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January 20, 2011 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, January 20,.2011- 3A

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 3A

NEWS BRIEFS
LANSING, Mich.
Unemployment
drops to lowest
* rate in two years
Michigan's unemployment rate
dropped steeply in December,
decreasing to its lowest rate in
nearly two years.
The seasonally adjusted 11.7
percent rate for December was the
lowest since January 2009, when
it was 11.3 percent. The national
unemployment rate for December
was 9.4 percent.
Michigan's latest rate was 0.7
percentage points below Novem-
ber's rate of 12.4 percent.
The state Department of Energy,
Labor & Economic Growth said
yesterday that total employment
edged upward by 5,00 jobs. It
says the state's labor force dropped
by 37,000, since fewer people are
seekingjobs.
Michigan's annual unemploy-
ment rate for 2010 was 13.1 per-
cent, compared with 13.6 percent
for 2009. It's the first decline in
the state's annual jobless rate since
2005.
DETROIT
Police make arrest
in serial rape case
DETROIT (AP) - A person of
interest has been arrested in a
series of rapes that have terrorized
Detroit's east side since Jan.1, police
said yesterday.
Authorities believe one man has
terrorized the city's east side since
Jan. 1, approaching women walk-
ing alone or standing by themselves
at bus stops and forcing them to
secluded areas where they have
0 been assaulted.
Atleastsevenwomenarebelieved
to have been sexually assaulted by
the man. An eighthwomanwas able
to get away.
All the attacks happened within
five miles of downtown Detroit.
Community groups and city
residents have mobilized in recent
days, patrolling portions of the city
in search of the rapist and handing
out fliers with composite drawings
of the suspect to anyone who will
take them.
The suspect is described as black,
in his 30s and about 5-foot-9. All the
victims are black, and they range in
age from 17 to 33 years old, the chief
said.
MIAMI
Florida's ban on
adoptions by gay
couples overturned
A gay Miami man has officially
adopted two brothers after he suc-
cessfully fought to overturn Flori-
da's three-decade old ban on gay
adoptions.
Martin Gill and his partner
were the boys' foster parents for
six years before the adoption was
finalized yesterday.
Gill and the American Civil Lib-
erties Union filed a lawsuit against
the state, calling the ban unconsti-

tutional. The 3rd District Court of
Appeal agreed in a ruling last year.
The state decided not to appeal.
The prohibition was enacted in
1977 and court records indicate it's
the only law of its kind in the Unit-
ed States.
The Department of Children
and Families changed its forms
so adoptive parents aren't asked if
they're homosexuals.
SAO PAULO, Brazil
Brazil police look
into death of priest
from United States
SAO PAULO (AP) - Authorities
are trying to determine if a U.S.
Jesuit priest found dead in north-
eastern Brazil committed suicide or
was killed.
The nude body of Ferdinand
Azevedo, 72, a professor at a local
university, was found on Monday in
his room at a spiritual retreat near
the city of Recife, capital of Per-
nambuco state, said police inspec-
tor Morgana Alves.
Alves was one of the first police
officers to enter the room where
Azevedo's body was found, in
a kneeling position and in an
advanced state of decomposition.
Azevedo's left hand was tied
behind his back with a cord that
went around his waist, she said in a
telephone interview. A metal chain
was wrapped around his neck. The
body showed no signs of violence
and nothing was stolen from Aze-
vedo's room.
-Compiled from
Daily wire reports

Two students
injured after
Calif. shooting

Kuwait's Amir Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Amr Moussa, Secretary general of
the Arab League, from left, chair the Arab economic summit yesterday at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheik, Egypt.
Son f Egypt presiden
seeks econo-mic refor-m

