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September 30, 2009 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-09-30

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - 3

NEWS BRIEFS
WASHINGTON
Michigan to get
$38 million in
emergency grants
The U.S. Department of Labor
plans to send up to $38 million in
emergency grants to Michigan to
help laid-off workers.
The grants announced yester-
day are expected to assist more
than 13,000 workers over the
next several months, mostly from
the lower half of the state's Lower
Peninsula. The money is designed
for worker retraining and career
support, particularly for those
who lost jobs in the auto industry.
The counties covered by the
emergency grants include Alle-
gan, Bay, Berrien, Cass, Clin-
ton, Eaton, Genesee, Huron,
Ingham, Kent, Lapeer, Livings-
ton, Macomb, Midland, Monroe,
Muskegon, Oakland, Oceana,
Ottawa, St. Clair, Saginaw, Sani-
lac, Shiawassee, Tuscola, Van
BurenWashtenaw and Wayne.
IRVING TOWNSHIP, Mich.
State to mom: Stop
baby-sitting
neighbors' kids
Each day before the school bus
comes to pick up the neighbor-
hood's children, Lisa Snyder did a
favor for three of her fellow moms,
welcoming their children into her
home for about an hour before
they left for school.
Regulators who oversee child
care, however, don't see it as char-
ity. Days after the start of the new
school year, Snyder received a let-
ter fromthe Michigan Department
of Human Services warning her
that if she continued, she'd be vio-
lating a law aimed at the operators
of unlicensed day care centers.
"I was freaked out. I was blown
away," she said. "Igot on the phone
immediately, called my husband,
then I called all the girls" - that
is, the mothers whose kids she
watches - "every one of them."
Snyder's predicament has led to
a debate in Michigan about wheth-
er a law that says no one may care
for unrelated children in their
home for more than four weeks
each calendar year unless they are
licensed day-care providers needs
to be changed. It also has irked
parents who say they depend on
such friendly offers to help them
balance work and family.
NEW YORK
Ex-Demfundraiser
sentenced in NYC
r to 24years in prison
Former Democratic fundraiser
Norman Hsu was sentenced yes-
terday to more than 24 years in
prison by ajudge who accused him
of funding his fraud by manipulat-
ing the political process in a way
that "strikes atthe very core of our
democracy."
U.S. District Judge Victor Mar-
remo sentenced the 58-year-old
Hsuwho raised money for Hillary

Rodham Clinton and others, to 20
years in prison for his guilty plea
to fraud charges and another four
yearsandfourmonthsinprisonfor
his conviction at trial for breaking
campaign finance laws.
In a lengthy criticism of Hsu's
fraud, the judge said the former
fundraiserused politicalcontribu-
tions to win respect and impress
investors as he committed cam-
paign finance fraud.
UNITED NATIONS
Many support
$100B proposal on
climate change
Many world leaders have
expressed support for a proposal
that would earmark $100 billion
a year for the next decade for con-
crete actions to curb greenhouse
gases andhelp countries cope with
the impact of climate change, U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
said.
Ban said he had sent letters to
leaders of the 20 leading econo-
mies initially proposing $250 bil-
lion annually.
But after talks with British
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
and European Commission Presi-
dent Jose Manuel Barroso, Ban
said they agreed that $100 billion
annually until 2020 "could be a
good start" not only in financial
support but in bridging the gap
between developed and develop-
ing countries.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

One day left
until budget
deadline

Some contentious
bills approved by
Republican-led
Senate yesterday
LANSING, Mich. (AP) -
Michigan lawmakers inched
yesterday toward addressing a
$2.8 billion state budget defi-
cit a day before their deadline,
voting to cut millions of dollars
from libraries and revenue-
sharing payments to local com-
munities but avoiding proposed
reductions in payments to the
poor.
Some contentious budget
bills were approved by the
Republican-led Senate along
party lines before it adjourned
yesterday night. The Demo-
cratic-controlled House passed
a budget for the Department of
Human Services before it quit
voting for the night, but several
tough votes remain for both
chambers before the midnight
deadline tonight.
Cities, townships and some
counties use revenue-sharing
payments to help cover the
cost of police, firefighters and
other services. The 11 percent
cut approved by the Senate was
slightly less than what legisla-
tive leaders agreed to previ-
ously but was still a blow to
municipalities already strug-
gling with falling property tax
revenues.
Democrats voted against
the cuts, with Sen. Deb Cher-

