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March 26, 2012 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-03-26

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, March 26, 2012 - 5A

Th MihgnDiy-Iih g n a l c o n aIMrh 6 02-5

French gunman's brother also
charged with helping plot attacks

People walk in front of the Supreme Court as others form a line on Saturday in Washington.
Fight over health care law
heads to Supre-meCourt

Suspect killed
Thursday after
32-hour standoff
with police
PARIS (AP) - A Frenchman
suspected of helping his broth-
er plot attacks against Jewish
schoolchildren and paratroop-
ers was handed preliminary
murder and terrorism charges
yesterday.
But Abdelkader Merah denied
any role in the attacks. Investiga-
tors looking into France's worst
terror attacks in years believe
Merah helped his brother
Mohamed prepare the killings,
and are investigating whether
they were linked to an interna-
tional network of extremists or
worked on their own.
Abdelkader's lawyer said he
feels like "a scapegoat."
"No one knew anything"
about what Mohamed was
plotting, lawyer Anne-Sophie
Laguens told reporters in
Paris. She dismissed reports
that Abdelkader had praised
his brother's attacks. "He was
never proud of those actions."
Mohamed Merah, 23, claimed
responsibility for killing three
Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi
and three paratroopers ear-
lier this month. After a 32-hour
standoff with police, he died
Thursday in a hail of gunfire as
he jumped out a window of his
apartment in the southern city
of Toulouse.
Since then, attention has

focused on his older brother
Abdelkader Merah, who was
handed preliminary charges on
Sunday of complicity to murder
and theft, and involvement in a
terrorist enterprise, prosecu-
tors said. Detained last week, he
will remain in custody pending
further investigation.
Preliminary charges under
French law mean there is strong
reason to believe a crime was
committed, but allow magis-
trates more time to investigate.
Authorities suspect
Abdelkader had a role in acquir-
ing his younger brother's arse-
nal and financing his trips to
Afghanistan, Pakistan and the
Middle East. Mohamed Mersah
claimed allegiance to al-Qaida
and told police he traveled to
Afghanistan and Pakistan for
training.
The brother's girlfriend,
Yamina Mesbah, was held, then
released early Sunday without
being charged.
The girlfriend denied any
involvement in what happened
and said she was shocked bythe
killings, her lawyer Guy Debuis-
son said, adding that Abdelkad-
er Merah appeared to have led a
double life.
The couple married accord-
ing to Muslim custom in 2006,
but did not undergo the civil
ceremony required in France
for a marriage to be recognized.
Abdelkader Merah took five
or six long trips to Egypt, osten-
sibly to study Arabic literature,
and his girlfriend joined him on
two or three, the lawyer said.
During questioning by police,

the lawyer said, Mesbah learned
that Merah had had other moti-
vations for his trip to Egypt and
"a life that led him toward an
extremely intense ... fundamen-
talism."
"The question to ask today is
if Mohamed was the only one
that was indoctrinated. Was it
just him or are there others?"
Debuisson asked.
The first paratrooper killed,
Imad Ibn Ziaten, was buried
Sunday in his hometown in
Morocco on the Mediterra-
nean coast. Townspeople held
French and Moroccan flags as
soldiers carried the coffin to the
grave.
"It is incomprehensible, it
is unimaginable. Terrorism
doesn't understand this. And
above all we must not confuse
Islam and fanaticism. They
have .nothing to do with one
another," his brother Hatim Ibn
Ziaten said.
French State Secretary for
Defense Marc Laffineur accom-
panied the family to Morocco,
saying he wanted to show that
"France is in mourning." The
other paratroopers were bur-
ied in France last week, and the
Jewish children and rabbi were
buried in Israel.
The killings have affected
the race for French presiden-
tial elections in April and May,
and raised concerns of tensions
among France's large Muslim
and Jewish communities.
Thousands of people in Paris
and Toulouse marched silently
Sunday urging unity and toler-
ance of all religions and cul-

