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6 - Friday, February 1, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6 - Friday, February 1, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Residents sue fruit
company for berry
waste pollution
Ten residents of rural Benzie
County have filed a lawsuit
processor and a septic hauler
who dumped waste blueberry
juice into a gravel pit more than
a decade ago, damaging a stream
and contaminating groundwater.
Graceland Fruit Inc., which
generated the wastes at its pro-
cessing facility in Frankfort,
hired Bonney Brothers Pumping
Co. to transport and dispose of
the juice. The Michigan Depart-
ment of Environmental Quality
said the 2002 disposal was ille-
gal and the state attorney gener-
al's office filed a civil case. Under
a settlement reached in 2008, the
companies promised to restore
the waterway and pay $250,000
in fines and restoration costs.
Archbishop moves
to relieve former
cardinal of duties
The Archbishop of Los Ange-
les announced Thursday night
that he has relieved retired
Cardinal Roger Mahony of his
remaining duties and a former
top aide to Mahony has stepped
down from his current post as
auxiliary bishop of Santa Barba-
ra, on the same night the church
released thousands of pages of
personnel files of priests accused
of sexual abuse.
"I find these files to be brutal
and painful reading," Archbishop
Jose Gomez said in a statement,
referring to the newly released
files made public by the church
Thursday night just hours after
a judge's order. "The behavior
described in these files is terribly
sad and evil. There is no excuse,
no explaining away what hap-
pened to these children."
Gomez announced that he has
"informed Cardinal Mahony that
he will no longer have any admin-
istrative or public duties."
Whites to become
minority in Calif.
Hispanics will become the larg-
est ethnic group in the nation's
most populous state early next
year, the California Department
of Finance said Thursday, mark-
ing a big milestone in a long-run-
ning demographic shift that has
already deeply altered the politi-
cal balance of power, the economy
and culture.
The prediction that Hispanics
will equal the number of whites
in California by the middle of this
year and surpass them in early
2014 was disclosed in Gov. Jerry
Brown's budget proposal in early

January, but the latest numbers
offer a far more detailed por-
trait of how the shift will unfold
across age groups and geographic
regions over the next five decades.
Whites and Hispanics each cur-
rently represent 39 percent of the
state's population.
YEREVAN, Armenia
Contender for Pres.
shot outside house
A longshot candidate for the
Armenian presidency was shot
in the chest by an unidentified
gunman late Thursday, officials
said. He was hospitalized in sta-
ble condition as police searched
for the shooter, while the speak-
er of parliament suggested the .
election could be delayed.
Paruir Airikian was shot out-
side his house in the Armenian
capital, Yerevan, just before
midnight. A neighbor who heard
gunshots and cries for help
called the police.
Airikian is one of eight candi-
dates in the Feb. 18 presidential
vote, which incumbent Serge
Sarkisian is expected to eas-
ily win. Opinion surveys show
Airikian getting a small percent-
age of the vote.
-Compiled from
Daily wire reports

Explosion rocks
Mexico City

In this Nov. 17, 2012 file photo, an Israeli Iron Dome rhissile is launched near the city of Be'er Sheva, southern Israel, to
intercept a rocket fired from Gaza.
Syria promises revenge for
Israeli airstrike this week

Airstrike targeted
a convoy of anti-
aircraft weapons
bound for Hezbollah
BEIRUT (AP) - Syria threat-
ened Thursday to retaliate for
an Israeli airstrike and its ally
Iran said the Jewish state will
regret the attack.
Syria sent a letter to the U.N.
Secretary-General stressing the
country's "right to defend itself,
its territory and sovereignty"
and holding Israel and its sup-
porters accountable.
"Israel and those who protect
it at the Security Council are
fully responsible for the reper-
cussions of this aggression," the
letter from Syria's Foreign Min-
istry said.
U.S. officials said Israel
launched a rare airstrike inside
Syria on Wednesday targeting
a convoy carrying anti-aircraft
weapons bound for Hezbollah,

the powerful Lebanese militant
group allied with Syria and Iran.
In Israel, a lawmaker close to
hard-line Prime Minister Benja-
min Netanyahu stopped short of
confirming involvement in the
strike. But he hinted that Israel
could carry out similar missions
in the future.
The attack has inflamed
regional tensions already run-
ninghighover Syria's22-month-
old civil war.
Israeli leaders in the days
leading up to the airstrike had
publicly expressed concern that
Syrian President Bashar Assad
may be losing his grip on the
country and its arsenal of con-
ventional and nonconventional
The Syrian military denied
there was any such weapons
convoy. It said low-flying Israeli
jets crossed into the country
over the Israeli-occupied Golan
Heights and bombed a scientific
research center. The facilityis in
the area of Jamraya, northwest
of Damascus. and about 15 kilo-

meters (10 miles) from the Leba-
nese border.
A U.S. official said the air-
strike targeted trucks contain-
ing sophisticated Russian-made
SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles. The
trucks were next to the military
research facility identified by
the Syrians, and the strike hit
both the trucks and the facility,
said the official, who spoke on
condition of anonymity because
he was not authorized to speak
about the operation.
If the SA-17s were to have
reached Hezbollah, they would
have greatly inhibited the Israe-
li air force's ability to operate in
Lebanon, where Israel has flown
frequent sorties in recent years.
1 Maj. Gen. Abdul-Aziz Jassem
al-Shallal, who in December
became one of the most senior
Syrian army officers to defect,
told The Associated Press by
telephone from Turkey that the
targeted site is a "major and
well-known" center to develop
weapons called the Scientific
Research Center.

