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October 21, 2009 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-10-21

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 - 3A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, October 21, 2009 - 3A

Karzai accepts runoff
inAfghan elections
A grim President Hamid Karzai
bowed to intense U.S. pressure and
agreed yesterday to arunoff election
Nov. 7, acknowledging he fell short
ofa majority after U.N.-backed audi-
tors stripped him of nearly a third of
his votes.
With the fraud investigation com-
pleted, election officials must now
scramble to organize a new ballot as
the fierce Afghan winter approach-
es and the country faces a growing
threat from Taliban insurgents.
President Barack Obama said
he called Karzai to welcome his
willingness to run in a new elec-
tion against his main rival Abdul-
lah Abdullah. "President Karzai's
constructive actions established an
important precedent for Afghani-
stan's new democracy," Obama
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-
moon also complimented Karzai's
decision but stressed that a new
election will be a "huge challenge."
"We have learned very valu-
able but painful lessons from the
first election," Ban told reporters
at U.N. headquarters in New York.
"We must not repeat what they
have done last time."
Justices to decide
if detainees can be
released into U.S.
The Supreme Court said yester-
day it will hear a new case about the
rights of Guantanamo detainees, this
time involving prisoners who remain
in custody even after the Pentagon
determines they're not a threat to the
United States.
The high court said it will take a
challenge from Chinese Muslims
at the U.S. naval base in Cuba who
are asking the court to put some
teeth into a June 2008 ruling that
said federal judges could ultimately
order some detainees to be released,
depending on security concerns and
other circumstances.
The 13 Chinese Muslims, or
Uighurs, who remain at Guantana-
mo have been cleared by the Penta-
gon for release since 2004, yet have
been held roughly eight years.
A federal appeals court over-
turned a judge's order to give the
Uighurs their freedom, saying judges
lacked authority to order detainees
released into the United States.
New Vatican plan to
welcome disaffected
The Vatican announced a stun-
ning decision yesterday to make
it easier for Anglicans to convert,
reaching out to those who are dis-
affected by the election of women
and gay bishops to join the Catholic
Church's conservative ranks.
Pope Benedict XVI approved a
new church provision that will al-
low Anglicans to join the Catholic
Church while maintaining many of

their distinctive spiritual and litur-
gical traditions, including having
married priests.
Cardinal William Levada, the
Vatican's chief doctrinal official, an-
nounced the new provision at a new
In the past, such exemptions had
only been granted in a few cases in
certain countries. The new church
provision is designed to allow An-
glicans around the world to access
a new church entity if they want to
Asphalt fire spews
thick, black smoke
near Detroit
Billows of thick, black smoke
could be seen for miles yesterday
after a fire engulfed an asphalt spill
nearly the size of a football field in an
industrial area southwest of Detroit.
The blaze at Michigan Marine
Terminal in River Rouge was large-
ly contained to its outdoor storage
yard. Paving-grade asphalt ignited
as workers cleaned a 70-square-yard
area where the asphalt leaked from
a nearby storage tank in May, man-
ager Curt Robinson said. A roughly
100-gallon oil tank also exploded
into the air during the fire.
No injures were reported.
The cause of the fire wasn't imme-
diately known. Investigators were
interviewing contractors who were
cleaning up the asphalt before the
fire ignited around 9 a.m.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

Mich. public
sec'tor jobs

Packets of marijuana buds are shown for sale at the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Clinic in San Francisco on Monday. Pot-
smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers should not be targeted for federal prosecution in states that allow medical mariuana,
prosecutors were told Monday in a new policy memo issued by the Justice Department.
Pot advocates:More lenient
guidelnes leave questions

Local and state
teaching jobs among
those most affected
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The
number of public employees in
the state has been dropping since
mid-2005 as the poor economy has
forced school districts and govern-
ments to trim staff, adding to the
state's already high unemployment
rate, according to a new report
released Monday.
The study, by the nonpartisan
Citizens ResearchCouncil of Mich-
igan, notes that local government
employment levels dropped 6 per-
cent between 2000 and 2008, while
K-12 jobs dropped 12 percent, and
state government jobs dropped 16
Michigan has had the nation's
highest jobless rate for most of the
past four years, largely because
of a huge drop in manufacturing
jobs, many of them tied to the auto
industry. But all sectors have been
affected. The state jobless rate
climbed to 15.3 percent last month,
with Michigan losing more than
300,000 jobs in the past year and
827,400 since June 2000.
Public school teachers, state
and local government, employees,
university and community college
workers and those at public health
care facilities make up about 17 per-
cent of Michigan's work force. They
account for about 7 percent of total
personal income in the state, with