High school
increases security
following shooting
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Security
officers wielding metal detecting
wands meticulously searched stu-
dents yesterday as they waited in a
longline outside a Los Angeles high
school where twol5-year-olds were
shot in a classroom a day earlier.
The stepped-up security mea-
sures come after a 9 mm semiau-
tomatic handgun being carried in
a backpack by a 10th-grader dis-
charged Tuesday when he put the
bag down on a desk at Gardena
High School, authorities said.
A bullet pierced a boytinche neck,
exited, and hit a girl in the head.
The boy was doing well yesterday,
while the girl remained in serious
condition with a skull fracture.
The girl regained consciousness
and could move her body after sur-
gery to remove a blood clot from
her brain caused by the bullet's
impact, said Julie Rees, spokes-
woman for Los Angeles County
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. The
boy was expected to be discharged
last night, Rees said.
The 17-year-old suspect, who
was already on probation for a fight
at school, was arrested. Police said
two other students were also taken
into custody for investigation of
concealing evidence.,

A boy traded clothes with the
fleeing suspect, and a girl took
the backpack, police Detective A.
Batris said.
In an unrelated incident, author-
ities said a bulletproof vest saved
the life of a Los Angeles school
police officer who was shot yester-
day as he confronted a man who
appeared to breaking into cars
near El Camino Real High School
in Woodland Hills. Also yesterday,
a 16-year-old boy was shot in a res-
taurant parking lot near his high
school in the Los Angeles suburb
of Bell, authorities said. The Bell
High School student was shot once
in the abdomen, but his vital signs
appeared good when he was taken
to a hospital, Bell police Captain
Anthony Miranda said.
A preliminary investigation
determined the lone shot came
from a pickup truck that sped away
after the shooting, Miranda said.
Authorities were questioning a per-
son of interest in the case Wednes-
day evening. There have been no
arrests.
Police Chief Charlie Beck said
the man got out of a car and fired
several times, hitting the officer at
least once in the chest. A manhunt
was under way.
Security experts and school offi-
cials say it is almost impossible to
completely prevent students from
bringing guns onto school campus-
es, but there are basic precautions
that should be followed, including
random metal-detecting checks.

Egyptian leaders
look at societal issues
in light of Tunisian
overthrow
CAIRO (AP) - Though he still
delivers a speech like an aloof
corporate executive announc-
ing quarterly profits, the son and
presumptive heir of Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak is busy
remolding his image into a popu-
list who can deliver prosperity
for the struggling population in
this key U.S. ally.
Gamal Mubarak, 46, may have
made the switch none too soon.
The popular uprising that
toppled Tunisia's authoritar-
ian president this month has
exposed the risk Arab regimes
run if they don't work fast to
tackle such potentially explosive
economic ills like unemployment
and rising prices of food and
other basic goods.
The gravity of the threat fac-
ing them was bluntly put by the
Arab League's outspoken head
Amr Moussa in an address yes-
terday. "The Tunisian revolution
is not far from us. The Arab citi-
zen entered an unprecedented
state of anger and frustration,"
he warned, addressing Arab
leaders meeting in Egypt.
Tunisia, ironically, was an
economic darling of the West
and cited as a model for other
Arab states. But it came with an
unsteady foundation: high unem-
ployment, corruption and tight
controls on freedoms.
Egypt, largely following eco-
nomic policies initiated and
pushed by Gamal, also has seen
high growth rates, but they have
yet to trickle down to average

Egyptians who have endured
soaring prices.
The economy is the strongest
card that Gamal holds in his bid
to succeed his father as leader
since he has little popular base
and no experience in the military,
the source of Egypt's presidents
since the end of the monarchy
nearly 60 years ago.
But now all Arab leaders feel
increasing pressure to address
poverty and social ills head-on.
The ambitious economic
reforms Gamal has engineered
in the 10 years since he launched
his political career have fueled
strong growth but largely failed
to improve the lot of the poor
majority of Egyptians, benefiting
mostly the small clique of busi-
nessmen surrounding him.
At a recent ruling party con-
ference, Gamal sought to strike
a man-of-the-people persona,
touting his experiences touring
rural areas and speaking to ordi-
nary folks.
"The concerns, problems of
Egyptians and the need to raise
their standard of living will
remain and continue to be our
main preoccupation and the piv-
otal part of our party's endeav-
ors," he told party delegates in a
nationally televised speech last
month.
Gamal's father has ruled
Egypt for almost three decades,
and uncertainty over the lead-
ership's future has never been
higher. The 82-year-old Mubarak
underwent gallbladder surgery
last year, raising questions about
his health.
The elder Mubarak has not yet
said whether he will run in presi-
dential elections this fall as many
political analysts believe he will.
If his father does run - but is
unable to finish another six-year

