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November 01, 2012 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-01

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 7A

Afghans set date for elections;
Taliban denounces efforts

President Barack Obama, left, embraces Donna Vanzant, right, during a tour of a neighborhood effected by superstorm Sandy.
Vanzant is an owner of North Point Marina, which was damaged by the storm.
Obama tours storm damage,
Romne mutes rhetoric

Spring 2014 election
crucial for country's
security, stability
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP)
- Afghans will elect a new
president in the spring of 2014
in a ballot considered crucial
for their country's stability
and security after more than 11
years of war.
Afghan politicians and the
country's foreign backers hailed
Wednesday's announcement
as a step . toward a peaceful
transition of power. The
Taliban, who could make or
break the.poll, denounced it as
meaningless and vowed to keep
on fighting.
The government-appointed
Independent Electoral
Commission set polling day
as April 5, 2014, the same year
that most troops in the U.S.-led
NATO coalition will have left in
a withdrawal that has already
The date i§ in line with the
Afghan constitution adopted
after the coalition ousted
the Taliban in 2001. But the
Taliban claimed the vote was an
American ploy.
"These are not elections, they
are selections," said spokesman
Qari Youssof Ahmadi. "The U.S.
wants to select those people it
wants and who will work for
the purpose of the enemy. The
Afghans know the country is
occupied by the enemy, so what
do elections mean?"
The Taliban are the country's
main opposition group, and
President Hamid Karzai has in
the past asked the insurgents
to lay -down their weapons

and join the political process.
But they have vowed to keep
Still, despite their rhetoric,
it remains unclear what the
insurgents will do ahead of the
Prospects appear bleak.
Peace talks are stalled and
the Taliban show no signs of
relenting in their fight. During
Karzai's decade in office they
have never recognized him as
president and consider him an
American puppet.
The 2009 poll that gave
Karzai a second term were
marred by allegations of
massive fraud and vote-rigging,
while violence and intimidation
in the Taliban-dominated east
and south helped limit overall
turnout to 33 percent, and more
than one million of the 5.5
million votes cast were ruled
The constitution limits
Karzai to two terms, and he
has said he will not try for a
third. But Afghans generally
consider his government to be
corrupt and to have favored his
political allies and members of
his family, and although many
of the allegations have not been
proven, there are concerns he
might seek a way to remain
in power or appoint a family
member to run as a proxy in the
2014 election.
Although no one has openly
declared a candidacy, possible
contenders mentioned so far are
mostly members of the former
Northern Alliance, which
ousted the Taliban after the
American invasion in late 2001.
They include former Foreign
Minister Abdullah Abdullah,
who lost to Karzai in 2009,

and Quayum Karzai, one of the
president's brothers.
The International Crisis
Group, an independent think
tank, warned this month of a
"precipitous slide toward state
collapse" unless steps are taken
soon to prevent a repeat of the
"chaos and chicanery" of the
2009 election.
"Plagued by factionalism
and corruption, Afghanistan
is far from ready to assume
responsibility for security when
U.S. and NATO forces withdraw
in 2014," the Brussels-based
group said.
U.S. Ambassador James
Cunningham said the election
date represented "more than a
day on a calendar. It is symbolic
of the aspiration of Afghans
for elections which will be
crucial.for Afghanistan's future
stability. This will be an Afghan
process, with. the U.S. and
the international community
prepared to provide support and
encouragement to millions of
Afghans who, on April 5, 2014,
will make their mark on history
with a peaceful transition of
political authority."
In Brussels, NATO
Secretary General Anders Fogh
Rasmussen called it a "historic
Free and fair elections
are also a key condition for
delivering more than $16 billion
in aid that was pledged at an
international donor conference
last May.
Provincial elections will
be held on the same day as
the presidential poll, and
parliamentary elections will
follow in 2015, said Fazel
Ahmad Manawai, the election
commission's chief.

Romney's newest
ads in Ohio speak for
- President Barack Obama
soberly toured the destruction
wrought by superstorm Sandy
on Wednesday in the company
of New Jersey's Republican
governor and assured victims
"we will not quit" until cleanup
and recovery are complete. Six
days before their hard-fought
election, rival Mitt Romney
muted criticism of Obama as
he barnstormed battleground
Forsaking partisan politics
for the third day in a row, the
president helicoptered with Gov.
Chris Christie over' washed-
out roads, flooded homes,
boardwalks bobbing in the ocean
and, in Seaside Heights, a fire still
burning after ruining about eight
Back on the ground, the
president introduced one local
woman to "my guy Craig Fugate."
In a plainspoken demonstration
of the power of the presidency,
Obama instructed the man at the
head of the Federal Emergency
Management - Agency, a

