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January 16, 2009 - Image 3

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I The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, January 16, 2009 - 3

NEWS BRIEFS
CABIMAS, Venezuela
Venezuela seeks
Big Oil investments
Squeezed by slumping crude
prices, Venezuela is reaching out
to the multinational oil compa-
nies it once demonized as imperi-
alist profiteers.
Venezuela is soliciting bids
from the world's major oil compa-
nies to extract heavy crude from
vast deposits in its Orinoco River
region. Despite President Hugo
Chavez's criticism of U.S.-style
capitalism, it has become clear
that state-owned Petroleos de
Venezuela SA needs both the cash
and expertise of Big Oil.
These international oil com-
panies have made windfall prof-
its in recent years, but analysts
doubt many will want to invest
again given Chavez's history of
seizing foreign stakes in Venezu-
ela's oil.
"When it comes to Venezuela,
there's still going to be a lot of skep-
ticism," said Greg Priddy, a global
oil analyst at the Eurasia Group in
Washington D.C. "Chavez is still
there and you haven't had a change
in government."
MOSCOW
Economic crisis
pressures Russia's
ruling tandem
Russia's President Dmitry
Medvedev has twice rebuked the
government led by his predeces-
sor Vladimir Putin in the past
couple of weeks, raising ques-
tions of whether a rift is develop-
ing between the powerful former
Kremlin leader and the man he
chose to replace him.
On both occasions, Medvedev
criticized the government for not
doing enough to help industry
and business cope with the global
financial crisis, which has hit Rus-
sia hard.
"The planned measures are
being fulfilled slower than we
counted on and, most important,
slower than the current situation
demands," Medvedev said during
a visit Sunday to an engine plant
outside Moscow with government
ministers.
Two weeks earlier, Medvedev
characterized the government's
anti-crisis program as "well-bal-
anced but not ideal."
TOLEDO, OsO
e Cousins plead
guilty in Ohio
terrorism case
Two cousins from the Chicago
. area have pleaded guilty in Ohio to
taking part in a plot to recruit and
train terrorists to kill American
soldiers.
Federal prosecutors say the
men had been training and plan-
ning to go overseas so that they
could kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq or
Afghanistan.
Authorities say the men were
recruited by three Toledo men
organizing the plot. All three were
convicted last summer and are

awaiting sentencing.
Khaleel Ahmed of Chicago and
Zubair Ahmed of suburban Chica-
go both pleaded guilty Thursday
in U.S. District Court to conspir-
acy to provide material support to
terrorists.
Each faces a maximum of 15
years in prison.
WASHINGTON
U.S. inks nuclear
* deal with Gulf ally
The Bush administration signed
a nuclear cooperation agreement
on Thursday with the United Arab
Emirates - a last-minute deal
saddling the incoming Obama
administration with a decision on
helping a Persian Gulf ally develop
nuclear power despite concerns in
Congress.
The deal sets the legal ground-
work for U.S. commercial nuclear
trade with the UAE, which has
foresworn nuclear arms as asigna-
tory to the Nuclear Nonprolifera-
tion Treaty.
Despite the emirates' status as
a key U.S. partner in the Mideast,
some in Congress say the UAE has
W done too little to Help stein the
illicit flow of nuclear supplies to
its Gulf neighbor and commercial
partner Iran.
While the deal was forged by
Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice in one of her final acts of
1 diplomacy, it will be the Obama
administration that will have to
decide whether the agreement is
sent to Congress.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

Israeli forces
shell UN office
in Gaza City

An Airbus 320 US Airways aircraft that went down in the Hudson River in New York yesterday. There were 155 people n
board. No one was injured.
P ilot ditches plareinto
frigid river; all survive

Bird collisions
suspected as cause
of the crash
NEW YORK (AP) - With both
engines out, a cool-headed pilot
maneuvered his crowded jetliner
over New York City and ditched
it in the frigid Hudson River on
Thursday, and all 155 on board were
pulled to safety as the plane slowly
sank. It was, the governor said, "a
miracle on the Hudson."
One victim suffered two broken
legs, a paramedic said, but there
were no other reports of serious
injuries.
The plane, a US Airways Airbus
A320 bound for Charlotte, N.C.,
struck a flock of birds during take-
off minutes earlier at LaGuardia
Airport and was submerged up to
its windows in the river by the time
rescuers arrived in Coast Guard
vessels and ferries. Some passen-
gers waded in water up to their
knees, standing on the wing of the
plane and waiting for help.
"He was phenomenal," passen-
ger Joe Hart said. "He landed it - I
tell you what - the impact wasn't
a whole lot more than a rear-end
(collision). It threw you into the
seat ahead of you.
"Both engines cut out and he
actually floated it into the river,"
he added.
In a city still wounded from the
aerial attack on the World Trade
Center, authorities were quick to
assure the public that terrorism
wasn't involved.
Police divers had to rescue some