term - the picture gets murkier.
Gamal would still be the main
potential replacement, but he
faces opposition among some in
the old guard of the ruling party
and the military who question
whether he has the political and
security clout to run the coun-
try.
The elder Mubarak, a former
air force chief, has built a reputa-
tion as a strong hand, especially
with his ruthless suppression of
an Islamic militant insurgency in
the 1990s.
Gamal, in contrast, may look
like a lightweight to some party
hands. One close ally inthe party,
Gehad Ouda, disputes that, argu-
ing that any president grows into
the position.
"Once you're strategically
positioned in the job of the
president, you take. charge,"
said Ouda, a senior member of
the party's Policy Committee,
headed by Gamal. "Being effec-
tive on security issues is among
the requirements of the job and
it's something you acquire on the
job."
As he leaped up the ranks of
the National Democratic Party
over the years, the younger
Mubarak has avoided confirm-
ing or categorically denying he
intends to seek the presidency.
The most concrete sign came
last year, when thousands of
posters went up around Cairo
touting him as the best choice for
future president - but the cam-
paign, believed linked to party
members, fizzled.
His credentials as the guide
of Egypt's economy suffered a
setback when food prices soared
in 2008 and street protests over
low wages, unemployment and a
higher cost of living grew in fre-
quency.

U.s . earning reports
show improvements

Banks report
economic growth
among Americans
NEW YORK (AP) - Americans
are starting to get their household
finances in order.
In an encouraging round of
earnings reports, major banks say
fewer mortgages are going bad,
credit card defaults are down and
morepeople are payingthe bilIs on
time.
One of the nation's largest con-
sumer lenders, Wells Fargo, said
yesterday that 29 percent fewer
loans went bad in the last three
monthsof2010thantheyear before.
And late payments on loans consid-
ered likely to default declined for
the first time since 2008.
Late payments on credit cards
issued by Bank of America, JPM-
organ Chase and Citigroup also
improved at a record pace at the
end of last year, according to an
analysis by Barclays Capital.
The reports are a sign that.
Americans are feeling more com-
fortable about their finances. Per-
sonal spending powers about 70
percent of the U.S. economy, and
most economists say a fiscally fit
consumer is critical to a strong eco-
nomic recovery.

"There are signs of stability
and growth," said JPMorgan CEO
Jamie Dimon.
The bank news comes after a
holiday shopping season in which
spending was the strongest since
2006, and auto sales grew 11 per-
cent last year, the first gains since
2005.
Taken together, the spending
indicators are the "strongest show-
ing for consumers since the peak
years of the last expansion," and
signal that the economy is "near
a threshold of self-sustaining
growth," analysts at Citi Invest-
ment Research & Analysis said in a
report earlier this month.
Economists and policymakers
are waiting for signs that the eco-
nomic recovery can power itself
rather than rely on outside sup-
ports, like the Fed's decision to buy
hundreds of billions of dollars in
government bonds to drive down
interest rates.
The recent bank results are fuel-
ing that optimism.
Citigroup said loan losses fell 11
percent from the previous quarter
as more of its customers kept up
with payments.
It was the sixth straight quarter
of declining losses, allowing the
bank to release $2.3 billion from the
reserves it sets aside for bad loans
and helping it to report a profit.

