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March 18, 2010 - Image 3

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I* The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 3A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 3A

NEWS BRIEFS
WASHINGTON
Obama says nuclear
Iran could trigger
arms race
President Barack Obama says a
nuclear-armed Iran could trigger an
arms race in the Middle East, some-
thing his administration wants to
avnid.
Obama told Fox News Channel's
Bret Baier that keeping Tehran
without a nuclear weapon is one of
his highest priorities. Baier asked
Obama if a nuclear-armed Tehran
would be a failure of his administra-
tion. Obama's reply was to empha-
size work already under way among
international partners to isolate
Iran.
Iran has accelerated its nuclear
program despite previous U.N. pen-
alties, but the United States and
some of its allies say a renewed dem-
onstration of world resolve could
finally push Iran to negotiate.
BEIJING
Life sentence for
Chinese supreme
court judge upheld
A court in northern China has
upheld a life sentence for a former
supreme court judge convicted of
embezzlement and bribery, a state-
run newspaper reported.
Huang Songyou, former vice
president of the Supreme People's
Court, is the highest judge to be
tried and convicted on such charg-
es, part of a continuing battle by
the Communist Party against deep-
seated corruption.
The Hebei Province People's
High Court yesterday upheld the
life sentence handed down by a
lower court in January, the Legal
Evening News reported. Huang had
no reaction after the decision was
announced, the newspaper said, cit-
ing lawyer Gao Zicheng.
Huang, 52, was accused of tak-
ing 3.9 million yuan ($574,000) in
bribes from a law firm in return for
favorable rulings on cases between
2005 and 2008.
Hewas alsochargedwith embez-
zling 1.2 million yuan ($176,000) in
government funds while serving as
president of a city-level court in the
southern province of Guangdong in
1997.
Huang was fired and expelled
from the Communist Party in
August. The official Xinhua News
Agency has said he confessed to
the charges during the investiga-
tion and that most of the bribes
and embezzled funds were recov-
ered.
LANSING, Mich.
® Detroit state police
post could be closed
A House subcommittee has pro-
posed closing the Michigan State
Police post in Detroit.
The budget bill was approved by
the subcommittee yesterday. It next
goes to the House Appropriations
Committee.
Democratic Rep. Richard LeB-
lanc says the proposal includes

transferring the state troopers in
Detroit to other posts and spending
more money on state police crime
labs than Gov. Jennifer Granholm
has proposed. He said all of Wayne
County is patrolled by either sher-
iff's deputies or local departments.
The Michigan State Police
oppose the proposal to close the
Detroit post.
The Senate Appropriations Com-
mittee yesterday approved several
budgets including 3 percent cuts to
university and community college
funding and another $118-per-stu-
dent reduction to K-12 schools.
WASHINGTON
Biden makes gaffe
at White House
St. Patrick's event
Vice President Joe Biden asked
for God's blessing for the late
mother of Irish Prime Minis-
ter Brian Cowen during a White
House celebration of St. Patrick's
Day - except the elderly lady is
very much alive.
"God rest her soul," Biden said
last night as he introduced Cowen
and President Barack Obama. He
quickly caught himself and noted
that it's Cowen's father who is no
longer living. Of the prime minis-
ter's mother, Biden said, "God bless
her soul."
Biden then cited the Irish prov-
erb that "a silent mouth is sweet to
hear" and yielded the podium to the
president.
-Compiled from
Daily wire reports

KM. CHAUDARY/AP
A Pakistani court charged five Americans yesterday with planning terrorist attacks in Pakistan and conspiring to wage war
against nations allied with Pakistan.
Court in Pakista n charges
5 Americans as ter-rorists

State prison
numb ers fall
for first time'
since 1972
Incarceration rate According to official state data
collected by the Pew Center,
falls .4 percent 1,403,091 people were under the
jurisdiction of state prison authori-
amidst state ties on Jan. 1, down by 5,739 from
a year earlier. The report, being
budget crises released Wednesday, said this was
the first year-to-year drop in the
NEW YORK (AP) - Spurred state prison population since 1972;
by budget crises, California and when there were about 174,000
Michigan together reduced their prisoners.
prison populations by more than Since then, the nationwide pris-
7,500 last year, contributing to on population has soared, in part
what a new report says is the first because of stiff sentencing laws
nationwide decline in the number giving the U.S. the world's highest
of state inmates since 1972. incarceration rate.
The overall drop was slight, With more inmates to handle,
according to the Pew Center on state corrections costs quadrupled
the States - just 0.4 percent - over the past 20 years, according
but its report suggests there could to the report. Many states are now
be a sustained downward trend in fiscal disarray, and legislators
because of keen interest by state are looking afresh at ways to curb
policymakers in curtailing correc- prison spending, but the Pew sur
tions costs. vey revealed a wide variation of
"The political and policy envi- responses.
ronment has changed drastically," In 23 states, the number of pris-
said Adam Gelb, director of the oners increased in 2009 - notably
Pew Center's Public Safety Perfor- in Indiana by 5.3 percent and in
mance Project. Pennsylvania by 4.3 percent.
"There's now a realization on However, 27 states reduced their
both sides of the aisle that there are prison populations - ledby Califor=
research-based strategies to pro- nia with a drop of 4,257 and Michi-
tect public safety and hold offend- gan with a drop of 3,260. New York,
ers accountable without sinking Maryland, Texas and Mississippi
ever more public dollars into pris- also reduced their prison popula-
ons," Gelb said. tionsbymore than1,000.