Court at center of
partisan debate
over Obama's
legislation
WASHINGTON (AP) - The
monumental fight over a health
care law that touches all Ameri-
cans and divides them sharply
comes before the Supreme Court
today. The justices will decide
whether to kill or keep the larg-
est expansion in the nation's
social safety net in more than
four decades.
If upheld, the law will force
dramatic changes in the way
insurance companies do busi-
ness, including forbidding them
from denying coverage due to
pre-existing medical conditions
and limiting how much they can
charge older people.
The law envisions that insur-
ers will be able to accommodate
older and sicker people without
facing financial ruin because of
its most disputed element, the
requirement that Americans
have insurance or pay a penalty.
Another major piece ofthelaw
is an expansion of the Medicaid
program for low-income Ameri-
cans that will provide coverage
to more than 15 million people

who currently earn too much to
qualify.
By 2019, about 95 percent of
the country will have health
insurance if the law is allowed
to take full effect, the Congres-
sional Budget Office estimates.
Republicans are leading the
fight to kill the law either bythe
court or through congressio-
nal repeal. They say the worst
fears about what they derisively
call "Obamacare" already have
come to pass in the form of
higher costs and regulations,
claims that the law's supporters
dispute. GOP presidential can-
didates all promise to repeal it
if elected.
"Obamacare has already prov-
en unpopular and unaffordable,"
House Speaker John, Boehner,
an Ohio Republican, said on the
law's second anniversary.
Polls have consistently
shown the public is at best
ambivalent about the benefits of
the health care law, and that a
majority of Americans believe
the insurance requirement is
unconstitutional.
The administration's public
education campaign has come
under strong criticism from its
allies who say the White House
has been timid in the face of
relentless Republican attacks.
Having rarely talked about

the lawsince he signed it, Obama
issued a brief statement Friday.
"The law has made a differ-
ence for millions of Americans,
and over time, it will help give
even more working and middle-
class families the security they
deserve."
The main event before the
court is tomorrow's argument
over the constitutionality of the
individual insurance require-
ment.
The court also will consider
whether the challenge is prema-
ture under a19th centurytax law
because the insurance require-
ment doesn't kick in until 2014
and people who remain unin-
sured wouldn't have to pay a
penalty until they file their 2014
income taxes in early 2015.
The case arrives at a high
court in which ideology and
political affiliation align for
the first time in generations.
The four Democratic appoin-
tees make up the liberal wing,
while the five justices named by
Republican presidents form a
cohesive conservative majority
on several key issues.
Despite calls for Thomas,
from liberal groups, and Justice
Elena Kagan, from conserva-
tives, to step aside, it appears all
the justices will take part in the
historic case.

Pope urges Mexicans to use faith
as weapon against deadly drug war

Im
iW
we

Russia: Peace slipping away in Syria

s

S.
civ
BEI
attack
terday
clashi
Basha
said t
its las
Syr
clashe
provin
began.
A
Free
Zaeem
invade
a pops
Int
and h
failed
crisis.
8,000

ran army uses many of them civilians. In recent
months, the uprising has trans-
rilians to shield formed into an armed insurgen-
cy as army defectors and others
themselves say they want to bring down the
regime by force.
IRUT (AP) - Syrian forces The U.S., Europe and many
:ed flashpoint areas yes- Arab states have called on Assad
, carrying out raids and to stand down, but Russia and
ng with rebels as President China have protected Syria from
r Assad's allies in Russia condemnation by the United
he country may be facing Nations Security Council. Syria
t chance for peace. is Moscow's last remaining ally
ian activists reported in the Middle East and is a major
s in Daraa, the southern customer for Russia's arms
nce where the uprising industry, but Russia has recently
last March. shown impatience with Assad.
spokesman for the rebel "This may be the last chance
Syrian Army, Muneef al- for Syria to avoid a protracted
n, said government troops bloody civil war," Medvedev told
ed the town of Nawa, with Kofi Annan, the U.N. and Arab
ulation of 100,000. League envoy to Syria, during a
ernational condemnation meeting in Moscow. "Therefore
igh-level diplomacy have we will provide any assistance at
to stop the year-old Syria any level."
The U.N. says more than Annan travels next to China.
people have been killed, Seeking to stop the violence,