14 dead, more than
100 wounded in
massive blast
explosion at the office headquar-
ters of Mexico's state-owned oil
company in the capital killed
14 people and injured 100 on
Thursday as it heavily damaged
three floors of a building, send-
ing hundreds into the streets
and a large plume of smoke over
the skyline.
Another 30 people were
reported trapped in the debris
late Thursday, as soldiers with
rescue dogs, trucks with mount-
ed lights and a Pemex crane were
brought in to extract victims.
The Interior Ministry said it was
uncertain of the exact number
of people trapped because many
were outside having lunch when
the explosion occurred about
3:45 p.m. local time in abasement
parking garage next to the iconic,
51-story tower ofPetroleos Mexi-
canos, or Pemex, one of the tallest
buildings in Mexico City.
"It was an explosion, a shock,
the lights went out and sud-
denly there was a lot of debris,"
employee Cristian Obele told
Milenio television, adding that
he had been injured in the leg.
"Co-workers helped us get out of
the building."
President Enrique Pena Nieto
said authorities have not yet
found out what caused the blast
in the 14-story building in a busy
commercial and residential area.
Pemex first said ithad evacuated
the building because of a prob-
lem with the electrical system.
The company later tweeted that
the Attornhy General's Office
was investigating the explosion
and any reports of a cause were
Ana Vargas Palacio was dis-
traught as she searched for her

missing husband, Daniel Garcia
Garcia, 36, who works in the
building where the explosion
occurred. She said she last talk-
ed to him a couple hours earlier.
"I called his phone many
times, but a young man
answered and told me he found
the phone in the debris," Vargas
said. The two have an 11-year-
old daughter. His mother, Gloria
Garcia Castaneda, collapsed on
a friend's arm, crying "My son.
My son."
The tower, where several
thousand people work, was
evacuated following the blast
but not damaged, according to
Gabriela Espinoza, 50, a Pemex
secretary for 29 years who was
on the second floor when the
explosion next door occurred.
"Therewas averyloud roar. It
was veryugly," she said.
Espinoza's co-worker, Tomas
Rivera, 32, worked on the ground
floor and was knocked to floor,
fracturing his wristand jaw.
Hundreds of firefighters,
military in camouflage and Red
Cross ' workers hauled large
chunks of concrete and looked
for victims late into the night,
with at least four bodies pulled
out of the rubble, according to an
Associated Press reporter at the
The exploded building was
intact on the outside but filled
inside with debris.
Television images showed
people being evacuated in office
chairs, and on gurneys. Most of
them had injuries likely caused
by falling debris.
"We were talking and all of
sudden -we heard an explosion
with white smoke and glass fall-
ing from the windows," said
Maria Concepcion Andrade,
42, who lives on the same block
as the Pemex building. "Peo-
ple started running from the
building covered in dust. A lot
of pieces were flying."

Iran vows to accelerate
nuclear enrichment plan

Nation has defied
U.N. demands to
dismantle program
VIENNA (AP) - In a defiant
move ahead of nuclear talks,
Iran has announced plans to
vastly increase its pace of ura-
nium enrichment, which can
make both reactor fuel and the
fissile core of warheads. Eager
to avoid scuttling those negoti-
ations, world powers are keep-
ing their response low-key.
Iran told the Internation-
al Atomic Energy Agency of
its intentions last week, and
the IAEA informed member
nations in an internal note seen
by The Associated Press on
The brief note quoted Iran as
saying new-generation IR2m
"centrifuge machines ...will
be used" to populate a new
"unit" - a technical term for an
assembly that can consist of as
many as 3,132 centrifuges.
It gave no timeframe. A
senior diplomat familiar with
the issue said work had not
started, adding that it would
take weeks, if not months, to
have the new machines run-
ning once technicians started
putting them in. He demanded
anonymity because he was not
authorized to divulge confiden-
tial information.
Mark Fitzpatrick, a non-pro-
liferation expert and former
senior official at the U.S. State
Department, described the
planned upgrade as a potential
"If thousands of the more
efficient machines are intro-
duced, the timeline for being
able to produce a weapon's
worth of fissile material will
significantly shorten," said
Fitzpatrick, of the Internation-
al Institute for 'Strategic Stud-
"This won't change the sev-
eral months it would take to
make actual weapons out of the
fissile material or the two years
or more that it would take tobe
able to mount a. nuclear war-
head on a missile, so there is no