7,500-employee federal agency, to
"make sure she gets the help she
needs" immediately.
Despite the tour and Romney's
own expressions of sympathy for
storm victims - a break on the
surface from heated campaigning
- a controversy as heated as any
in the long, intense struggle for
the White House flared over the
Republican challenger's new
television and radio ads in Ohio.
"Desperation," Vice President
Joe Biden said of the broadcast
claims that suggested automakers
General Motors and Chrysler
are adding jobs in China at
the' expense of workers in the
bellwether state. "One of the most
flagrantly dishonest ads I can ever
Republicans were unrepentant
as Romney struggled for a
breakthrough in the Midwest.
"American taxpayers are on
track to lose $25 billion as a result
of President Obama's handling
of the auto bailout, and GM and
Chrysler are expanding their
production overseas," said an
emailed statement issued in the
name of Republican running mate
Paul Ryan.
The two storms - one inflicted
by nature, the other whipped
up by rival campaigns - were at
opposite ends of a race nearing its

end in a flurry of early balloting
by millions of voters, unrelenting
advertising and so many
divergent polls that the result was
confusion, not clarity.
National surveys make the
race a tight one for the popular
vote, with Romney ahead by a
statistically insignificant point or
two in some, and Obamain others.
Both sides claim an advantage
from battleground statesoundings
that also are tight. Obama's aides
contend he is ahead or tied in all
of them, while Romney's team
counters that his campaign is
expanding in its final days into
what had long been deemed
safe territory for the president
in Michigan, Pennsylvania and
The storm added yet another
element of uncertainty, as.
Obama spent a third straight day
embracing his role as incumbent
and Romney tried to tread lightly
during a major East Coast disaster.
The president received a
briefing at the Federal Emergency
Management Agency across town
from the White House before
flying to New Jersey, where
the shoreline absorbed some
of the worst damage in a storm
that killed 50 and laid waste to
New York City's electrical and
transportation systems.

Mexico's Day of Dead brings
difficult memories of missing

Escalating drug
violence increases
Elena Salazar refuses to set
out plates of her missing son's
favorite foods or orange flowers
as offerings for the deceased on
Mexico's Day of the Dead, even
though she hasn't seen him in
three-and-a-half years.
The 50-year-old former teacher
is convinced that Hugo Gonzalez
Salazar, a university graduate
in marketing who worked for a
telephone company, is still alive
and being forced to work for a
drug cartel because of his skills.
"The government, the
authorities, they know it, that
the gangs took them away to use
as forced labor," said Salazar of
her then 24-year-old son, who
disappeared in the northern city
of Torreon in July 2009.
The Day of the Dead - when
Mexicans traditionally visit
the graves of dead relatives and
leave offerings of flowers, food
and candy skulls - is a difficult
time for the families of the
thousands of Mexicans who have
disappeared amid a wave of drug-
fueled violence.
With what activists call a mix
of denial, hope and desperation,
they refuse to dedicate altars on
the Nov. 1-2 holiday to people
often missing for years. They
won't accept any but the most
certain proof of death, and
sometimes reject even that.
Numbers vary on just how
many people have disappeared in
recent years. Mexico's National
Human Rights Commission says
24,000 people have been reported
missing between 2000 and mid-
2012, and that nearly 16,000
bodies remain unidentified.
But one thing is clear: just as
there are households without

Day of the Dead altars, there
are thousands of graves of the
unidentified dead scattered
across the country, with no one to
remember them.
An investigation conducted by
the newspaper Milenio this week,
requests to state and municipal
governments, indicates that
24,102 unidentified bodies were
buried in paupers' or common
graves in Mexican cemeteries
since 2006. The number is almost
certainly incomplete, since some
local governments refused to
provide figures, Milenio reported.
And while the number of
unidentified dead probably
includes some indigents or dead
unrelated to the drug war, it is
clear that cities worst hit by the
drug conflict also usually showed
a corresponding bulge in the
number of unidentified cadavers.
For example, Mexico City, which
has been relatively unscathed by
drug violence, listed about one-
third as many unidentified burials
as the city of Veracruz, despite the
fact that Mexico City's population
is about 15 times larger.
Consuelo Morales , who
works with dozens of families of
disappeared in the northern city
of Monterrey, said that "holidays
like this, that are family affairs
and are very close to our culture,
stir a lot of things up" for the
families. But many refuse to
accept the deaths of their loved
ones, sometimes even after DNA
testing confirms a match with a
"They'll say to you, 'I'm not
going to put up an altar, because
they're not dead," Martinez noted.
"Their thinking is that 'until they
prove to me that my child is dead,;
he is alive."
Martinez says one family she
works with at the Citizens in
Support of Human Rights center
had refused to accept their
son was dead, even after three

