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September 20, 2010 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-09-20

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, September 20, 2010 - 3A

Government may
* look abroad for GM
Investment bankers handling
the upcoming General Motors Co.
stock sale are expected to court
foreign investors as well as those
in North America, according to a
U.S. Treasury Department state-
GM and the Treasury Depart-
ment would not comment yester-
day on reports that the automaker
is in talks with its current part-
ner in China, SAIC, about buying
a stake in the Detroit company.
SAIC is owned by the Chinese gov-
" The Treasury Department, in a
statement issued late Friday, said
investors in GM would be sought
across "multiple geographies,"
with a focus on North America.
The U.S. Treasury loaned GM
about $50 billion to help it through
bankruptcy protection last year.
GM has repaid $6.7 billion. The
rest of the bailout money was con-
verted to a 61 percent government
stake in the company.
The government hopes to get
the remaining $43 billion back
with stock sales that could start in
Obama says gov.
remains committed
to Gulf relief efforts
President Barack Obama is call-
ing the successful "kill" for the
blown-out well in the Gulf of Mex-
ico a milestone in his administra-
tion's response to the disaster that
leaked hundreds of millions of gal-
lons of oil.
The federal government's point
man on the response, retired Coast
Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said yes-
terday that tests show BP's well "is
effectively dead" and poses no fur-
ther threat.
Obama said in a statement that
his administration remains com-
mitted to doing everything possible
to ensure that the Gulf Coast recov-
ers fully from the disaster.
Obama pledged that his adminis-
tration will continue to work close-
ly with people who live in the Gulf
region as they rebuild their liveli-
hoods and restore the environment.
KABUL, Afghanistan
Concerns over
possible fraud at
Afghan polls
The main Afghan election
observer group said it had serious
concerns about the legitimacy of
this weekend's parliamentary vote
because of reported fraud, even
as President Hamid Karzai com-
mended the balloting as a solid
The conflicting statements
underscored the difficulty of
determining the credibility of the
vote also hit by militant attacks
that hurt the turnout. Afghan

officials started gathering and
tallying results yesterday in a
process that could last weeks if
not months.
The country's international
backers praised those who voted
Saturday despite bomb and rock-
et attacks and voiced hoped for a
democratic result. A repeat of the
pervasive fraud that tainted a pres-
idential election a year ago would
only erode further the standing of
Karzai administration - both at
home and abroad - as it struggles
against a Taliban insurgency.
Mexico border
newspaper seeks
truce with cartels
The largest newspaper in Ciu-
dad Juarez asked the border city's
warring drug cartels yesterday for
a truce after the killing last week
of its second journalist in less than
two years.
In a front-page editorial, El Dia-
rio de Juarez asked the cartels what
they want from the newspaper so it
can continue its work without fur-
ther death, injury or intimidation of
its staff.
"Leaders of the different orga-
nizations that are fighting for con-
trol of Ciudad Juarez: The loss of
two reporters from this publishing
house in less than two years rep-
resents an irreparable breakdown
for all of us who work here, and, in
particular, for their families," the
editorial said.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports.

U.S. woman
freed from
Iran: I'm
not a spy

Members of a breakaway religious sect prepare to leave after they were located yesterday by Los Angeles County Sheriff
officers at Jackie Robinson Park in Littlerock, Calif. The group was found praying at the park.
After members go missing,
authorities hold cult leader

Members of Calif.
religious sect later
found in park
PALMDALE, Calif. (AP) - The
leader of a breakaway -religious
sect was hospitalized yesterday
for a mental evaluation, after
members of her group went miss-
ing and left behind evidence that
they were awaiting the rapture or
some catastrophic event.
Reyna Marisol Chicas was
placed under a 72-hour manda-
tory hold after it was determined
she was not able to care for her-
self or others, said Los Angeles
County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas
Chicas gave investigators a
false name and was rambling dur-
ing questioning, Kim said. She
told deputies she had no children,
even though her two kids were
with her.
Ending a frantic search, depu-
ties found Chicas and 12 others
just before noon at Jackie Rob-
inson Park near Palmdale after
getting a tip from a local resident,
said sheriff's spokesman Steve
Whitmore. He said all members
are safe.
Officers had been searching a
wide swath of Southern Califor-