the U.S. and other key allies
are considering providing Syr-
ian rebels with communica-
tions help, medical aid and other
"non-lethal" assistance.
In a new report yesterday, the
New York-based international
watchdog said the Syrian army
and pro-regime gunmen forced
residents to march in front of
them as they advanced on oppo-
sition-held areas in the north-
ern Idlib province earlier this
month.
The group cited witnesses
who said it was clear that the
purpose of the marching order
was to protect the army from
attack.
"By using civilians as human
shields, the Syrian army is show-
ing blatant disregard for their
safety," said Ole Solvang, emer-
gencies researcher at Human
Rights Watch. "The Syrian army
should immediately stop this
abhorrent practice."

SIL
Bened
to wie
erty
hundt
shipp
yester
hopei
Ben
sage i
the K
most i
ican C
the 19
ing ag
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umenf
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where
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ismati
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Benedict XV I As the Mass started, all fell
silent, some dropping to their
lpresses Crowd, knees in the dirt and gazing at
b the altar or giant video screens.
ars som'ero 011 In his homily, Benedict
way to mass encouraged Mexicans to purify
their hearts to confront the suf-
ferings, difficulties and evils of
.AO, Mexico (AP) - Pope daily life. It has been a common
lict XVI urged Mexicans theme in his first visit to Mexico
eld their faith against pov- as pope: On Saturday he urged
and drug violence, telling the young to be messengers of
reds of thousands of wor- peace in a country that has wit-
ers in an open-air Mass nessed the deaths of more than
'day that they would find 47,000 people ina drug war that
if they purify their hearts. has escalated during a govern-
nedict delivered his mes- ment offensive against cartels.
M the shadow of the Christ "At this time when so many
ing monument, one of the families are separated or forced
mportant symbols of Mex- to emigrate, when so many are
Christianity, which recalls suffering due to poverty, cor-
20s Roman Catholic upris- ruption, domestic violence, drug
ainst the anti-clerical laws trafficking, the crisis of values
orbade public worship ser- and increased crime, we come
such as the one Benedict to Mary in search of consola-
ated. tion, strength and hope," Bene-
e pope flew over the mon- dict said in aprayer at the end of
t in a Mexican military Mass.
puma helicopter en route Many said the pope showed a
Mass at Bicentennial Park, deep understanding of the chal-
he rode in the popemobile lenges Mexico faces. While they
gh an enthusiastic crowd said things may not change as a
ated at 350,000. result, at least the pontiff gave
en seen as austere and them hope.
ved, Benedict charmed a "It was really gratifying,"
ry that adored his char- industrial engineer Juan Jose
ic predecessor, John Paul Ruiz Moreno, 39, said after the
donning a broad-brimmed Mass. "In his words there was
an sombrero as he was a great understanding of us, the
n to the altar at the sun- Mexican people."
hed park. The Vatican said Benedict

wanted tocome to Guanajuato to
see and bless the Christ the King
statue, somethingthat John Paul
II had wanted, but was never
able to do.
Before the Mass, the pope
presented Mexico with a gift
of a mosaic of Jesus Christ that
will be placed at the monument.
After nightfall yesterday, the
pope remotely inaugurated its
new lighting system.
Guanajuato state was the site
of some of the key battles of the
Cristero War, so-called because
its protagonists said they were
fighting for Christ the King. His-
torians say about 90,000 people
died before peace was restored.
The region remains Mexico's
most conservatively Catholic.
With roads closed, pilgrims
walked for miles to the Mass
with plastic lawn chairs, water
and backpacks. Old women
walked with canes. Some
Mass-goers wrapped them-
selves in blankets or beach tow-
el-sized Vatican flags, trekking
past vendors selling sun hats,
flags, potato chips and bottles
of juice.
Hundreds of young priests in
white and black cassocks, wait-
ing to pass through the metal
detectors, shouted "Christ
Lives!" and "Long Live Christ
the King!" - the battle cry of
the Cristeros.
The 84-year-old pope will be
going to Cuba on today.

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