The Michigan Daily - michiganclaily.com
Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 3
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, Fefiruary 7, 2012 - 3
may be allowed to
keep their homes
Wayne County will send people
door-to-door to offer thousands
of foreclosed Detroit homes for as
little as $500, a move that would
keep a roof over the head of squat-
ters and possibly get properties
back on the tax rolls.
More than 6,000 Detroit
homes, foreclosed because taxes
weren't paid, didn't sell at auction
last fall. The county treasurer's
office doesn't want to see them
abandoned and is willing to nego-
tiate with anyone living inside,
including owners who no longer
have a right to the property.
"A vacant house is not going to
help anybody," deputy treasur-
er Eric Sabree told The Detroit
KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii
Anti-Syrian regime protesters play drums and wave a revolutionary flag during a demonstration in Idlib, Syria, yesterday
The U.S. closed its Syrian embassy yesterday and Britain recalled its ambassador to Damascus.
U.S. closes Syrian embassy
in e ort to remove Assad
WATER make sure that we wouldn't just
run out and replace something
From Page 1 every time it broke," Kenzie
said. "We took ahard look at the
currently lie beneath the center plant that startedback in the late
of the city. 30s, and continued through the
In order for the council to 60s and we said 'We've lost this
definitively award the contract, capacity, what's the best way to
the city's Wastewater Treat- replace it?"'
ment Services must get a loan Kenize said he and his staff
approved by the Michigan have met with council often over
Department of Environmental the past few years to finalize
Quality. The loan application is plans for the project.
due to the MDEQ on Feb. 21. "We went through a lot of
Earl J. Kenzie, Ann Arbor's regulatory reviews and approval
wastewater treatment services so we've certainly kept coming
unit manager, said the resolution back and providing informa-
council approved yesterday is tion," Kenzie said.
a necessary step for his depart- During the meeting, coun-
ment to obtain the loan from the cilmember Mike Anglin (D-
state. Ward 5) commended Kenzie for
"This tentative award is involving Walsh in communica-
part of what is needed in hand tions with the council.
for that part of the applica- "It's kind of unusual for a
tion," Kenzie said. "The resolu- company to come forward to us
tion states that we recommend as council and say things to us,
Walsh Construction as a quali- but I notice in your diligence
fied and responsible bidder." you had a meeting to bring the
In an interview after the reso- bidders in and we had our staff,"
lution passed, Kenzie said his Anglin said.
staff worked hard to prepare the Councilmember Jane Lumm
proposal for city council. (D-Ward 2) said she was
"The process involved in this impressed by the report that
was very long term, there was recommended Walsh that was
a planning process that went in drafted by Kenzie and staff
place," Kenzie said. "We actu- members from Malcolm Pirnie,
ally had members of the commu- the engineering service firm
nity on the project team during hired to oversee the project.
the planning phase because this "Malcolm Pirnie did provide
really is a very significant capital a very professional, in-depth
investment." memo in their recommendation
Kenzie said the process and their rationale seems sound,
took six years and required an and I will congratulate you on
exhaustive examination of the the fact that I think the bid and
current facilities. evaluation process were quite
"What we wanted to do was robust," Lumm said.
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@MICH IGAN DAILY
trial delayed after Britain also recalls
The court martial for a Marine
sergeant accused of hazing a fel-
low Marine who committed sui-
cide in Afghanistan was delayed
Monday after the prosecution
asked to expand the details of the
Military judge Col. Michael
Richardson told prosecutors to
provide Sgt. Benjamin Johns'
defense with specifics of the new
charge details. Jury selection is
expected to begin today.
Johns has been charged with
wrongfully humiliating and
demeaning Lance Cpl. Harry
Lew, who killed himself on April
Swiss bank Julius
Baer expects fine
in U.S. tax case
Swiss bank Julius Baer Group
said yesterday that it might have
to pay a fine to settle allegations it
helped American clients cheat on
their taxes, but cautioned inves-
tors that the final outcome of the
case was still uncertain.
Zurich-based Julius Baer is one
of at least 11 Swiss banks under
pressure from the U.S. to give up
tax-evading American customers
" and the bankers who aided them.