of the passengers from underwater,
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Among those on board was one
infant who appeared to be fine, the
mayor said.
Helen Rodriguez, a paramedic
who was among the first to arrive
at the scene, said she saw one
woman with two broken legs. Fire
officials said others were evaluated
for hypothermia, bruises and other
minor injuries. a
"We had a miracle on 34th
Street. I believe now we have had
a miracle on the Hudson," Gov.
David Paterson said.
The crash took place on a
20-degree day, one of the coldest of
the season in New York. The water
temperature was 36 degrees, Coast
Guard Lt. Commander Moore said.
He estimates that hypothermia can
hit within five to eight minutes at
that temperature.
"The captain said, 'Brace for
impact because we're going down,"'
passenger Jeff Kolodjay said. He
said passengers put their heads in
their laps and started praying. He
said the plane hit the water pretty
hard, but he was fine.
"It was intense. It was intense.
You've got to give it to .the pilot.
He made a hell of a landing,"
Kolodjay said.
Another passenger, Fred Ber-
retta, who was on his way home to
Charlotte from a business trip, told
CNN doors were opened on both
sides of the plane "as soon as we hit
the water."
Witnesses said the plane's pilot
appeared to guide the plane down.
Bob Read, a television producer
who saw the crash from his office

window, said it appeared to be a
"controlled descent."
Paramedics treated at least 78
patients, fire officials said. Coast
Guard boats rescued 35 people who
were immersed in the frigid water
and ferried them to shore. Some
of the rescued were shivering and
wrapped in white blankets, their
feet and legs soaked.
One commuter ferry, the Thom-
as Jefferson of the company NY
Waterway, arrived within minutes
of the crash, and some of its own
riders grabbed life vests and lines
of rope and tossed them to plane
passengers in the water.
"They were cheering when
we pulled up," ferry captain Vin-
cent Lombardi. "We had to pull
an elderly woman out of a raft in
a sling. She was crying. ... People
were panicking. They said, 'hurry
up, hurry up."'
Two police scuba divers said they
pulled another woman from a life-
boat "frightened out of her mind"
and lethargic from hypothermia.
Another woman fell off a rescue raft,
and the divers said they swam over
and put her on a Coast Guard boat.
US Airways Flight 1549 took off
at 3:26 p.m. It was less than a min-
ute later when the pilot reported
a "double bird strike" and said he
needed to return to LaGuardia,
said Doug Church, a spokesman for
the National Air Traffic Controllers
Association. He said the controller
told the pilot to divert to an airport
in nearby Teterboro, N.J.
Itwas notclear why the pilot did
not land at Teterboro. Church said
there was no mayday call from the
plane's transponder.

Compound
sheltered more than
700 civilians
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -
Israeli artillery shells struck the
U.N. headquarters in the Gaza
Strip on yesterday, setting a food
warehouse-ablaze and drawing a
sharp rebuke fromthe visiting U.N.
chief who called it an "outrage."
Another Israeli bombardment
killed Hamas' head of security.
The attack added to a day of
deadly chaos pitting Israeli troops
against Islamic militants. Terrified
residents huddled in shelters and
stairwells, or scooped up toddlers
and fled on foot.
After nightfall, shells landed
near Gaza City's Quds Hospital,
where many families had sought
refuge, and the building caught
fire, forcing staff to evacuate
hundreds of people. According to
a hospital medic, some patients
were pushed down the street on
gurneys; a few held white flags.
The destruction added to what
aid groups say is a'humanitarian
crisis in Gaza and -ratcheted up
tensions between Israel and the
international community even as
diplomats indicated progress in
cease-fire talks.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi
Livni was departing last night
for Washington to discuss a Gaza
cease-fire with Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice. The United
States and Egypt have been work-
ing to forge an agreement to end 20
days of bitter fighting.
The U.N. compound, made up
of workshops and warehouses as
well as offices, was struck about
a half-dozen times over a roughly
two-hour period while more than
700 civilians were sheltering
there, said John Ging, head of Gaza
operations for the U.N. Relief and
Works Agency.
The civilians were huddling in
the compound's vocational train-
ing center when it was struck by
a tank round or an artillery shell,
causing the three injuries, Ging
said. Throughout this time, he
said, U.N. officials were frantically
contacting Israeli officials to urge
an end to the firing on the U.N.
compound.
The attack triggered a raging
fire that engulfed a warehouse and
destroyed thousands of pounds
of food and other aid intended
for Gaza's beleaguered citizens.
Workers with fire extinguishers
and Palestinian firefighters, some
wearing bulletproof jackets, strug-
gled to douse flames and tugged