rounds of DNA testing and the
exhumation of the remains.
"It was their son, he was very
young, and he had been burned
alive," Martinez said by way of
The refusal to accept what
appears inevitable may be a
matter of desperation. Martinez
said some families in Monterrey
also believe their missing
relatives are being held as virtual
slaves for the cartels, even though
federal prosecutors say they have
never uncovered any kind of drug
cartel forced-labor camp, in the
six years since Mexico launched
an offensive against the cartels.
But many people like Salazar
crime is a business, but it can't
advertise for employees openly,
so it has to take them by force,"
Salazar said.
While she refuses to erect an
altar-like offering for her son,
she does perform other rituals
that mirror the Day of the Dead
customs, like the one that involves
scattering a trail of flower petals
to the doorsteps of houses to
guide spirits of the departed back
home once a year.
Salazar and her family still
live in the same home in Torreon,
though they'd like to move, in
the hopes that Hugo will return
there. They pray three times a day
for God to guide him home.
"We live in the same place, and
we try to do the same things we
used to," said Salazar, "because
he is going to come back to his
place, his home, and we have to be
waiting for him."
Mistrust of officials has risen
to such a point that some families
may never get an answer they'll
The problem is that, with
forensics procedures often sadly
lacking in Mexican police forces,
the dead my never be connected
with the living, which is the whole
point of the Mexican traditions.

Europe takes on Google, looks
to instate "Google tax" on info
Effort aims to limit
U.S. dominance on
PARIS (AP) - European news
organizations bleeding money ________
and readers are trying to avoid
in France, Germany and Italy
to step in and charge Google for
using their content in its search
results - something the Web
giant has always done for free.
Critics - including,
unsurprisingly, Google - say
the strategy is shortsighted
and self-destructive, and the
search engine warns it will stop
indexing European news sites
if forced to pay. But publishers
advocating a "Google tax" aimed
at benefiting their industry point
to the example of Brazil, where
their counterparts abandoned In this Dec. 6, 2011 file photo, cups bearing the Google logo are displayed at
the search engine and say Google France offices before its inauguration, in Paris.
repercussions have been minimal.
The dispute underscores a copyright laws, such as Britain Web traffic, the Brazilian papers
fundamental question facing and Ireland. say.
media agencies around the world: Google's post-meeting Brazilian newspapers haven't
Who should benefit from links statement said the discussions ruled out reopening talks with
to online content that is costly dealt with "the contributions of Google, if the company whose
to produce and yet generates a the Internet to job creation and name is synonymous with
fraction of the ad revenue that the influence of French culture in "search" agrees to pay for their
once allowed newspapers to the world." content. Unlike in Europe, the
flourish? Adding to the pressure on Brazilian publishers have not
Europe has tried to sidestep Google in France, a French turned to their goverment to act
Google before. Six years ago, newspaper reported Wednesday as a mediator or impose a tax as
then-French President Jacques that French authorities are partoftheir dealingswithGoogle.
Chirac unveiled plans for Quaero threateningGoogle with albillion "Newspapers live off
(Latin for "I search") as the euro tax bill and investigating advertising revenues, like Google.
answer to U.S. dominance of the alleged financial wrongdoing. They're our competition and
Internet. The multi-platform Google France denied being they have billions and billions in
search and operating system was notified of such a taxbill and said revenues globally," said Ricardo
supposed. to work with desktop it will "continue to cooperate Pedreira, executive director of
computers, mobile devices and with the French authorities." Brazil's National Association of
even televisions. Government spokeswoman Najat Newspapers.
Despite millions spent to Vallaud-Belkacem wouldn't Still, Pedreira is not convinced
develop Quaero, it went nowhere. comment on the report in the Brazil is a good model for
This week, implicit threats weekly Canard Enchaine, except European nations. "Every
hovered over a meeting between to say that if there were a tax country has a specific reality, and
current French President probe, it would be coveredby laws I think there will probably evolve
Francois Hollande and Eric on fiscal secrecy. different models in each nation,"
Schmidt, Google's executive French publishers, along with he said.
chairman. counterparts in Germany and Others in Brazil have warned
Hollande demanded Google Italy, are hoping Brazil will be about long-term consequences of
reach a deal with publishers the proof that there is a successful the boycott.
over the 'copyright dispute and way to confront Google. Carlos Castilho, a media critic
also address the French taxes it After failing to come to and TV journalist, writing on
escapes by basing its European terms with Google in the past the press watchdog website
headquarters in Ireland. Google year, Brazil's biggest papers Observatorio da Imprensa,
essentially reiterated a point it - representing 90 percent of argued that the boycott was
made in a recent letter to French circulation - decided to boycott a backward strategy, because
publishers: Paris' latest attempt to Google News by essentially "news is everywhere today and
impose itself would force readers making their content unavailable to surround it with walls of
to "Anglo-Saxon" sites based in to anyone usingthe search engine. copyrights is like trying to dry
countries with more favorable The result? Negligible losses in ice."

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