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March 05, 2012 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-03-05

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3A

Utility crews work
to restore power
after winter storm
Utility crews are working to
restore power to tens of thousands
of Michigan homes and businesses
after a winter storm packing high
winds and up to 15 inches of snow
blacked out more than a quarter-
million electricity customers
statewide and caused a fatal crash.
The storm that hit Friday also
triggered deadly tornadoes across
the Midwest.
CMS Energy Corp. says about
51,000 customers remained with-
out service at 4 p.m. yesterday,
down from 147,000. DTE Energy
Co. says about 5,000 of 120,000
customers remained powerless at
CVS mixes up
cancer meds with
fluoride pills
The state attorney general's
office has begun a preliminary
investigation into a CVS pharma-
cy's mistaken distribution of pills
for the treatment of breast cancer
to children instead of the fluoride
pills that were prescribed.
The attorney general's con-
sumer affairs division on Fri-
day ordered a CVS pharmacy in
Chatham to explain the mistake
and provide the names of all its
employees along with all e-mails,
telephone calls, complaints, and
other information related to the
Meanwhile, CVS Caremark
said in a statement that it was
"deeply sorry for the mistake
that occurred" at its pharmacy
in northeastern New Jersey,
although the company did not
explain how the mistake hap-
pened. There has been no report
of injury.
Dublin saint's
preserved heart
stolen from church
Officials at Christ Church
Cathedral in Dublin said yes-
terday they're distraught and
perplexed over the theft of the
church's most precious relic: the
preserved heart of St. Laurence
O'Toole, patron saint of Dublin.
O'Toole's heart had been dis-
played in the cathedral since the
13th century. It was stored in a
heart-shaped wooden box and
secured in a small, square iron
cage on the wall of a chapel dedi-
cated to his memory. On Saturday
someone cut through two bars,
pried the cage loose, and made off
with the relic.
Ireland's national police force,
the Garda Siochana, said detectives
were studying hours of closed-
circuit TV footage to try to identify
the approximately 40 people who
walked out the cathedral's front
doors Saturday morning.

China calls for
peace in Syria
China offered a proposal yes-
terday to end the violence in Syria,
calling for an immediate cease-
fire and talks by all parties but
standing firm against any inter-
vention by outside forces.
The proposal, released by
China's Foreign Ministry, comes
as U.N. Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon is calling on Syrian
President Bashar Assad's govern-
ment to allow immediate access
to humanitarian workers as Syria
presses a military crackdown
against anti-government groups.
Beijing's plan is part ofrenewed
efforts by Beijing to seize the dip-
lomatic initiative in an increasing-
ly vital part of the world for China
after being roundly criticized by
the U.S. and others for joining
Russia in vetoing a U.N. resolu-
tion. That plan similarly called
for an end to hostilities, but Bei-
jing feared it would open the door
to intervention against Assad's
authoritarian government, as it
had in Libya.
-Compiled from
Daily wire reports

Lesbian exes face
off in precedent-
setting custody fight

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who claimed victory in Russia's
presidential election, attenda rally of supporters at Manezh square outside Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia, yesterday.
Putin wins re-election in
Russia amid controversyv

Opponents to
stage large-scale
rally in Moscow
MOSCOW (AP) - Vladimir
Putin scored a decisive victory
in Russia's presidential elec-
tion yesterday to return to the
Kremlin and extend his hold on
power for six more years. His
eyes brimming with tears, he
defiantly proclaimed to a sea
of supporters that they had tri-
umphed over opponents intent
on "destroying Russia's state-
hood and usurping power."
Putin's win was never in
doubt as many across the
vast country still see him as
a guarantor of stability and
the defender of a strong Rus-
sia against a hostile world, an
image he has carefully culti-
vated during 12 years in power.
Accounts by independent
observers of extensive vote-
rigging, however, looked set
to strengthen the resolve
of opposition forces whose
unprecedented protests in
recent months have posed
the first serious challenge to
Putin's heavy-handed rule.
Another huge demonstration
was set for this evening in cen-
tral Moscow.
Putin claimed victory last
night when fewer than a
quarter of the votes had been