nia since Saturday after family
members found letters saying the
group was awaiting an apoca-
lyptic event and would soon see
Jesus and their dead relatives in
The group of El Salvadoran
immigrants described as "cult-
like" by sheriff's officials, was led
by Chicas, a 32-year-old woman
from Palmdale in northeast Los
Angeles county, sheriff's Captain
Mike Parker said.
Members left behind cell
phones, identifications, deeds to
property, and letters indicating
they were awaiting the Rapture.
The items came from a purse
that a member of the group had
left with her husband Saturday
and asked him to pray over. He
eventually looked inside and he
and another member's husband
called authorities, authorities
"These letters read like a will
and testament. They read like
goodbye letters," said Whitmore.
"Coupled with the two husbands
that come in and tell us 'Our wives
are missing, we believe they are
under the spell of this lady,"' dep-
uties had no choice but to treat the
matter seriously, he said.
Whitmore said he didn't know
if the members had done anything
like this before.

Sheriff's officials said there
was no criminal investigation
The men told investigators
they believe group members had
been "brainwashed" by Chicas,
and one expressed worries that
they might harm themselves,
Parker said. One of the children
is 3, and the others range from12
to 17.
When deputies arrived at the
park they found the children play-
ing on swings and the adults on a
blanket praying out loud in Span-
The adults expressed shock at
the notion that they might harm
themselves, Parker said.
A sheriff's deputy had spoken
to members of the group at 3 a.m.
Saturday while they were praying
in their parked vehicles outside
of a Palmdale high school, Parker
When the deputy made con-
tact, adults in the group told
him they were praying against
violence in schools and against
sexual immorality, specifically
premarital sex.
The 13 adults and children
were in three vehicles outside
Pete Knight High School, Parker
said. The deputy reported every-
one appeared safe and he went on
his way.

Woman calls arrest
and detention 'a huge
NEW YORK (AP) --An Ameri-
can woman who was held in Iran
for more than 13 months and
accused of espionage said yes-
terday she and two men detained
with her never spied or commit-
ted any crime, calling their arrest
"a huge misunderstanding."
Discussing her experience at
the most length since her release
Tuesday, Sarah Shourd under-
scored her gratitude at being
released but said she felt only
"one-third free" because her fian-
ce, Shane Bauer, and their friend
Josh Fattal remain in Tehran's
notorious Evin Prison.
"This is not the time to cel-
ebrate," Shourd, 32, said at a New
York news conference. "The only
thing that enabled me to cross the
gulf from prison to freedom alone
was the knowledge that Shane
and Josh wanted with all their
hearts for my suffering to end."
Meanwhile, Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived
in New York to attend the U.N.
General Assembly. He later met
with U.N. Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon to discuss devel-
opments in Iraq, Afghanistan
and the Middle East as well as
efforts to resolve the dispute over
Iran's nuclear program, the U.N.
spokesperson's office said.
Ahmadinejad told The Associ-
ated Press, "We're very glad that
that lady was released. (Due) to
the humanitarian perspective the
Islamic Republic chose to adopt
on the subject, she was released
on bail. And we hope that the
other two will soon be able to
prove and provide evidence to
the court that they had no ill
intention in crossing the border,
so that their release can also be
Tying the case to Iran's asser-
tion that some of its citizens are
being held unjustly in the Unit-
ed States, he said, "It certainly
does not give us joy when we see
people in prison, wherever in the
world that may be, and even when
we think of prisoners here."
Composed but occasionally
pausing when her voice wavered
with emotion, Shourd thanked
Iranians and Ahmadinejad in a
carefully scripted return that
spoke to the continuing delicacy
of her situation. She didn't take
questions or discuss the condi-
tions in which she'd been held,
walking away from the podium at
a Manhattan hotel hand-in-hand
with her mother, Nora, before

