors to remove seals
and cameras from its Yongbyon
nuclear site and leave the country
as quickly as possible, the Inter-
national Atomic Energy Agency
said.
North Korea told the IAEA
it was "immediately ceasing all
cooperation" and "has decided
to reactivate all facilities and go
ahead with the reprocessing of
spent fuel," according to a state-
ment from the U.N. agency.
White House spokesman Rob-
ert Gibbs condemned the decision,
saying the international commu-
nity will not accept North Korea
until it abandons what Washing-
ton calls its pursuit of nuclear
weapons. The North must "cease
its provocative threats," he said.
Russia also deplored the move
and urged its neighbor to rejoin
six-nation talks, which have been
held since 2003 in an attempt
to get Pyongyang to give up its
nuclear program in exchange for
aid and other concessions. Brit-
ain's Foreign Office said the break
with the IAEA was "completely
unjustified."
China - Pyongyang's main ally
and the host of the talks - called
for calm on all sides.
Despite its defiance, ana-

lysts say North Korea, one of the
poorest countries in the world,
is unlikely to abandon the talks
altogether. They suggested North
Korea could be trying to draw the
United States into direct negotia-
tions, which it has long sought.
Hajime Izumi, a North Korea
expert at the University of Shizuo-
ka in Japan, said the North Kore-
an reaction was designed to "bring
the United States to the negotiat-
ing table and squeeze maximum
concessions from it."
All 15 members of the Security
Council, including China and Rus-
sia, agreed Monday to condemn
the April 5 launch as a violation
of U.N. resolutions and to tighten
sanctions against the regime. The
U.N. statement was weaker than
the resolution Japan and the Unit-
ed States had pursued.
North Korea claims it launched
a communications satellite as
part of a peaceful bid to develop
its space program as Kim Jong
I embarked on his third term as
leader. The U.S. and others call the
launch an illicit test of the tech-
nology used to fire an interconti-
nental ballistic missile, even one
eventually destined for the U.S.
A Security Council resolution
passed in 2006, days after North
Korea carried out an under-
ground nuclear test, prohibits
Pyongyang from engaging in any
ballistic missile-related activity
- including launching rockets
that use the same delivery tech-
nology as missiles mounted with
warheads, Washington and other
nations say.
Under a 2007 six-party deal,
North Korea agreed to disable its
main nuclear complex in Yong-
byon north of Pyongyang in
return for1 million tons of fuel oil
and other concessions.

In this May 14, 2008 file photo, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich testifies in front of the Senate on Capitol Hill
Gingrich considers run
for White House in2012

Former Speaker of
the House's media
blitz raises suspicions
about potential run
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - More than
a decade after he stepped down
as speaker of the House into what
seemed like almost certain politi-
cal oblivion, Newt Gingrich is back
and seemingly more relevant than
ever.
Gingrich seems to be every-
where these days, headlining an
endless circuit of GOP dinners,
popping up on TV news shows,
authoring yet another best-selling
book and acting as a policy guru to
out-of-powercongressionalRepub-
licans on how to do battle with the
Democratic White House.
As beleaguered Republicans
look for a standard bearer after last
year's disastrous election, they've
been tossing around the names of
flashy new stars like Alaska Gov.
Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice presi-

dential candidate, and Louisiana
Gov. Bobby Jindal, young and
Indian American in a party that's
increasingly identified with older
white men.
But could the GOP's savior
instead be a wonkish, twice-
divorced throwback to the
fiercely partisan Republican rev-
olution?
Gingrich has managed to keep
himself in the public eye since
leaving the House, but the blitz
of public appearances in recent
months is reminiscent of the run-
up to 2007, when he toyed with a
presidential run only to abandon it
before the primaries began. Now,
some are speculating that the for-
mer congressman from Georgia is
laying the groundwork for a White
House bid in 2012.
Grover Norquist, a prominent
conservative and president of
Americans for Tax Reform, said
Gingrich is on nearly every Repub-
lican short list of possible White
House prospects.
"One of the ways you judge these
guys is how hard they're working,

and Newt is out there hustling,"
Norquist said.
Gingrich does not exactly dis-
courage such presidential specu-
lation. Instead he argues he is
busy with work for a pair of think
tanks - American Solutions and
the Center for Health Transforma-
tion - that give him a platform to
speak on a dizzying array of issues:
from childhood obesity and nucle-
ar weapons i North Korea to off-
shore oil exploration.
"I really love trying to solve
problems. I get very excited about
it," Gingrich, 65, said after teach-
ing a law school class recently at
the University of Georgia.
With Gingrich, a former college
history professor, the ideas some-
times come so fast and furious that
even supporters say they can feel
overwhelned by a conversation
with him.
Rich Galen, a Washington-
based Republican strategist and
former Gingrich aide, called him
the GOP's "intellect-in-chief."
"He's always been the idea man,"
Galen said.