ry of Burton worrying that
less money could mean slower
response times for hard-hit fire
departments. She said the deep
cuts would hurt Michigan's
future.
"It's just not good enough to
keep our people safe and ensure
we have the kind of state ready
to make a long-term economic
recovery," Cherry said.
Republicans countered that
spending cuts are necessary
because tax collections have
dropped by billions of dollars
in the ailing economy.
Democrats agreed that the
falling revenues mean reduc-
tions are needed, but said
some were too deep. They were
still talking about passing tax
increases to avoid some cuts
and keep programs such as
the Michigan Promise college
scholarship.
But with time running out,
no tax increases seemed immi-
nent.
Lawmakers instead might
try to tap more stimulus money
than they previously expected
to lessen cuts in K-12 education
and other budgets. Schools are
unhappy with cuts that could
translate to about $218 per stu-
dent unless more Recovery Act
money is used.
"The magnitude of the cut to
the K-12 budget is pretty sig-
nificant," Democratic House
Speaker Andy Dillon said.
"Education is the future of this
state. We need to fund it and we
need to send a message that we
want to fund it."

SUSAN WALSH/AP
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (second from right) talks with Sen, Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) yesterday.
Senate panel: No gov't option

Finance Committee
votes twice to reject
public option
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a
long-anticipated showdown, liberal
Democrats twice failed yesterday to
inject a government-run insurance
option into sweeping health care
legislation taking shape in the Sen-
ate, despite bipartisan agreement
that private insurers must change
their ways.
The two votes marked a victory
for Montana Democrat Max Bau-
cus, the Senate Finance Committee
chairman, who is hoping to push
his middle-of-the-road measure
through the panel by week's end. It
also kept alive the possibility that at
least one Republican may yet swing
behind the overhaul, a key goal of
both Baucus and the White House.
The developments occurred as
Democrats in the House sought
savings to reduce their companion
legislation to roughly $900 billion
over a decade, the price tag Presi-

dent Barack Obama has suggested.
One option under consideration
would reduce the number of indi-
viduals and families eligible for
federal health coverage subsidies
to those earning less than 400 per-
cent of poverty, or about $43,000
for a single person and $88,000 for
a family of four, officials said, com-
menting only on condition of ano-
nymity. The subsidies are designed
to make insurance more affordable,
and account for a significant per-
centage of spending in the bill.
Without disclosing any of the
details of a marathon closed-door
leadership meeting, Majority Leader
Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters,
"It's hard work, but we're determined
to get it (the bill's cost) down."
If anything, the health care debate
was growing more intense. According
to one independentorganization, tele-
vision advertising around the issue
has been running at a level of more
than $1.1 million a day for the past
week and now stands over $100 mil-
lion since the beginning ofthe year.
Inside the Senate Finance Com-
mittee, Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.,

said his proposal to allow the gov-
ernment to sell insurance in com-
petition with private industry was
far from the federal takeover that
critics portray. "It's not. It's option-
al," he said, adding it was designed
to offer competition and a lower-
priced, reliable choice for consum-
ers shopping for coverage.
"Washington is not the answer,"
countered Sen. Orrin Hatch,
R-Utah.
The key votes were cast by Baucus
and four other Democrats, who sided
with Republicans who were united
against the proposed change in the
bill. "The public option would help to
hold insurance companies' feet to the
fire, I don't think there's much doubt
about that, but my first job is to get
this bill across the finish line," said
the chairman, who had proposed
a system of nonprofit cooperatives
similar to Midwestern agricultural
or electric co-ops instead.
"No one shows me how to get to
60 votes with a public option," Bau-
cus said, employing the term used
to describe a new government role
in health care.