need to start beating the war
drums," he said. "But it will
certainly escalate concerns."
The planned upgrade could
burden international efforts
to coax Tehran into scaling
back its nuclear activities and
cooperating with the agency's
attempts to investigate its
suspicions of secret weapons
work. Talks are tentatively set
for next month with a date and
venue still open.
Iran insists it does not want
nuclear arms and argues it has
a right to enrich uranium for,
a civilian nuclear power pro-
gram. But suspicion persists
that the real aim is nuclear
weapons. The Islamic Repub-
lic hid much of its nuclear
program until it was revealed
from the outside more than a
decade ago. A deadlock in the
IAEA's probe of Iran's nuclear
program has furthered suspi-
cions of a clandestine pursuit
of atomic weapons.
Defying U.N. Security Coun-
cil demands that it halt ura-
nium enrichment, Iran has
instead expanded it. Experts
say Tehran already has enough
enriched uranium to be able
to turn it into weapons-grade
material for several nuclear
The Iranian plan was con-
demned by Israel, which sees
Iran's nuclear program as an
existential threat and has said
it would use all means to stop
it from reaching weapons capa-
"While the world is discuss-
ing where and when the next
meeting with Iran will be, Iran
is rapidly advancing towards
obtaining a nuclear bomb," said
a senior official from Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanya-
hu's office. "The international
community cannot allow Iran
to arm itself with a nuclear
The official demanded ano-
nymity because he said he was
not allowed to comment pub-
licly on the issue.
Phone calls seeking com-
ment from Ali Asghar Solta-
nieh, Iran's chief IAEA
delegate, went to his voicemail.

Clif fJette/AP
Assistant United States Attorney Peter Deegan speaks to the media during a press conference to discuss the sentencing
of Peregrine Financial Group owner and Chief Executive Officer Russell R. Wasendorf, Sr.
Broker faces life Iln prison for
stealing $215 million ini owa

Lived luxuriously
for years before
facing inquiry
- For years, Russ Wasendorf Sr.
enjoyed the perks of being a suc-
cessful businessman: a corporate
jet, a fancy swimming pool at his
mansion, an extensive wine col-
lection and top chefs who made
him meals at the restaurant and
office buildings he owned.
Then lastsummer he admitted
that his lavish lifestyle was a lie,
built with money he stole from
customers at Peregrine Financial
Group, the Cedar Falls-based
brokerage he founded. Prosecu-
tors said he took $215 million
over 20 years inthe biggest fraud
in Iowa history.
Wasendorf is now being held
in isolation at a county jail in a
tiny cell where he sleeps on a
concrete pad without a pillow,
his pastor said. And on Thurs-
day, the 64-year-old learned he
will most likely spend the rest of
his life in federal prison.
A judge sentenced Wasendorf
to 50 years in prison. Wasend-
orf, who must serve at least 421/2
years of the sentence, appeared
in fragile health, having lost
weight and suffering from health

problems that made him look
nothing like the image of a confi-
dent financial whiz he once pro-
Acting U.S. Attorney Sean
Berry said the sentence was the
longest ever given to a white-
collar criminal in the northern
district of Iowa and was fitting
because Wasendorf's fraud was
unparalleled in Iowa.
"This is a justsentence for a
con man," he said at a news con-
U.S. District Judge Linda
Reade gave Wasendorf the maxi-
mum prison sentence available
for the fraud and embezzlement
charges to which he pleaded
guilty in September. She cited
the "staggering losses" his theft
caused to 13,000 commodities
investors who lost money and
hundreds of employees who lost
Wasendorf used their money
to build a business empire that
included a publishing company
that churned out his books and
magazines, the jet that flew him
to meetings, the nicest restau-
rant in Cedar Falls, a develop-
ment company in Romania, and
a charity known for donations to
universities and hospitals.
But since last July, Wasendorf
has been held in a cell on the fifth
floor of the Linn County Jail in

Cedar Rapids, where some of his
fellow inmates scream all night
long, said pastor Linda Livings-
ton, who counsels him several
times a week. She said he has not
had access to writing or eating
utensils and is kept away from
other inmates.
"He has made an adjustment
to an impossible circumstance
with a grace that has surprised
me,' she said. "It's a stark exis-
Wasendorf's brokerage, nick-
named PFGBest, collapsed after
investigators found Wasend-
orf unconscious after having
attempted suicide in his vehicle
outside its headquarters in Cedar
Falls. He left a suicide note in
which he confessed to a fraud in
which he stole customer funds,
and forged bank statements to
fool his'colleagues, auditors and
He attempted suicide after
learning that regulators were
insisting on electronic access
to Peregrine's bank accounts,
which meant they would soon
find that more than $215 million
in customer funds was missing.
Prosecutors said Wasendorf's
theft started after he founded
Peregrine in the early 1990s,
when he needed money to prop
up the business after an investor
pulled out.



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