Men face up to life in
prison for allegedly
planning attacks
ISLAMABAD (AP) - A Paki-
stani court charged five young
Americans yesterday with plan-
ningterroristattacks inthe South
Asian country and conspiring to
wage war against nations allied
with Pakistan, their defense law-
yer said.
The men - all Muslims from
the Washington suburb of Alex-
andria, Virginia - pleaded not
guilty to a total of five charges,
the most severe of which car-
ries a maximum sentence of life
in prison, defense lawyer Hasan
Dastagir told The Associated
Press.
"My clients were in good shape
and high spirits," Dastagir said.
The men, all in their late teens

or early 20s, were charged by
an anti-terrorism court inside
a prison in Sargodha, the city
in Punjab province where they
were arrested in December.
They were reported missing by
their families in November after
one left behind a farewell video
showing scenes of war and casu-
alties and saying Muslims must
be defended.
Their lawyer has said they
were heading to Afghanistan
and had no plans to stage attacks
inside Pakistan.
The court also charged the
men with planning attacks on
Afghan and U.S. territory, said
Dastagir. The charges did not
specify what was meant by U.S.
territory but could be a reference
to American bases or diplomatic
outposts in Afghanistan.
The men also were charged
with contributing cash to
banned organizations to be used

for terrorism and with directing
each other to commit terrorist
acts.
"This last charge carries life
in prison while the rest of the
charges have lesser punish-
ments," Dastagir said.
The trial will begin on March
31, and the prosecution is slated
to present more than 20 witness-
es, Dastagir said.
The defense plans to bring
witnesses from the U.S. and pro-
vide evidence of community ser-
vice carried out by the men back
home, Dastagir said.
Pakistani police have publicly
made several accusations against
the young men, claiming the sus-
pects contacted Pakistani-based
jihadi groups. They accused the
five of using the social network-
ing site Facebook and video-shar-
ing site YouTube while they were
in the U.S. to try to connect with
extremist groups in Pakistan.

Idaho Gov. signs bill to
sue over health care plan

First state adopts
measure to sue if
health insurance
becomes mandatory

cover some 30 million uninsured
people, end insurance practices
such as denying coverage to those
with pre-existing conditions,
require almostallAmericans toget
coveragebylaw, andtryto slowthe
cost of medical care nationwide.
Democratic leaders hope to

that's a critical mass. That's a con-
stitutional mass."
Last week, Virginia legisla-
tors passed a measure similar to
Idaho's new law, but Otter was the
first state chief executive to sign
such a bill, according to the Ameri-
can Legislative Exchange Council,

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho vote on it this weekend. which created model legislation for
took the lead in a growing, nation- With Washington closing in on Idaho and other states. The Wash-
wide fight against health care a deal in the months-long battle ington, D.C.-based nonprofitgroup
overhaul yesterday when its gov- over health care overhaul, Repub- promotes limited government.
ernor became the first to sign a lican state lawmakers opposed "Congress is planning to force an
measure requiring the state attor- to the measure are stepping up unconstitutional mandate on the
ney general to sue the federal gov- opposition. states," said Christie Herrera, the
ernment if residents are forced to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, a group's health task force director.
buy health insurance. Republican, said he believes any Otter already warned U.S.
Similar legislation is pendingin future lawsuit from Idaho has a House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and
37 other states. legitimate shot of winning, despite Senate Majority Leader Harry
Constitutional law experts say what the naysayers say. Reid in December that Idaho was
the movement is mostly symbolic "The ivory tower folks will tell considering litigation.
because federal laws supersede you, 'No, they're not going any- He signed the bill during his
those of the states. where,' " he told reporters. "But first public ceremony of the 2010
But the state measures reflect a I'll tell you what, you get 36 states, Legislature.
growing frustration with Presi-
dent Barack Obama's health care
overhaul. The proposal would
---------

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