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February 04, 2010 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-02-04

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 3A

Service sector
gauge shows growth
in January
The economy's service sector
grew in January for the first time
since September while the pace
of job losses moderated, a private
trade group said yesterday.
The Institute for Supply Man-
agement said its service sector
index rose to 50.5 last month from
a revised 49.8 in December. Econo-
mists polled by Thomson Reuters
had expected a reading of 51.
* Any reading above 50 signals
growth. That threshold was broken
in September for the first time in 13
months. The service sector's recov-
ery has been bumpy since, shrink-
ing in November and December.
ISM originally said December's
" measurement was 50.1, a growth
reading, but revised it lower to 49.8
in its yearly seasonal adjustment
late last month.
New orders, a signal of future
business activity, picked up in Jan-
uary, showing growth for the fifth
straight month. Business activity
also expanded in January, although
more slowly than in December.
Toyota: Vehicles
with no sticky
pedals are safe
0 Toyota says recalled vehicles
that have not experienced prob-
lems with their accelerator pedals
are safe to drive.
The automaker's comments
come after Transportation Sec-
retary Ray LaHood said that
* Toyota owners should stop driv-
ing recalled Toyota cars and
trucks. LaHood later told report-
ers he misspoke, saying drivers
of recalled vehicles should take
them to dealerships to have them
Toyota, which has recalled 2.3
million vehicles in the U.S. due
to the potential for sticky accel-
erators, says the problem is rare.
The automaker is shipping a fix
to dealerships around the country
this week.
BOGOTA, Colombia
Rights group urges
! control of militias
New militias have arisen to
replace Colombia's notorious
right-wing paramilitary groups
and they are committing the
same sorts of violence as their
* predecessors, a prominent inter-
national rights organization said
More than 31,000 fighters have
been demobilized from the para-
military coalition known as the
United Self-Defense Forces of
Colombia, or AUC, in recent years,
but dozens of newly emerged suc-
cessor groups have engaged in
activities ranging from mass mur-
der to extortion, according to New
York-based Human Rights Watch.
The paramilitaries were orga-

nized by rural landowners seek-
ing protection from leftist rebels,
but they soon became a power-
ful, lawless drug-dealing force
in much of the country. The U.S.
government has declared the
AUC a terrorist organization.
Anti-Semitic acts
* soar in France in
2009, group says
A group founded to protect
France's Jewish community says
anti-Semitic acts in France soared
75 percent last year - many com-
ing as Israel pressed an offensive
against Hamas in the Middle East
in January.
The Jewish Community Pro-
tection Service tallied 832 anti-
Semitic acts in 2009, up from
474 a year earlier. Most involved
graffiti and threatening gestures;
about 17 percent involved vandal-
ism and violence.
The group said yesterday that
354 took place in January 2009
V alone, when Israel ended a three-
week offensive against Pales-
tinian militant group Hamas in
response to rocket attacks from
France is home to western
Europe's largest communities of
* Muslims and Jews.
Flare-ups of anti-Semitic acts
have often coincided with Mid-
east violence.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports

Calif. town near
landfill hopeful
after EPA visit

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, listens to his Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, as he looks at engine of a
domestically-built satellite booster rocket capable of launching nuclear warheads.
nuclear compromise

Ahmadinejad says
he may export
uranium stockpile
VIENNA (AP) - Iran's effort
to revive talks on a deal that
would inhibit the country's abil-
ity to make a nuclear weapon
was met with skepticism by
world leaders yesterday, a reac-
tion to months of waffling by
Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's suggestion that
he would at last agree to export a
significant amount of uranium for
processing comes as the U.N. con-
siders a fourth round of sanctions.
against the country for failing to
rein in their nuclear program.
The timing raises suspicions that
Iran is just trying to buy time.
Iran now possesses more than
enough enriched uranium for at
least one nuclear warhead and
the U.N. Security Council has
demanded the Islamic Republic
freeze its enrichment program.
An agreement worked out by the
International Atomic Energy
Agency would delay Tehran's
ability to make such a weapon
by requiring the country to
export 70 percent of its urani-
um stock and then wait for up
to a year for it to be processed
and returned as fuel rods for a
research reactor.
Ahmadinejad stopped short
of accepting the agreement in
its entirety, offering a shorter
turnaround time for return of
the fuel rods. Iranian Foreign
Minister Manouchehr Mot-
taki described it as a "formula
which could build confidence."
Western reaction to the
plan was cautious, at best.
French Foreign Minister Ber-
nard Kouchner said he was
"perplexed," suggesting Iran
was stalling for time. Officials
from the U.S., Britain and
Germany were also skeptical.
The announcement came
amid other mixed signals
by Iran, which on Wednes-
day launched a menagerie -
including a mouse, two turtles
and worms - into space on a
research rocket.
The Iranian space program
has worried Western powers,
which fear the same technol-
ogy used to launch satellites
and research capsules could
also be used to build long-
range missiles and deliver
warheads. Ahmadinejad said
the launch showed Iran could
defeat the West in the battle of
"The launch was clearly
part of Iran's effort to advance
military technology and assert
political dominance in space,"
said James Lewis senior fel-
low at the Washington-based
Center for Strategic and Inter-
national Studies. "It's also
a show of confidence. Space
rockets give you prestige and
influence, and that is what
Iran seeks."
Questions were also raised
about Ahmadinejad's state-
ment Tuesday that the U.S.
and Tehran were discuss-
ing a swap of three American
hikers being held in Tehran
for Iranians in U.S. prisons.
U.S. Secretary of State Hill-
ary Rodham Clinton yester-