bags of flour from the debris.
Fuel supplies and cars in a
garage also went up in flames.
Ging said the contacts with
Israeli officials were made under
a new liaison system aimed at pre-
venting any attack similar to the
shelling at a U.N. school in north-
ern Gaza earlier this month that
killed about 40 people. At the time,
Israel said militants had fired on
army positions from the area.
AnIsraeliairstrike killed Interi-
or Minister Said Siam, a key figure
in Hamas who oversaw thousands
of security agents, Hamas TV said.
A top aide, Siam's brother and his
brother's family also were killed.
"We are talking about a key per-
son in terms of logistics in the field,
and also in the political sense," said
Bassem Zbeidy, a Hamas expert in
the West Bank.
He said Siam's deathwas a"huge
loss for Hamas," but noted that the
movement is easily capable of gen-
erating new leaders, often more
radical than their predecessors.
Israel's intense assaults Thurs-
day seemed to reflect an extra
push to pressure Hamas negotia-
tors into making concessions on a
cease-fire and punish the militant
group as much as possible before
any end to hostilities.
Israeli envoy Amos Gilad
returned from Cairo, where he dis-
cussed a cease-fire proposal with
Egyptian officials who are also
trying to coax Hamas into ending
the war
Israel launched the offensive
Dec. 27 to end Hamas rocket
attacks on Israel. Gaza medics say
about 1,100 Palestinians, half of
them civilians, have died; 13 Israe-
lis have also been killed.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-
moon, visiting Israel, said Israeli
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told
him the attack on the U.N. com-
pound was a "grave" error and
apologized for it.
"I conveyed my strong protest
and outrageto the defensepainister
and foreign minister and"demanded
a full explanation," said Ban, who
arrived Thursday from Egypt.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert said the military fired artil-
lery shells at the U.N. compound
after Hamas militants opened fire
from the location. Three people
were wounded.
"It is absolutely true that we
were attacked from that place, but
the consequences are very sad and
we apologize for it," he said.
Israel's chief military spokes-
man, Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu, said
the military had not clarified the
incident and that an investigation
was under way.

Congress clears way for
$825-billion bailout package

Speaker promises
to have bill ready in
February
WASHINGTON (AP) - Con-
gress laid the foundation for
President-elect Barack Obama's
economic recovery plan on Thurs-
day with remarkable speed, clear-
ing the way for a new infusion
of bailout cash for the financial
industry while majority Demo-
crats proposed spending increases
and tax cuts totaling a whopping
$825 billion.
Two days after Obama person-
ally lobbied for release of $350
billion in bailout funds, the Sen-
ate narrowly turned aside a bid to
block the money.
Across the Capitol, Speak-
er Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. said,
"Immediate job creation and then
continuing job creation" were the
twin goals of the separate stimu-
lus legislation. It recommends tax
cuts for businesses and individuals
while pouring billions into areas
such as health care, education,
energy and highway construction.
She and Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid, D-Nev., have pledged
to have the economic stimulus bill
ready for Obama's signature by
mid-February.
Both houses debated Obama's
call to release another $350 billion

from the financial bailout pack-
age, but the Senate vote was the
triumph he had sought. Despite
bipartisan anger over the Bush
administration's handling of the
program to date, Democratic allies
of the incoming president pre-
vailed on a 52-42 roll call.
The vote followed a commit-
ment by Obama to use as much as
$100 billion of the funds to help
homeowners facing foreclosure
proceedings.
The money will be available
in less than two weeks, at a time
when there is fresh evidence of
shakiness among banks.
The 44th president-to-be was
at his transition office across town
from the Capitol - and President
Bush relegated to the role of virtu-
al onlooker - as events played out
at the dawn of a new Democratic
era in government.
Obama has called for swift and
bold action to confront an eco-
nomic debacle unrivaled since the
Great Depression.
The president-elect, who travels
to hardhit Ohio on Friday to pro-
mote his economic program, also
announced he would convene a
"fiscal responsibility summit" in
February to focus on long-term
problems with the economy and
the skyrocketing costs of benefit
programs such as Social Security
and Medicare. "We've kicked this
can down the road and now we are

at the end of the road," he said in a
Washington Post interview posted
on the newspaper's Web site.
In remarks on the Senate floor,
Reid called the vote a victory for
Obama, whom he said exhibited
courage by seeking release of the
money. "This was a test of leader-
ship at a time when leadership is
desperately needed," he said.
Obama said in a statement he
was gratified with the result,
adding, "I know this wasn't an
easy vote because of the frustra-
tion so many of us share about
how the first half of this plan was
implemented."
Earlier, he hailed the stimulus
blueprint as "a significant down-
payment on our most urgent
challenges."
The outlines of the economic
stimulus measure reflected a
change in political priorities, with
an emphasis on spending and tax
breaks designed to encourage
production of alternative energy
sources, make federal buildings
more energy- efficient and weath-
erize homes.
At the same time, more tradi-
tional anti-recession spending was
built in. There was more than $130
billion for health care, much of it
to help states cope with the rising
demand for Medicaid, the health
care program for the low-income
and a recession-era refuge for the
newly laid-off.

U of M Business & Finance
Annual MLK Convocation U
Q
Featuring Les Brown
Monday, January 19, 2009, I -3pm
Rackham Auditorium, 915 E.Washington ,.>
Feesms.
Free admission

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