Ex-Il. governor
pleads not guilty

Blagojevich denies
charges of fraud
and racketeering
CHICAGO (AP) - Ousted Gov.
Rod Blagojevich pleaded not guilty
to racketeering and fraud charges
yesterday, defiantly embarking on
a long journey to clear his name but
facing serious money problems and
without ateam of lawyers in place.
"I'm glad this process has finally
begun," the impeached former gov-
ernor told the media throng that
spilled into the street in front of the
courthouse afterhe andhisbrother,
Robert, were arraigned on corrup-
tion charges.
"It's the end of the beginning
in one respect but it's the begin-
ning of another aspect" of the
case, Blagojevich said. "That is
the beginning of me being able
to prove and clear my name and
be vindicated of what are inaccu-
rate allegations."
Blagojevich, 52, is charged
with scheming to sell Presi-
dent Barack Obama's former
U.S. Senate seat, attempting
to extort campaign money
from companies seeking state
business and plotting to use
the financial muscle of the
governor's office to pressure
the Chicago Tribune to fire
editorial writers calling for
his impeachment. The accu-
sations led to his ouster as
governor, but he repeated
yesterday what he has been
saying for months - that he is
not guilty.
The former governor
appeared to be in his element
as the focus of a major political
story yet again. He chatted ami-
ably with reporters, and when
one television cameraman stood
atop a concrete pillar outside the
courthouse to get a shot from
above, he obligingly looked up
and smiled.
Blagojevich was arrested
Dec. 9 after authorities said
he was heard on FBI wire-
taps discussing swapping the
Obama seat for a Cabinet post,
a new job or campaign money.
A federal grand jury returned
a 19-count indictment April 2
that alleges corruption begin-
ning before Blagojevich even
took office.
At the 10-minute arraign-
ment, Blagojevich and the only
attorney currently on his case,
longtimefriendSheldonSorosky,
entered a plea of not guilty.

U.S. District Judge James B.
Zagel then started a sequence of
legal maneuvers that attorneys
said would most likely lead to a
Blagojevichtrial ayear ortwo down
the road. Blagojevich faces charges
including racketeering conspiracy,
wire fraud, extortion conspiracy,
attempted extortion and making
false statements. Most of the charg-
es carry a maximum sentence of 20
years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Prosecutors must give the
defense team mounds of documents
and recordings made over years of
investigation. Defense attorneys
can then be expected to ask Zagel to
throwoutmuch of it.
"The circumstances of these
wiretaps hasn't been flushed out
yet," said DePaul University law
professor Leonard Cavise. "We
can expect all kinds of motions to
suppress evidence. They will chal-
lenge the warrants. They will chal-
lenge whether the government had
probable cause" to tap Blagojevich's
home and campaign office phones.

Chrysler debtholder talks
pick up pace; M stalled

Banks and creditors
hold $6.9 billion in
secured debt
from Chrysler
DETROIT (AP) - The pace of
negotiations between Chrysler
LLC and its debtholders picked
up this week, but talks at General
Motors Corp. have slowed as both
companies face looming govern-
ment deadlines to cut their debt
in order to stay out of bankrupt-
cy.
Banks and other Chrysler
creditors that hold $6.9 billion
in secured debt are preparing a
counteroffer after they rejected
a proposal from the automaker
and the government to erase the
loans for $1 billion, according to

a person briefed on the negotia-
tions.
At GM, a group representing
bondholders is still waiting for a
counteroffer from the company,
according to another person with
knowledge of the talks.
Both people spoke on condition
of anonymity because the negotia-
tions are private.
The Treasury Department
is getting involved in the nego-
tiations with GM and Chrysler's
debtholders after the companies
failed to finalize their restruc-
turing plans by the government's
original March 31 deadline.
President Barack Obama gave
the automakers more time, but
with instructions to make even
tougher cuts.

Last week, the Treasury
Department was pressing GM
to offer bondholders a small
amount of its stock in exchange
for their $28 billion of GM debt,
according to published reports.
That would be much less gener-
ous than a similar offer GM made
two weeks ago.
There'smore urgency atChrysler
because the Auburn Hills-based
company is a little more than two
weeks away from its new April 30
deadline to get concessions from
its creditors and unions and ink a
deal with Italian automaker Fiat
Group SpA. If the Fiat alliance isn't
finalized by then, the government
has threatened not to provide any
more aid and let Chrysler be sold
off in pieces.

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