counted. He spoke to a rally
just outside the Kremlin walls
of tens of thousands of sup-
porters, many of them govern-
ment workers or employees of
state-owned companies who
had been ordered to attend.
"I promised that we would
win and we have won!" Putin
shouted to the flag-waving
crowd. "We have won in an
open and honest struggle."
Putin, 59, said the election
showed that "our people can
easily distinguish a desire
for renewal and revival from
political provocations aimed at
destroying Russia's statehood
and usurping power."
He ended his speech with
the triumphant declaration:
"Glory to Russia!"
The West can expect Putin
to continue the tough policies
he has pursued even as prime
minister, including opposing
U.S. plans to build a missile
shield in Europe and resisting
international military inter-
vention in Syria.
Exit polls cited by state
television predicted Putin
would get about 59 percent of
the vote. With more than 80
percent of precincts counted
nationwide, Putin was lead-
ing with 65 percent, the Cen-
tral Election Commission said.
Complete results were expect-
ed today.
Communist Party candi-
date Gennady Zyuganov was
a distant second, followed by

Mikhail Prokhorov, the bil-
lionaire owner of the New Jer-
sey Nets whose candidacy was
approved by the Kremlin in
what was seen as an effort to
channelsome ofthe protest sen-
timent. The clownish national-
ist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and
socialist Sergei Mironov trailed
behind. The leader of the lib-
eral opposition Yabloko party
was barred from the race.
"These elections are not
free. ... That's why we'll have
protests tomorrow. We will
not recognize the president
as legitimate," said Mikhail
Kasyanov, who was Putin's
first prime minister before
going into opposition.
The wave of protests began
after a December parliamenta-
ry election in which observers
produced evidence of wide-
spread vote fraud. Protest ral-
lies in Moscow drew tens of
thousands in the largest out-
burst of public anger in post-
Soviet Russia, demonstrating
growing exasperation with
the pervasive corruption and
tight controls over political life
under Putin, who was presi-
dent from 2000 to 2008 before
moving into the prime minis-
ter's office due to term limits.
Golos, Russia's leading inde-
pendent elections watchdog,
said it received numerous
reports of "carousel voting,"
in which busloads of voters are
driven around to cast ballots
multiple times.

Verdict may impact
nation-wide debate
over definition of
- A custody battle in Florida
between two lesbians could fuel
the growing national debate over
the definition of motherhood.
It also might force state law-
makers to reconsider a 19-year-
old law regarding the rights of
sperm and egg donors.
The women, now in their 30s
and known in court papers only
by their initials, were both law
enforcement officers in Florida.
One partner donated an egg that
was fertilized and implanted in
the other. That woman gave birth
in 2004, nine years into their
But the Brevard County couple
separated two years later, and the
birth mother eventually left Flor-
ida with the child without telling
her former lover. The woman who
donated the egg and calls her-
self the biological mother finally
tracked them down in Australia
with the help of a private detec-
Their fight over the now
8-year-old girl is before the state
Supreme Court, which has not
announced whether it will con-
sider the case. A trial judge ruled
for the birth mother and said the
biological mother has no paren-
tal rights under state law, adding
he hoped his decision would be
The 5th District Court of
Appeal in DaytonaBeachobliged,
sidingwith the biological mother
and saying both women have
parental rights.
At issue is the 1993 state law
meant to regulate sperm and egg
donation. Scholars debate wheth-
er the constitutional right to pro-
create includes outside-the-body
technologies used to conceive.
Also at issue are constitutional
questions about gay people's right
to raise children and claim equal
protection under law. Another
appellate court ruled Florida's
ban on gays being able to adopt
unconstitutional in 2010.
The biological mother, how-
ever, isn't concerned about being
a legal or social pioneer, her law-
yer said. She just wants her child
back in her life.
"She hasn't seen her daughter
in years, and it's been terribly,
terribly difficult for her," said
Robert A. Segal, a family law
attorney in Melbourne.
The battle over what defines
motherhood is being played out
on prime-time television shows
and in courtrooms across the
More recently, former North
Carolina state Sen. Julia Bose-

