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November 12, 2009 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-11-12

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 3A

Obama rebukes
Afghanistan plans
President Barack Obama does not
plan to accept any of the Afghani-
stan war options presented by his
national security team, pushing
instead for revisions to clarify how
and when U.S. troops would turn
over responsibility to the Afghan
government, a senior administra-
tion official said yesterday.
That pushfollows strongreserva-
tions about a possible troop buildup
expressed by the U.S. ambassador
in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry,
according to a second top adminis-
tration official. In strongly worded
classified cables to Washington,
Eikenberry said he had misgivings
about sending in new troops while
there are still so many questions
about the leadership of Afghan
President Hamid Karzai.
Obamaisstillclose to announcing
his revamped war strategy - most
likely shortly after he returns from
a trip to Asia that ends on Nov. 19.
But the president raised ques-
tions at a war council meeting
Wednesday that could alter the
dynamic of both how many addi-
tional troops are sent to Afghani-
stan and what the timeline would
be for their presence in the war
zone, according to the official, who
spoke on condition of anonymity to
discuss Obama's thinking.
EMUto offer in-state
tuition to veterans
Eastern Michigan University
says it will start letting military
veterans from outside the state pay
the lower in-state tuition rates.
The tuition break is available to
veterans with at least one year of
service who receive honorable or
medical discharges.
The Ypsilanti school says the
break applies to 24 credit hours per
Last year, Eastern Michigan
began offeringin-state tuition rates
to active duty members of the U.S.
Universityveterans services Direc-
tor Shaftone Dunklin says the pro-
gram recognizes that members of the
armed forces defend the entire coun-
try and not just individual states.
The university's trustees
approved the EMU Vet Connect
Award at their October meeting.
0 SEOUL, South Korea
Navel clash outcry
North Korea warned South
Korea today that it could face con-
sequences over a naval clash that
occurred between the rival coun-
=tries off their west coast earlier this
The North's government-run
Minju Joson newspaper said in
a commentary that South Korea
would face "costly consequences" if
it continues to assume a confronta-
tional posture against the North.
The commentary, carried by the
did not specify what consequences
the South would face if it continues

to provoke tension and blame the
North for the maritime incident.
It said the clash stemmed from a
plot by the South to disrupt direct
talks that are planned between
Pyongyang and Washington by
inspiring anti-North Korea senti-
N'ment among American officials.
Doctors saythey had
-prior concerns about
' $4Fort Hood shooter
A group of doctors overseeing
Nidal Malik Hasan's medical train-
ing discussed concerns about his
overly zealous religious views and
strange behavior months before the
Army major was accused of a shoot-
ing rampage at Fort Hood, Texas,
that left 13 dead and 29 wounded.
Doctors and staff overseeing
Hasan's training viewed him at
times as belligerent, defensive
and argumentative in his frequent
discussions of his Muslim faith, a
military official familiar with sev-
eral group discussions about Hasan
said. The official was not autho-
rized to speak publicly about the
meetings and spoke on condition of
Hasan was characterized in
meetings as a mediocre student and
lazy worker, a matter of concern
amongthe doctors and staff at Wal-
ter Reed Army Medical Center and
the Uniformed Services University
of the Health Sciences, a military
medical school in Bethesda, Md.,
the official said.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

GM looks to Regal and Cruze for profits

Buick Regal and
Chevrolet Cruze
expected to be GM's
top sellers in 2011
DETROIT (AP) - Two General
Motors cars due in showrooms next
year must be hits to help the auto-
maker turn around sales and pay
back its big debt to U.S. taxpayers.
The Buick Regal midsize sedan
and Chevrolet Cruze compact, both
sold in key segments of the U.S. car
market, face stiff competition and
other obstacles to success.
GM was to roll out the Regal on
Thursday in Los Angeles, and it's
counting on the sleek-looking sedan
to claw out a new market for the
once-stodgy Buick, now the official
brand of bingo night at the senior
Buick has been absent from the
tough midsize market since 2004,
while the Cruze was recently put on
hold because GM wasn't happy with
how it drove.
Executives have high hopes
that the Regal, much of it designed
by GM's Opel engineers in Rues-
selsheim, Germany, can help bring
younger buyers to Buick, crucial to