state and local governmentpayrolls
totaling about $24 billion annually.
"State and local public sector
jobs, as evidenced by these payroll
figures, are not an insignificant
portion of Michigan's economic
base," the report said.
It notes that some areas of pub-
lic employment aren't shrinking.
Public sector jobs at hospitals rose
27percent between2000 and2008,
while jobs at public universities and
community colleges rose 9 percent.
But state government is another
story. The state's civil service work
force shed nearly 14 percent of its
December 2007 and June 2009,
that's partly because state govern-
ment cut costs by using unpaid fur-
loughs rather than more layoffs.
Since 2001, the state has seen its
number of workers decrease16 per-
cent, dropping from around 63,000
workers to 53,200.
Looking ahead, CRC expects
public employment to continue
its downward trend, although the
slide will be alleviated somewhat
because of federal recovery act dol-
. A recent report on the jobs creat-
ed or saved by the stimulus money
shows around 14,500 of Michigan's
19,$00 total jobs tied to the stimulus
money were atschools or related to
But the CRC report says those
are the jobs that could see the big-
gest hit once the stimulus dollars
disappear, since education makes
up the biggest concentration of
local public sector jobs.

New Obama policy
loosens guidelines on
federal prosecution of
medical marijuana
Obama administration policy loos-
ening guidelines on federal pros-
ecution of medical marijuana on
Monday signaled to users that they
had less to fear from federal agents
but still left their suppliers to con-
tend with a tangled mesh of state
laws and regulations.
The Justice Department told
federal prosecutors that targeting
people who use or provide medi-
cal marijuana in strict compliance
with state laws was not a good use
of their time.
called the memo an encouraging
step forward from the strict anti-
pot policies of the Bush administra-
tion. But many worried that the web
of laws in the 14 states that allow
medical marijuana use could still
leave medical marijuana providers
vulnerable to prosecution.
"Now we've got to figure out
what these words actually mean,"
said Wayne Justmann, a longtime
pro-pot activist in San Francisco
who campaigned for the 1996 ballot
measure that made California the
first state to legalize medical mari-
The state stands out for the

inconsistent enforcement of medi-
cal marijuana laws. There are as
many as 800 storefront pot shops in
Los Angeles just as some dispensary
owners are starting decades-long
sentences in federal prison. Some
cities are trying to clamp down
on medical marijuana, while oth-
ers offer permits and collect taxes
on dispensaries just like any other
small business.
The confusion makes some medi-
cal marijuana backers skeptical that
anyone can feel secure they are
clearly in compliance with state law
and safe from federal prosecution.
"There's just too much disagree-
ment about what the law is," said
Dale Gieringer, director of the
California chapter of The National
Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws. "The legality of
almost anything is in doubt in Cali-
fornia when it comes to dispensa-
On Monday, for example, a state
judge temporarily barred Los Ange-
les from enforcing a ban on medical
marijuana clinics, ruling that the
City Council failed to follow state
California also stands alone for
the widespread presence of store-
front dispensaries, but places to
legally obtain pot are starting to
sprout in other states. Colorado
also has dispensaries, and Rhode
Island and New Mexico are in the
process of licensing providers.
Marijuana is effective intreating
chronic pain and nausea, among

other ailments, advocates say. In the
past, federal agents have focused
on busting dispensaries they said
were using medical marijuana as a
front for traditional drug-dealing
and earning millions in the process.
The Justice Department's latest
memo suggests that approach will
"We will not tolerate drug traf-
fickers who hide behind claims of
compliance with state law to mask
activities that are clearly illegal,"
Attorney General Eric Holder said
in a statement.
The Justice Department memo
emphasizes that prosecutors have
wide discretion in choosing which
cases to pursue. In particular, the
memo urges prosecutors to pur-
sue marijuana cases which involve
violence, the illegal use of firearms,
selling pot to minors, money laun-
dering or involvement in other
The states that allow some use
of marijuana for medical purposes
are Alaska, California, Colorado,
Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michi-
gan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexi-
co, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont
and Washington, by the govern-
ment's count.

E-mail smilovitz@
michiga ndaily.com

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