Last month, Switzerland's oldest
bank, Wegelin & Co, announced
it was selling most of its business
after it was indicted in the U.S.
with conspiring to help American
clients hide more than $1.2 billion
from the Internal Revenue Ser-
"We're in ongoing full coop-
eration and dialogue with the U.S.
authorities and we're confident
and committed that we. will find
a solution," Julius Baer's Chief
Executive Boris Collardi said dur-
ing the presentation of the bank's
full-year results yesterday.
bursts killing eight
A dam in southern Bulgaria
burst yesterday after days of
. heavy rain, sending an eight-foot-
high (2.5-meter) torrent surging
through a village along the Greek
border. The disaster brought the
region's toll from floodingto eight
dead, 10 missing.
The dam on the Ivanovo Res-
ervoir collapsed, flooding 700
houses inthe village of Bisser, civil
defense chief Nikolai Nikolovsaid.
Four bodies were found in the rag-
ing waters, three of them elderly
men, the Bisser mayor reported.
A reporter at Bisser saw the
muddy water crashing into
homes, tossing cars, drowning
animals and uprooting trees.
Many homes were destroyed and
some residents had to climb onto
their roofs to escape.
Many in Bisser had to be res-
cued from their water-logged
homes and were spending the
night in emergency shelters.
Officials were still assessing the
damage late yesterday.
Daily wire reports
BEIRUT (AP) - The U.S.
closed its embassy in Syria and
Britain recalled its ambassador
to Damascus yesterday in a new
Western push to get President
Bashar Assad to leave power
and halt the murderous grind in
Syria - now among the deadliest
conflicts of the Arab Spring.
Although the diplomatic effort
was stymied at the U.N. by vetoes
fromRussiaand Chinathe moves
by the U.S. and Britain were a
clear message that Western pow-
ers see no point in engaging with
Assad and now will seek to bol-
ster Syria's opposition.
"This is a doomed regime as
well as a murdering regime,"
British Foreign Secretary Wil-
liam Hague told lawmakers as
he recalled his country's ambas-
sador from Syria. "There is no
way it can recover its credibility
President Barack Obama said
the Syrian leader's departure is
only a matter of time.
"We have been relentless in
sending a message that it is time
for Assad to go," Obama said dur-
ing an interview with NBC. "This
is not going to be a matter of if, it's
going to be a matter of when."
The most serious violence
Monday was reported in Homs,
where Syrian government forces,
using tanks and machine guns,
shelled a makeshift medical clinic
and residential areas on the third
dayofarelentless assault, killinga
reported 40 people, activists said.
More than a dozen others were
reported killed elsewhere.
Those deaths followed a
regime onslaught in Homs that
began Saturday, the same day
Syria's allies in Russia and China
vetoed a Western- and Arab-
backed resolution aimed at trying
to end the crackdown on dissent.
Some 200 people died, the high-
est death toll reported for a single
day in the uprising, according to
Even as the U.S. steps up pres-
sure on Assad to halt the violence
and relinquish power, Obama
said a negotiated solution was
possible, without recourse to
outside military intervention.
Later, however, White House
spokesman Jay Carney said the
administration was taking "no
options off the table."
In a signal thatthe window for
diplomatic efforts may at some
point close, Carney said: "We
need to act to allow a peaceful
political transition to go forward
before the regime's escalating
violence puts a political solution
out of reach."
U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford
and 17 other U.S. officials left
Syria on Monday, arriving in
Amman, Jordan, several hours
later. Ford was to travel on to
Paris to spend time with his wife,
the State Department said.
As part of what was clearly a
concerted Western effort, the
Italian Foreign Ministry said
it had also summoned Syria's
ambassador in Rome to express
"the strongest condemnation ...
over the unacceptable acts of vio-
lence perpetrated by the regime
of Damascus against the civilian
More than 5,400 people have
been killed in Syria since the
uprising began in March, the
U.N. said early last month. Hun-
dreds more are believe to have
been killed since then, but the
U.N. says the chaos itt the coun-
try has made it impossible to
cross-check the figures.
faces second wave
of forced evictions,
forced to leave
PORTLAND, Maine - A tent
city that's among the longest-
lived Occupy protest encamp-
ments is coming down as part
of a new wave of eviction
orders against demonstrators
aligned with the movement in
communities including Miami,
Washington and Pittsburgh.
Occupy Maine demonstra-
tots removed several large
tents over the weekend, and the
city yesterday gave them addi-
tional time to remove the rest.