day denied there were any
such negotiations and ruled
out the suggested swap. Clin-
ton said that the hikers and
other Americans jailed in Iran
should be released immediate-
ly on humanitarian grounds
because there is no basis for

their continued detention.
On the nuclear front, it was
unclear what Ahmadinejad
was willing to concede when
it comes to the plan, which has
been endorsed by the U.S., Rus-
sia, China, Britain, France and
For months, Iranian officials
have said they were not prepared
to export the bulk of their stock-
pile. The comments by Ahma-
dinejad - that Iran will have "no
problem" in shipping the uranium
out and taking it back in its new
form several months later - thus
were potentially significant.
His time frame of four or five
months, however, appeared to
fall short of the year that West-
ern officials say it would take for
Iran's enriched fuel to be turned
into fuel rods.
If that difference cannot be
bridged, it could allow Iranian
officials to assert that the deal
failed due to Western foot-drag-
ging, despite their readiness to
accept the basics of the proposed
Ahmadinejad also did not
address whether his country

was ready to ship out most of its
stockpile in one batch -- another
key condition.
Experts believe Tehran would
need at least a year to replen-
ish its stockpile at its present
rate of uranium enrichment.
Incremental exports of smaller
amounts - as previously pro-
posed by Iran - could allow it
to replenish its stock through its
own program, providing enough
material for a warhead.
Iran's past record of playing
for time during nuclear negotia-
tions also feeds skepticism.
World powers emerged from
nuclear talks in September, their
first with Iran in over a year,
ebullient about what they said
was Tehran's tentative accep-
tance of the fuel swap plan.
Tehran subsequently balked
and began offering unacceptable
It also kept the IAEA wait-
ing for an answer until a few
weeks ago, when diplomats told
The Associated Press that it
delivered a rejection of the pro-
posal to Director General Yukiya

Six children within
18-month period
have birth defects
(AP) - It was the day the families
of this rural farm community had
long awaited.
After nearly two years of plead-
ing for someone to listen to their
concerns about an abnormally high
number of birth defects, families
bonded by the suffering of their
children got one of the biggest ears
in the West yesterday.
Jared Blumenfeld, newly
appointed regional director of the
EPA's Pacific Southwest division,
sat as mothers of modest means
hugged sonsbornwithcleftpalates.
The mothers believe six chil-
dren were born in the area with
defects during an 18-month peri-
od because they live three miles
downwind from the biggest haz-
ardous waste landfill west of the
Mississippi River.
"The medical people tell us we
have to have evidence before we
can say they are the ones who are
to blame," said Daria Hernandez,
whose 20-month-old son Ivan
has been through two surgeries
to repair a cleft palate and needs
more treatment.
Blumenfeld has promised to
determine what his agency has
done to analyze whether the prob-
lemis linked to the Chemical Waste
Management Inc. landfill, which
wants to expand. Bob Henry, man-
ager of the waste facility, maintains
the operation is safe and hopes the
government scrutiny will improve
lives of the community.
Kettleman City, population
1,500, is a crossroads on Interstate
5, California's main north-south
artery. Thousands of diesel trucks
pass by every day. The town also
is bisected by high-tension power
lines and surrounded by the farm
fields where many of the residents
work in fields sprayed with pesti-

cides and chemical fertilizers.
The mother want to know what is
to blame for the problems if not the
landfill full of PCBs and pesticides.
We are asking him to support
us because a lot of women are
scared," Hernandez said. "We
have so many questions."
Blumenfeld met privately with
families after a private tour of the
waste facility. The families said
afterward that Blumenfeld spoke
generally about the need for bet-
ter health monitoring. They called
it a victory.
"They made a promise that they
would investigate, and I hope they
keep the promise," said Magdalena
Romero, whose daughter who died
of Crone's disease would have been
2 on Tuesday.
Blumenfeld said little about
the meetings that his aides had
described earlier as a listening ses-
"It's an emotional thing to talk
about," he said after spending 80
minutes in the home of Maura
Alatorre, whose son, Emmannuel
was born 2 years ago with a cleft
palate. "I learned a lot, and, hope-
fully, they feel better being able to
Afterward he issued a written
statement thanking the families
for sharingtheir stories.
"I am deeply moved by their
honesty and ability to speak so
candidly about their heartbreaking
experiences," Blumenfeld said.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
has promised that two state agen-
cies would look intothe health issue
after being hounded for nearly two
years by Greenaction, an environ-
mental justice group. The birth
defects became a rallying point last
year for residents trying to stop the
expansion plans ofthewaste facility.
Their stories of miscarriages
and the photographs they car-
ried of children with facial defects
failed to convince the Kings
County Board of Supervisors that
the company's expansion plans
should not go forward.



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