the brand's long-term growth. Cur-
rently the median age of a Buick
customer is around 68, but GM is
targeting new models for those in
their 40s and 50s, said Craig Bierley,
Buick's product marketing director.
"Clearly having a midsize entry
is absolutely critical for us,"Bierley
Buick sales so far this year are
down 33 percent compared with
last year, worse than the overall U.S.
market, which is off 25 percent.
Midsize cars like Toyota's
Camry, the perennial sales leader,
are attractive to young families and
baby boomers who are downsizing
their vehicles. They typically can
haul five people and have decent
trunk space. Also, several entries
get well over 30 mpg on the high-
way, making them the default buy
for those who need space but are
concerned about the return of $4
per gallon gasoline.
So far this year, the midsize seg-
ment is the biggest part of the U.S.
car market, making up 47 percent
of sales. Camry dominates the seg-
ment with 294,000 sales.
GM has no margin for error with
the Regal or any other new vehicle,
said David Koehler, a clinical mar-
keting professor at the University of
Illinois at Chicago.

"Their success in the future is
riding on these new launches," he
The new Regal, due in show-
rooms in the second quarter of next
year, is aimed at those who want a
car that's fun to drive yet is practi-
cal. The Regal has three ride set-
tings (normal sport and touring)
and is smart enough to tailor the
car to the way people drive, Bierley
The Regal is designed to compete
with the sporty Acura TSX made by
the Honda luxury brand, and the
Volvo S60.
Pricing wasn't announced, but
it will be between the mainstream
midsize Chevrolet Malibu at $21,325
and the $27,835 base price of a larg-
er new Buick, the LaCrosse, aimed
at luxury buyers.
The flabby old Regal, discontin-
ued five years ago in partbecause it
couldn't compete with the Camry
and Honda's Accord, bears little
resemblance to the new one, which
Bierley said is equipped only with
four-cylinder engines to boost fuel
At first the car will have only
one engine choice, a 2.4-liter, 182
horsepower powerplant that gets
around 30 mpg on the freeway. By
next summer, a 220-horsepower

The 2011 Buick Regal sedan will be rolled out during an event in Lost Angeles. Gen-
eral Motors officials are counting on its new design to open a new rarket for Buick.

2-liter turbocharged four with
power comparable to a V-6 also will
be available.
Stephanie Brinley, an analyst
with the AutoPacific marketing and
consulting firm, predicts that GM
will sell about 40,000 Regals in its

first full year, not a huge number
but enough to bring critical profits
to GM. Last year, Acura sold almost
exactly 40,000 TSX models.
"It doesn't really matter how
many they sell of the Regal. It mat-
ters if it's profitable," she said.

Reid considers payroll tax hike on wealthy

If adopted, Senate
majority leader's
proposal would fund
health care reform
WASHINGTON (AP) - Majority
Leader Harry Reid is considering
a plan for higher payroll taxes on
the upper-income earners to help
finance health care legislation he
intends to introduce in the Senate
in the next several days, numerous
Democratic officials said yesterday.
These officials said one of the
options Reid has had under review
would raise the payroll tax that
goes to Medicare, but only on
income above $250,000 a year. Cur-
rent law sets the tax at 1.45 percent

of income, an amount matched by
It was not known how large an
increase Reid, D-Nev., was con-
sidering, or whether it would also
apply to a company's portion of the
tax. President Barack Obama has
said he will not raise taxes on wage
earners making less than $250,000.
The officials spoke only on condi-
tion of anonymity, saying they were
not authorized to disclose details of
private deliberations.
Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley,
declined comment and said the
majority leader has made no final
decisions and is awaiting detailed
information from the Congressio-
nal Budget Office aboutthe cost and
coverage implications of the pro-
posals he has drafted.
Reid sent his proposals to the

CBO more than two weeks ago and
recently took the first step on the
Senate floor to begin a debate on
health care as early as next week.
The House passed its version
of the legislation late last week on
a near party line vote of 220-215,
a victory for Obama as well as his
allies in Congress.
In general, the House-passed
measure and the one Reid is
expected to propose are designed to
expand coverage to tens of millions
of uninsured, eliminate insurance
industry practices such as denying
coverage on the basis of pre-exist-
ing medical conditions, and slow
the overall rate of growth in health
care spending nationally.
Reid has been merging bills
cleared earlier by two separate
committees but has a virtual free