Vatican denies tellin
not to report suspec

Catholic Church
officials: Uncovered
1997 letter is
'misunderstood'
VATICAN CITY (AP) - In a
new round of damage control, the
Vatican insisted yesterday sus-
pected of sex abuse to police had
been "deeply misunderstood."
The Associated Press on Tues-
day reported the contents of the
letter, in which the Vatican's top
diplomat in Ireland told bishops
that their policy of mandatory
reporting such cases to police
"gives rise to serious reserva-
tions of both a moral and canoni-
cal nature."
The newly revealed letter,
obtained originally by Irish
broadcaster RTE from an Irish
bishop, has undermined persis-
tent Vatican claims, particularly
when seeking to defend itself in
U.S. lawsuits, that Rome never
told bishops not to cooperate
with police.
An Irish government-ordered
investigation into decades of
abuse cover-ups in the Dublin
Archdiocese concluded that Irish
bishops understood the letter to
mean they shouldn't report sus-
pected crimes.
And victims groups say it's a
"smoking gun" that shows that
the church enforced a worldwide
culture of concealing crimes by
pedophile priests of which Rome
bears ultimate - and legal -
responsibility.
"The letter confirms that the
cover-up goes as far as the Vati-
can, that Vatican officials knew

exactly what was going on, and
that they proactively sought to
deter Irish bishops from coop-
erating with civil authorities in
Ireland," said Andrew Madden, a
former Dublin altar boy who was
raped repeatedly by a priest, Ivan
Payne, in the 1980s.
"This letter also documents
how the church remained of the
view that it is a law unto itself,
how its rules and regulations
regarding the handling of a crimi-
nal offense take precedence over
civil society's laws," said Madden,
who in 1995 became the first vic-
tim in Ireland to go public with a
lawsuit against the church.
Yesterday, the Vatican insisted
the 1997 letter was only intended
to emphasize that Irish bishops
must follow church law meticu-
lously. The Vatican spokesman,
the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said
the Holy See wanted to ensure
that pedophile priests wouldn't
have any technical grounds to
escape church punishment on
appeal.
It by no means instructed bish-
ops to disregard civil reporting
requirements about abuse, added
the Vatican's U.S. lawyer, Jeffrey
Lena, who said the letter had
been "deeply misunderstood" by
the media.
At the time, there were no
such reporting requirements in
Ireland. In fact, the Irish bishops
were ahead of Irish lawmakers
in pledging cooperation with law
enforcement as dioceses were hit
with the first lawsuits by victims
of abusive priests.
Yet as a result of the 1997 let-
ter, most Irish dioceses never
implemented the 1996 commit-
ment to report all suspected

g bishops
ted abuse
abuse cases to police, according
to the conclusions of the gov-
ernment-mandated investiga-
tion into the Dublin Archdiocese
published in 2009.
"This in fact never took place
because of the response of
Rome," the commission said in its
report, although it quoted Dublin
Archdiocese officials as saying it
was implemented there.
That eight-year inquiry inter-
viewed two senior Dublin Arch-
diocese canon lawyers involved
in handling abuse complaints.
They were quoted as saying the
letter discouraged bishops from
pursuing their 1996 initiative for
fear of being overruled by Rome,
as had already happened in one
notorious case of a serial pedo-
phile.
The AP has requested inter-
views with both officials, Mon-
signors Alex Stenson and John
Dolan. But the Dublin Arch-
diocese said yesterday that no
officials would be available to
comment on either the 2009
investigation or the publication
of the Vatican's 1997 letter.
In that letter, Pope John Paul
II's diplomat to Ireland, Arch-
bishop Luciano Storero, told
the Irish bishops that their 1996
policy contained procedures that
appeared to contradict canon
law and stressed the need to fol-
low that law "meticulously" or
risk having their canonical trials
overturned on appeal.
They noted that the Vatican
has consistently ignored letters
from several Irish investigations
seeking church documents, such
as the 1997 letter, that would
shed light on the scope of Catho-
lic child abuse and any cover-up.

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