man, the first openly gaymember
of that Legislature, is suing for
joint custody of a 2-year-old son
born to a woman Boseman had
called her spouse.
In the Florida case, the women
agreed to use "reproductive med-
ical assistance," have a child and
raise that child as a couple, court
records show.
It's unknown why they later
decided to separate, but "their
separation does not dissolve the
parental rights of either woman,
nor does it dissolve the love and
affection either hassfor the child,"
the appellate decision said.
The birth mother cites the
state's law on sperm and egg
donation, which says that donors
"relinquish all maternal or pater-
nal rights," to argue that the bio-
logical mother wasn't the child's
"We can discern no legally
valid reason to deprive either
woman of parental rights to this
child," said the majority opin-
ion by Judge Thomas Sawaya.
He ruled that the donor law was
unconstitutional as applied in the
That law was passed 15 years
after Louise Brown, the world's
first "test tube" baby, was born.
But Judge David Monaco, in a
concurring opinion, said the stat-
ute "was not designed to resolve
the problem of how to treat chil-
dren bornbyin vitro fertilization
to a same-sex couple."
But in a blistering dissent,
Judge C. Alan Lawson said the
trial judge got it right. A child can
have only one mother, he wrote.
The court shouldn't recognize
two mothers "unless we are also
willingto invalidate laws prohib-
iting same-sex marriage, bigamy,
polygamy or adult incestuous
relationships on the same basis,"
Lawson said.
Monaco and Lawson agreed,
however, that the Legislature
needs to pass new law on the sci-
ence of human reproduction to
reflect the times.
"We think we're solving prob-
lems with technology, but it just
leads to more problems," said
Alan Williams, a health law pro-
fessor at Florida Coastal School
of Law in Jacksonville. "Moral
and ethical dilemmas arise that
laws were never made to deal
Florida voters adopted a con-
stitutional amendment banning
same-sex marriage in 2008.
Shannon McLin Carlyle, an
appellate attorney who also
is representing the biological
mother, said the majority didn't
come up with a gay rights deci-
sion: "It's a pro-parent decision."
"But it does solidify gay cou-
ples' right to retain a relationship
with their child," she said. "If it
goes the other way, parenthood
could be subject to risk on the
whim of the other partner."

Polish gov't claims trains
still safe after deadly crash

Masses of soccer
fans will use
system for Euro
2012 tournament
(AP) - Poland's government
insisted yesterday that rail trav-
el is safe in the country despite
a train collision that killed 16
people, assurances that come
months before masses of sports
fans will enter the country for
a major soccer tournament -
many of whom will crisscross
the nation by train.
Saturday night's crash,
Poland's mostly deadly rail
tragedy in more than two
decades, raised new questions
about the safety of a state-run
rail network, which has under-
gone modernization in recent
years. Poland still has a rail sys-
tem marked by the legacy of the
communist decades, but has
been working to upgrade trains
and tracks.
The trains collided head-on
in a shower of sparks and man-
gled metal, killing 16 people
and injuring dozens more near
the southern town of Szczeko-
ciny, just north of Krakow. Both
trains inexplicably ended up
running on the same track. Pol-
ish leaders said it was the worst
rail tragedy since 16 people
were killed in a 1990 collision
near Warsaw.
Some routes today are noto-
rious for being slower than
they were even before World
War II - and the economical-

ly dynamic young member of
the European Union has been
pushing to change this even
as it builds skyscrapers, high-
ways and stadiums. Several of
the construction projects have
been accelerated by the coming
Euro 2012 soccer champion-
ship, which starts in June.
Transport Minister Sla-
womir Nowak insisted that
train travel is safe and that
the government makes safety
a priority as it improves the
system. The collision occurred
on a stretch of track that was
recently modernized, but offi-
cials said it was too early to
speak about a cause.
"I really believe that the
train system - not only in
Poland but all of Europe - is
still very safe," Nowak said.
He said those who plan to
use the trains this summer
during Euro 2012 should not
worry. Poland is co-hosting
the three-week tournament
with Ukraine, and games will
be held in several Polish and
Ukrainian cities, which will
force some fans to travel large
distances - either by train,
plane, bus or car.
President Bronislaw
Komorowski called for two
days of national mourning
today and tomorrow, mean-
ing that flags will fly half-staff
at public building's, and con-
certs and sporting events will
be canceled. Poland's Roman
Catholic bishops also called for
prayers for those killed and the
Interior Minister Jacek
Cichocki said rescue officials

believe they have retrieved
all bodies from the wreck-
age because sniffer dogs have
not found any other traces of

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