Fattal's and Bauer's mothers
answered reporters' queries.
Iran has issued espionage-
related indictments against her,
Bauer and Fattal; the indictments
could bring trials for the two men
and proceedings in absentia for
But Shourd stressed their inno-
cence in a case that has added to
the roster of tensions between
the U.S. and Iran.
The three were detained in
July 2009 after Iranian officials
said they intentionally crossed
the country's border from Iraq.
Echoing accounts their fami-
lies have given in their absence,
Shourd said Sunday that the
three had been hiking in a popu-
lar tourist area - near a waterfall
in Iraq's Kurdistan region - and
had no idea the border was near-
"If we were indeed near the
Iraq-Iran border, that border was
entirely unmarked and indistin-
guishable," she said.
"Shane and Josh do not
deserve to be in prison one day
longer than I was," she said. "We
committed no crime and we are
not spies. We in no way intended
any harm to the Iranian govern-
ment or its people and believe a
huge misunderstanding led to our
detention and prolonged impris-
Shourd's mother has said she
had health problems including
a breast lump and precancerous
cervical cells. Shourd said Sun-
day that doctors in Oman, where
she went immediately after her
release, had determined she was
physically well.
Officials in Oman - an ally of
both Iran and the United States
- mediated a $500,000 bail for
Shourd that satisfied Iranian
authorities and apparently did
not violate U.S. economic sanc-
tions against Iran. The source
of the bail payment has not been
After 410 days in Iranian cus-
tody, "I walked out of prison with
my spirit bruised but unbroken,"
she said.
Shourd left Oman on Saturday
for Dubai, United Arab Emirates,
and took a commercial flight from
there to Dulles International
Airport, near Washington, the
Americans' families said.
Shourd and Bauer had been liv-
ing together in Damascus, Syria,
where Bauer was working as a
freelance journalist and Shourd
as an English teacher. Fattal, an
environmental activist and a fel-
low graduate of the University of
California at Berkeley, came to
visit them last July, and the three
went hiking.

Chinese government halts
high-level talks with Japan

Fishing boat
captain's extended
detention led to
countries' dispute
BEIJING (AP) - China broke
off high-level government con-
tacts with Japan over the extend-
ed detention of a fishing boat
captain arrested near disputed
islands. The rare move pushed
already tense relations to a new
low, and showed China's will-
ingness to play hardball with its
Asian rival on issues of territorial
The move late yesterday came
a day after anti-Japanese protests
were held across China on the
anniversary of the start of a Japa-
neseinvasion of Chinain 1931 that
has historically cast a shadow
over ties between the world's sec-
ond- and third-largesteconomies.
The latest spat between Tokyo
and Beijing was sparked when
the Chinese vessel collided with
two Japanese coast guard ships
on Sept. 7 near islands in the
East China Sea claimed by both
countries. The 14 Chinese crew
were released last week, but the
captain's detention for further
questioning - pending a decision
about whether to press charges
- has inflamed ever-present anti-
Japanese sentiment in China.
China's Foreign Ministry said
that Japan's refusal to release the
boat captain had caused "severe
damage" to relations.
A ministry statement said
Beijing had suspended ministe-
rial and provincial-level contacts,
halted talks on aviation issues
and postponed a meeting to dis-
cuss coal.
"If Japan acts willfully, mak-
ing mistake after mistake, China
will take strong countermea-
sures, and all the consequences
will be borne by the Japanese

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Anti-Japan protesters burn a rising sun flag of former Imperial Japanese military
during a demonstration in Hong Kong on Saturday.

side," Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a
Takeshi Matsunaga, a spokes-
man for Japan's Foreign Ministry,
said the reported measures were
"We ask China to respond
calmly so as not to escalate the
problem further," he said.
The move raises questions
aboutcooperation between China
and Japan at international forums
such as this week's summit in
New York on United Nations
goals to fight poverty, which Chi-
nese Premier Wen Jiabao and
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto
Kan are attending.
It also throws into doubt
whether China's President Hu
Jintao will attend the annual
summit of Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation forum leaders to
be held in Yokohama, Japan, in

November. Leaders of the two
countries were also due to attend
a G-20 summit in Seoul the same
This is the lowest bilateral
relations have fallen to since the
2001-2006 term of ftrmer Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi,
whose repeated visits to a war
shrine in Japan during his tenure
angered China.
The two countries halted
ministerial-level defense talks
for three years from 2003. But
even in those tense times, Japan's
foreign minister visited China in
2004 and met Wen.
China's decision to cut high-
level contacts appears to reflect a
worry about losing face in front of
the Chinese public, which might
trigger a nationalistic backlash
against the government if it
appears weak or unable to protect
the country's sovereignty.

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