hand in the bill he crafts.
On one contentious issue, he
has already said his measure will
include an option for consumers to
purchase health care from the gov-
ernment asa way to create competi-
tion with private companies. States
could drop out of the system.
The House bill is significantly
more generous in providing subsi-
dies to help lower-income individu-
als and families afford coverage,
and Reid is under pressure to find
additional financing. Addition-
ally, a Senate Finance Committee-
approved proposal to tax very
high-cost insurance policies has
drawn criticism from organized
labor, which wants it either modi-
fied or dropped altogether.
The House-passed legislation
includes a surtax of 5.4 percent on

income above $500,000 for indi-
viduals and $1 million for couples, a
proposal that has drawn little if any
backing in the Senate.
The House's passage of a health
care bill was marked by last-min-
ute controversy over abortion, the
result of far-reaching restrictions
that foes of the procedure suc-
ceeded in inserting into the mea-
sure. Nogovernment-run insurance
plan could cover abortions, except
in cases of rape, incest or if the life
of the mother were in danger. Nor
could any health plan provide abor-
tion coverage except for those three
exceptions if any of its customers
received federal subsidies.
Obama has called for changes to
ease the restrictions, and it was not
passedbillwouldhaveonthe Senate.

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President Barack Obama participated in a traditional Veteran's Day ceremony in front of the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arling-
ton National Cemetery before visiting a section of the cemetery for fallen soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts,
Obama honors veterans
at Arlington cemetery

Following tradition,
President Obama
leads ceremony at
Tomb of the Unkowns
a cold, rain-soaked Veterans Day,
President Barack Obama walked
slowly through the white, stone
markers at the section of Arlington
National Cemetery reserved for
troops killed in Iraq and Afghani-
stan, the two wars he oversees as
commander in chief.
Obama led the nation yesterday in
observingVeterans Day with atradi-
Tomb of the Unknowns at Arling-
ton before an unannounced visit to
the section reserved for those who
fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We gather here mindful that
the generation serving today
already deserves a place alongside
previous generations for the cour-
age they have shown and the sacri-
fices that they have made," Obama
said in a brief speech following the
wreath-laying. Obama pledged he
would do right by all veterans and
families, saying: "America will not
let you down."
The president spoke one day
after honoring the victims of a
shooting rampage at Fort Hood,

Texas. He said he was struck by the
determination of the soldiers there,
a quality that unites generations of
American servicemen.
"To allof them - to our veterans,
to the fallen and to their families -
there is no tribute, no commemora-
tion, no praise that can truly match
the magnitude of your service and
your sacrifice," he said.
from remembrances at the nation's
capital to a New York City parade
to ceremonies in towns and cities
across the nation and overseas.
At Camp Eggers in Kabul,ssoldiers
observed a moment of silence for the
more than 800 U.S. service members
have died in Afghanistan, Pakistan
and Uzbekistan since the 2001 inva-
sion to oust the Taliban regime.
The Navajo Code Talkers
were special guests at the New
York parade's opening ceremony,
where a wreath was laid at the
World War I Eternal Light Monu-
ment in Madison Square Park. As
young Marines during World War
II, the Code Talkers used secret
Navajo language-encrypted mili-
tary terms that the Japanese were
never able to crack.
As the Code Talkers were intro-
duced, the crowd - which includ-
ed World War It veteran and actor
Tony Curtis - let out a loud cheer.
Boston College dedicated a
70-foot-long granite wall bearing

the names of 209 alumni who lost
their lives while serving in a war
zone. Bells tolled in three sets of 11
from the college's historic Gasson
Tower, symbolizing the exact time
that an armistice was declared in
World War I. Harvard unveiled a
plaque on campus to honor the uni-
versity's alumni who have received
the Medal of Honor. The university
has 16 winners.
Hundreds of Minnesota military
veterans and family members filled
a community center gymnasium
in the suburbs of St. Paul to hear
words of thanks from state political
leaders. The ceremony drew vet-
erans ranging from young enlisted
soldiers to retired generals.
"The title of veteran deserves
great respect in America," Minne-
sota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. "Vet-
eran stands for a life dedication to
our nation's greatest cause - the
cause of freedom."
Among the deadin the Fort Hood
shooting rampage was Pfc. Kham
Xiongof St. Paul. He was mentioned
in several speeches Wednesday and
singled out for recognition during
the invocation.
An American Red Cross event
in Washington kicked off the start
of a program called Holiday Mail
for Heroes, which lets the public
send holiday greeting cards that
aren't addressed to a particular
service member.

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