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September 05, 2013 - Image 3

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Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 3A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 3A

NEWS BRIEFS
ROCKFORD, Mich.
E. coli detected
in Western Mich.
water system
Tests have revealed E. coli
in the water system that serves
Rockford, a city north of Grand
Rapids.
Health officials advised
residents to use bottled water
Wednesday or boil tap water
before using it for drinking,
brushing teeth or preparing
food. Officials say public drink-
ing fountains should be turned
off.
The Kent County Health
Department says there were
equipment problems at the Rock-
ford water plant over the long
holiday weekend. Rockford has
approximately 5,800 residents
and draws its water from wells..
CHICAGO
Minneapolis mayor
invites Illinois gay
couples to marry
With all of Illinois' finan-
cial woes, residents have grown
accustomed to politicians from
other states trying to raid its
companies, jobs and best work-
ers.
Now one of them is making a
similar pitch to the state's gay
couples: Come north to get mar-
ried, and spend lots of money.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T.
Rybak, who recently married
46 same-sex couples follow-
ing his state's passage of a law
legalizing gay weddings, will
appear in a predominantly gay
Chicago neighborhood Thurs-
day to launch a campaign called
"Marry Me in Minneapolis." He
plans to follow with campaigns
in Colorado and Wisconsin,
two other states that haven't
approved same-sex marriage..
MOSCOW
Putin accuses
John Kerry of
lying about Syria
Russian President Vladimir
Putin on Wednesday called U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry a
liar, claiming he had denied that
al-Qaida was fighting with the
Syrian opposition in that coun-
try's civil war.
Speaking to his human rights
council, Putin recalled watch-
ing a congressional debate where
Kerry was asked about al-Qaida.
Putin said he had denied that
it was operating in Syria, even
though he was aware of the al-
Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra
group.
Putin said: "This was very
unpleasant and surprising for me.
We talk to them (the Americans)
and we assume they are decent
people, but he is lying and he
knows that he is lying. This is sad."
It was unclear exactly what
Putin was referencing, but Kerry

was asked Tuesday while testi-
fying before the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee if the Syr-
ian opposition had become more
infiltrated by al-Qaida.
STOCKHOLM
Obama compares
Wallenberg's war
efforts to Syria
President Barack Obama is
drawing parallels between the
actions of a Swedish diplomat who
saved Jews during the Holocaust
and the action he wants the world
to take to help Syria's people.
On his first presidential visit to
Sweden, