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February 03, 2010 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-02-03

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 3A

* The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 3A

NEWS BRIEFS
" DETROIT
School workers
plead guilty in
fraud case
Two former Detroit Public
Schools employees have pleaded
guilty to conspiring to defraud
the district of nearly $380,000.
U.S. Attorney Barbara
McQuade says 45-year-old Toni
Gilbert and 56-year-old Anton
Carter entered the pleas yester-
day in federal court in Detroit.
Gilbert had worked as a pay-
roll manager and issued checks
to Carter between 2000 and
2005. Carter, a DPS retiree, also
was receiving disability checks
from the district.
Federal authorities accuse
Carter of giving Gilbert a portion
of the money cashed from the
payroll checks.
McQuade also says Gilbert
acknowledged issuing paychecks
to deceased district employees.
Sentencing is May 18 for Gil-
bert and June 1 for Carter.
ACAPULCO, Mexico.
Third Mexican
journalist killed
this year
Gunmen have slain a Mexican
journalist - the third such kill-
ing so far this year - and a top
prosecutor said yesterday there
are few clues.
" Albertano Guinto, the acting
attorney general in the Pacific
coast state of Guerrero, said it
was not yet clear if the death
of Jorge Ochoa Martinez was
linked to his work as director of
El Sol de la Costa, a small news-
paper that covers mostly local
politics and community issues
southeast of Acapulco.
Ocho Martinez was shot in
the face as he left a food stand in
the town of Ayutla on Friday.
Two other Mexican journal-
ists were killed in early January,
and 12 reporters were killed in
Mexico during 2009.
The governmental National
Human Rights Commission said
that 60 journalists have been
killed since 2000, with eight oth-
ers kidnapped or vanished.
NEW ORLEANS
Man pleads guilty
to making death
threats against
President Obama
* A 47-year-old New Orleans
man has pleaded guilty to making
death threats against President
Barack Obama. .
John Turnpaugh entered the
pleainfederalcourtyesterday. He
also pleaded guilty to possessing
marijuana with the intent to dis-
tribute and possessing firearms to
aid his drug trafficking.
According to court records,
Turnpaugh admitted calling a
New Orleans Police Department
911 operator on Dec. 30 and say-

ing he was going to kill the Presi-
dent and his wife.
After agents traced the call to
him and played a recording of it,
authorities say Turnpaugh admit-
ted he was the person who made
the call.
Turnpaugh faces a maximum
sentence of life in prison.
ALGIERS, Algeria
Algeria wants to
get off U.S. air
travel watch list
Algeria's interior minister is
threatening to reply in kind if
his country remains on U.S. and
French special terrorism-related
air travel watch lists.
Algeria says it is "unaccept-
able" for the North African nation
to be on such lists.
Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni
reiterated that yesterday, say-
ing, "if this is truly necessary, we
should apply the rule of reciproc-
ity."
The United States has directed
airlines to give full-body pat-
downs to U.S.-bound travelers
from Algeria and 13 other coun-
tries. Algeria is among seven
countries on a French list.
Algeria, an ally of France and
the U.S., battled an Islamic insur-
gency for more than a decade.
The safety precautions fol-
lowed a botched effort by a Nige-
rian to blow up an airliner over
Detroit on Christmas.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

Top military
officer says
gays should
serve openly.

AP/Tar Todras-Whitehill
Israeli women sit in a solidarity tent calling for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in Jerusalem yesterday.
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip claimed they had sent a series of floating bombs toward Israeli beaches, saying the
attempted attacks were meant to avenge the mysterious death of a Hamas operative in Dubai last month.
M1iitants pledge to float
bombs toward Israel

Officers criticize
"Don't ask, Don't
tell" policy
WASHINGTON (AP) - The
military's top uniformed officer
declared yesterday that gays should
be allowed to serve openly in uni-
form, arguing that it is "the right
thing to do."
Adm. Mike Mullen's statement
was the strongest yet from the uni-
formed military on this volatile
issue, although he stressed that
he was "speaking for myself and
myself only." He told the Senate
Armed Services Committee yester-
day he is deeply troubled by a policy
that forces people to "lie about who
they are in order to defend their fel-
low citizens."
Mullen said he knows many will
disagree about abandoning the
"don't ask, don't tell" policy and
said there are practical obstacles
to lifting the 1993 ban. But he said
he thinks the military can handle
it. Mullen is chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff and chief mili-
tary adviser to President Barack
Obama.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates
told the panelhe is tapping his chief
legal adviser and a four-star Army
general to lead a landmark study on
how the military would lift its ban
on openly gay service members.
Pentagon counsel Jeh Johnson
and Gen. Carter Ham, who leads
Army forces in Europe, will con-

duct the yearlong assessment.
Sen. John McCain, the ranking
committtee Republican, publicly
bristled at the Pentagon's decision
to launch a yearlong study into
allowing gays to serve, saying he
is "deeply disappointed" and call-
ing the assessment "clearly biased"
because it presumes the law should
be changed.
McCain, the top Republican on
the Armed Services Committee,
said the current policy is not ideal,
but that it has been effective.
McCain said he wanted to hear
more from the military on this
issue. But Defense Secretary Rob-
ert Gates suggested that lawmakers
keep the intensity of debate in tow
until the military can get a better
handle on how to proceed. He told
the panel: "Keep the impact it will
have on our forces firmly in mind."
Ham is a former enlisted infan-
tryman who rose through the ranks
to eventually command troops in
northern Iraq in 2004 and, hold
senior positions within the Joint
Staff. Recently, he helped conduct
an investigation into the shootings
by a soldier at the Fort Hood Army
base in Texas.
As the Pentagon's top legal coun-
sel, Johnson has played an integral
role into the effort to try to close
the military prison in Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba.
Gates' announcement marked
a measured step toward President
Barack Obama's goal of eliminating
the military's policy against gays,
which is based on a 1993 law.

Explosives
launched to avenge
Hamas leader death
JERUSALEM (AP) - Pales-
tinian militants said Tuesday
they had launched a large num-
ber of floating explosives into the
Mediterranean Sea to avenge the
death of a top Hamas command-
er, a day after two bomb-laden
barrels washed up on Israel's
coastline.
Israeli authorities launched an
intensive search for new bombs,
closing miles of beaches, deploy-
ing robotic bomb squads and
ordering surfers out of the wintry
waters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benja-
min Netanyahu blamed Hamas
and hinted at retaliation.
Early Wednesday, Israeli war-
planes struck two smuggling tun-
nels under the Gaza-Egypt border
in response to the barrel bombs
and the firing of a rocket from
Gaza, the military said. Such air-
strikes are automatic reactions to
militant attacks.
Abu Saed, a spokesman for
the Popular Resistance Commit-
tees, a Gaza faction with close
ties to Hamas, said the attack
was meant to avenge the killing
last month of Mahmoud al-Mab-
houh, a veteran Hamas operative
who Israeli defense officials say
was involved in smuggling rock-
ets into Gaza.
Hamas says Israeli Mossad
agents ambushed al-Mabhouh in
his Dubai hotel room, immobi-
lized him with an electrical shock
and strangled him to death.
Israel has refused to comment
on the allegations.
"We confirm that there are
still many of these charges in the
ocean, and they haven't explod-
ed yet," Abu Saed said, standing
alongside five other gunmen in

military fatigues.
In Jerusalem, Netanyahu
accused Hamas, which rules
Gaza, of being behind the opera-
tion, with support from Iran and
Syria.
"We view with great sever-
ity the Hamas operation near the
Gaza beach, and we will respond
accordingly," he said, without
elaborating.
On Monday afternoon, a bar-
rel bomb washed up on the beach
of Ashkelon, about nine miles
(15 kilometers) north of Gaza. A
few hours later, another one was
found at Ashdod, six miles (10
kilometers) farther north.
Each had about 22 pounds (10
kilograms ) of explosives, police
said. They said bombs of that size
could cripple small civilian ves-
sels but not Israeli warships.
The barrels should not pose
a threat to shipping lanes in the
east Mediterranean since the
tides would just carry them back
to shore.
The second barrel blew up as
a police robot was examining it,
sending the tractor-like device
tumbling through the air, accord-
ing to witnesses. A police bomb
squad defused the other one. No
one was hurt.
. Maritime authorities warned
sailors and fishermen to be alert
to possible dangers in the waters.
In Ashdod, a crane-like robot
crawled along the beach, prod-
ding suspicious objects.
The military linked the bar-
rels to two explosions at sea on
Friday, aimed at Israeli ships.
Israeli analysts speculated that
the beach barrels might have
been meant for ships but floated
ashore instead.
"The attack was an intended
terrorist attack that failed," police
spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
He did not refer to the Hamas
threat of retaliation.
On Tuesday, Iran joined Hamas

in publicly accusing Israel of car-
rying out the al-Mabhouh assas-
sination, calling it "yet another
example of state-sponsored Israe-
li terrorism."
Israel, the EU and the United
States shun Hamas as a terror
group. Hamas overran Gaza in
2007, expelling forces loyal to
Western-backed PalestinianPres-
ident Mahmoud Abbas, who now
controls only the West Bank. .
In response, Israel clamped a
blockade on Gaza, allowing only
essential humanitarian supplies
to enter.
Late Tuesday, Palestinian
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said
the West Bank and Gaza must be
reunited under a single govern-
ment, but he did not say how that
would be done. Fayyad also told
an Israeli security conference that
Israel's blockade must be lifted.
"It is wrong," he said.
Addressing the same confer-
ence, Israeli Defense Minister
Ehud Barak said if Israel does not
reach a peace deal to relinquish
control of Palestinian population
centers, "(Israel) will have to be
either a binational or undemo-
cratic (state). ... If this bloc of
millions of Palestinians cannot
vote, that will be an apartheid
state."
Israel launched a three-week
offensive in Gaza a year ago to try
to stop years of near-daily rocket
barrages by Palestinian militants.
About 1,400 Palestinians, many
of them civilians, were killed
in the massive operation.Since
then, rocket fire has dropped con-
siderably, and Hamas has been
seen to keep an informal cease-
fire, though other groups have
attempted to carry out attacks.
A rocket exploded in Israel on
Tuesday, the military said, causing
no damage. A previously unknown
Palestinian militantgroup claimed
responsibility on an Islamic Web
site.

Ahmadinej ad
proposes
prisoner swap
for U.S. hikers

Obama's Las Vegas spending
remark upsets Nev. officials

Pres.: Americans
shouldn't blow
cash in Vegas
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Nevada
lawmakers lashed out at Presi-
dent Barack Obama yesterday
after he made another reference
to Las Vegas while explaining
how people should make .tough
choices on spending.
The issue is sensitive to Sin City
because its economy is largely
based ontourism, and several law-
makers said they were shocked
that Obama singled out Las Vegas
again after commenting one year
ago about bailed-out banks hold-
ing meetings here.
"When times are tough, you
tighten your belts," Obama said,
according to a White House tran-
script of his appearance yesterday
at a high school in North Nashua,
N.H.
"You don't go buying a boat
when you can barely pay your
mortgage," Obama said. "You
don't blow a bunch of cash on
Vegas when you're trying to save
for college. You prioritize. You
make tough choices."
The comments quickly sparked

a flurry of reaction from federal,
state and local lawmakers in the
Silver State, which had an unem-
ployment rate of 13 percent in
December.
"I'll do everythingI can to give
him the boot," Las Vegas Mayor
Oscar Goodman said during a
hastily called news conference,
adding that he was incensed
when he heard about the com-
ments and said he would no lon-
ger welcome the president here if
he visits.
"This president is a real slow
learner," said Goodman,who isnot
affiliated with a political party.
"Enough is enought" Demo-
cratic Congresswoman Shelley
Berkley said in a statement. "Pres-
ident Obama needs to stop picking
on Las Vegas and he needs to let
Americans decide for themselves
how and where to spend their
hard-earned vacation dollars."
Nevada's economy has been
hit hard with foreclosures,
unemployment and bankrupt-
cies during the past two years as
consumers everywhere tighten
leisure spending and companies
spend less on meetings and con-
ventions.
Harry Reid, Democratic Senate
majority leader and one ofObama's

closest allies, issued a statement
headlined "Reid to Obama: 'Lay
off Las Vegas"' and was unusually
blunt in his reaction.
"The President needs to lay
off Las Vegas and stop mak-
ing it the poster child for where
people shouldn't be spending
their money," Reid said. "I would
much rather tourists and busi-
ness travelers spend their money
in Las Vegas than spend it over-
seas."
Reid later released a letter he
received from Obama in which
the president said he "wasn't say-
ing anything negative about Las
Vegas."
"I was making the simple point
that families use vacation dollars,
not college tuition money, to have
fun," Obama said, according to the
letter. "There is no place better to
have fun than Vegas, one of our
country's great destinations."
Obama said he always enjoys
his visits to Las Vegas.
A White House spokesman
referred to Obama's letter to Reid
and said the administration had
no further comment.
Sen. John Ensign, a Repub-
lican, complained that Obama
"failed to grasp the weight that
his words carry."

Iran president
willing to exchange
three Americans
for prisoners
TEHRAN (AP) - Iranian pres-
ident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on
Tuesday proposed a swap of Ira-
nians in U.S. prisons for three
American hikers being held in
Tehran.
Ahmadinejad said in inter-
view with state TV that there
were ongoing negotiations about
exchanging the hikers for several
Iranians jailed for years in the
United States.
"There are some talks under
way to have an exchange, if it is
possible," he said. "Recently they
(the U.S.) have sent messages, we
answered to bring them (the Ira-
nians), to bring these people (the
hikers). We are hopeful that all
prisoners will be released."
Ahmadinejad did not mention
any specifics but in December
Iran released a list of 11 Iranians
it says are being held in the U.S. -
including a nuclear scientist who
disappeared in Saudi Arabia and a
former Defense Ministry official
who vanished in Turkey. The list
also includes an Iranian arrested
in Canada on charges of trying to
obtain nuclear technology.
"I had said I would helpinreleas-
ing them, but the attitude of some of
U.S. officials damages the job," said
Ahmadinejad. "There are a large
number of Iranians in prison in the
U.S. They have abducted some of
our citizens in other countries."
Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and
Josh Fattal were hiking in Iraq's
northern Kurdistan region in July
when they accidentally crossed
the border into Iran, their families
have said.
Samantha Topping, a New York
City-based spokeswoman for the
threefamilies, saidtheyhadnocom-
ment on Ahmadinejad's remarks.
The White House, through a
spokesman, called the reports
"fragmentary."

"IfPresidentAhmadinejad'scom-
ments suggest that they are prepared
to resolve these cases, we would
welcome that step," National Secu-
rity Council spokesman Mike Ham-
mer said. "But we have not entered
into any discussion with Iran about
an exchange. As we have indicated
publicly, if Iran has questions about
its citizens in U.S. custody, we are
prepared to answer them."
Iran's foreign minister said in
late December that the three would
be tried in court, but he did not say
when a trial would begin or what
the three would be charged with
other than to say they had "suspi-
cious aims." Earlier, the country's
chief prosecutor said they were
accused of spying.
Their families have said that's
ludicrous and last month hired an
Iranian attorney to press the case.
Ahmadinejad said there were
"indications they knew they were
crossing into Iran."
The last time anyone sympathetic
saw the three was at the end of Octo-
ber, when Swiss diplomats were
granted a short visit. The U.S. has
no diplomatic relationship with Iran
and isrepresentedinsuchmattersby
the Swiss. At the time, the diplomats
said the three were ingood health.
Their jailing comes amid con-
tinued tension between the U.S.
and Iran over that nation's nuclear
program.
When the list of 11 Iranians came
out State Department spokesman
P.J. Crowley said it appeared the
Iranian government was trying to
suggest some kind of equivalence
between the hikers and Iranians
that had left Iran.
"There really is no equivalence at
all," he said at the time.
Three of the Iranians on the list
have been convicted or charged
in public court proceedings in the
United States. The circumstances
surrounding some of the others are
more mysterious.
Ali Reza Asgari, a retired
general in the elite Revolution-
ary Guard and a former deputy
defense minister, disappeared
while on a private trip to Turkey
in December 2006.

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