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FILI SAGAPOLUTELE/Af
A main road in the Fagatogo is seen flooded by water from a tsunami in the main town area in American Samoa yesterday
Quake triggers powerful Pacific
Ocean tsunami, killing dozens

At least 39 killed
but death toll still
on rise, officials say
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa
(AP) - A powerful Pacific Ocean
earthquake spawned towering
tsunami waves that swept ashore
on Samoa and American Samoa,
flooding and flattening villages,
killing dozens of people and leav-
ing several workers missing at
devastated National Park Service
facilities.
Cars and people were swept
out to sea by the fast-churning
water as survivors fled to higher
ground, where they remained
huddled hours after the quake
struck early yesterday. Signs of
immense devastation were every-
where, with a giant boat getting
washed ashore and coming to
rest on the edge of a highway and
floodwaters swallowing up cars
and homes.
The quake, with a magni-
tude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck
around dawn about 20 miles
below the ocean floor, 120 miles
(190 kilometers) from American
Samoa, a U.S. territory that is
home to 65,000 people.
Hampered by power and com-
munications outages, officials
hours later struggled to geta han-
dle on the damage and casualties.
At least 39 people were killed -
20 on Samoa and 19 on American
Samoa - but officials acknowl-
edged the death toll seemed sure
to rise.
"I don't think anybody is going
to be spared in this disaster," said

acting American Samoa Gov. Faoa
A. Sunia.
Mase Akapo, a meteorologist
for the National Weather Service
in American Samoa, reported at
least 19 people killed in four dif-
ferent villages on the main island
of Tutuila. Officials reported at
least 50 injured, and possibly
many more.
In neighboring Samoa, an
Associated Press reporter saw
the bodies of about 20 victims in a
hospital at Lalomanu town on the
south coast of the main island of
Upolu, and said the surrounding
tourist coast had been devastated.
At least three villages were flat-
tened.
Sunia declared a state of
emergency in American Samoa,
describing "immense and wide-
spread damage to individual, pub-
lic and commercial buildings in
coastal areas" along with death
and injury. Gov. Togiola Tulafono,
who was in Honolulu for a con-
ference, told reporters that more
victims could be found when res-
cuers reach areas that are inac-
cessible by roads.
Tulafono says his immediate
family was safe, but there was at
least one death among his extend-
ed family.
Ofthe death toll, New Zealand's
acting Prime Minister Bill English
said that there has "really only
been guesses, but some of these
places appear to have been hit
very hard, and you would expect
considerable loss of life."
"I would underline the fact that
this is a situation that's unfold-
ing," English said. "We don't have
information about the full impact

and we do have some real concern
that over the next 12 hours the
picture could look worse rather
than better."
America Samoa is home to a
U.S. national park that appeared
to be especially hard-hit. Holly
Bundock, spokeswoman for the
National Park Service's Pacific
West Region in Oakland, Calif.,
said the superintendent of the
park and another .staffers had
been able to locate only 20 percent
of the park's 13 to 15 employees
and 30 to 50 volunteers.
Mike Reynolds, superintendent
of the National Park of American
Samoa, was quoted as saying four
tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet high
roared ashore soon afterward,
reaching up to a mile inland. Bun-
dock said Reynolds spoke to offi-
cials from under a coconut tree
uphill from Pago Pago Harbor
and reported that the park's visi-
tor center and offices appeared to
have been destroyed.
Residents in both Samoa and
American Samoa reported being
shaken awake by the quake,
which lasted two to three min-
utes. It was followed by at least
three large aftershocks of at least
5.6 magnitude.
New Zealander Graeme Ansell
said the beach village of Sau Sau
Beach Fale was leveled.
"It was very quick. The whole
village has been wiped out,"
Ansell told New Zealand's Nation-
al Radio from a hill near Samoa's
capital, Apia. "There's not a build-
ing standing. We've all clambered
up hills, and one of our party has a
broken leg. There will be people in
a great lot of need 'round here."

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