Demonstrators who estab-
lished the encampment just
two weeks after the Occupy
Wall Street encampment set up
shop in New York City vowed
to continue their work to call
attention to corporate excess
and economic inequality.
'rJust because the occupation
is changing form doesn't mean
it's going away," Heather Curtis,
one of the campers, said yes-
terday before she started haul-
ing away her belongings from
snow-covered Lincoln Park.
The encampments that were
the heart of the movement are
becoming scarcer. Yesterday, a
judge issued what appeared to
be the final notice for Occupy
Pittsburgh to leave. Over the
past week, police began remov-
ing demonstrators in Miami;
Austin, Texas; and Washing-
The voices are still making
themselves heard, though.
Yesterday, about 20 dem-
onstrators disrupted a legisla-
tive budget hearing in Albany,
N.Y., shouting that millionaires
should be taxed more. Albany's
camp was busted up in Decem-
Occupy Maine, which already
has office space elsewhere in
Portland, plans to continue get-
ting its message out through
other means, as well.
"You can only fight for so
long and you realize at the end
that it's a new beginning," said
Deese Hamilton, one of the
four named plaintiffs in a law-
suit aiming to keep protesters
in Lincoln Park. Hamilton was
homeless before joining with
the Occupy protesters.
The. campers were sup-
posed to be out by yesterday
morning, and they dismantled
four to five communal tents
over the weekend. But 16 tents
remained yesterday morn-
ing, and the city granted the
group's request for more time,
giving them until Friday to fin-
ish the cleanup.
There was little activity in the
morning. But by the afternoon,
several people were raking, and
others were taking down tents.
"They've asked for this
amount of time in order to
remove the remaining struc-
tures, so we're taking them at
their word," said Nicole Clegg,
Occupy Maine started up Oct.
1 with a protest in Portland's
Monument square and set up in
Lincoln Park two days later.
Throughout the frigid Maine
winter, when temperatures have
dropped below zero, protest-
ers rotated in and out to keep a
constant presence, with those in
the park keeping the cold at bay
by huddling in communal tents
equipped with propane heaters.
AP PHOTO/Obama Fasal
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, shakes hands with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, right, as the Emir of
Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, center, looks on, after signing an agreement in Doha, Qatar, yesterday.
Fatah, Hamas sign agreement
Abbas and Mashaal
RAMALLAH, West Bank
(AP) - Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas took a deci-
sive step yesterday toward rec-
onciliation with the Islamic
militant Hamas, agreeing to
head an interim unity govern-
ment that would prepare for
elections in the West Bank and
The announcement imme-
diately threw Mideast peace
efforts into turmoil. By mov-
ing closer to Hamas, the Pal-
estinian leader appeared to be
closing the door, for now, to
any possibility of peace talks
with Israel - although all such
efforts have failed to get off the
ground during Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanya-
hu's three years in office.
Netanyahu condemned yes-
terday's deal, saying it would be
inpossible to reach peace with
a government that includes
Hamas, which Israel and the
West consider a terrorist group.
"It is either peace with
Hamas or peace with Israel.
You can't have them both,"
A new attempt to restart low-
level talks last month ended
without a breakthrough. With
the reconciliation deal, Abbas
appears to have concluded that
he has a better chance of repair-
ing the Palestinians' internal
troubles than of reaching an
agreement with the hardline
The Palestinians have been
divided between rival govern-
ments since Hamas ousted
forces loyal to Abbas from Gaza
Yesterday's agreement, bro-
kered by Qatar, seemed to bring
reconciliation within reach for
the first time. Previous deals
have collapsed amid deep sus-
picions and intervention by
the sides' rival foreign patrons.
Abbas is backed by the West
while Hamas has been support-
ed by Iran.
Abbas and Hamas chief
Khaled Mashaal said they
would move forward without
delay, though it appears unlike-
ly elections can be held in May,
as initially envisioned.
The two Palestinian leaders
had reached a reconciliation
deal last year, but disagreement
over who was to head an inter-
im government had delayed
strongly opposed Abbas' choice
of Salam Fayyad, the head of
his Palestinian Authority in the
It remains unclear whether
an Abbas-led interim gov-.
ernment that is supported by
Hamas would be acceptable to
the West, which gives hundreds
of millions of dollars of aid to
the Palestinians each year. The
United States and Europe have
said they would shun any gov-
ernment that includes members
of an unreformed Hamas.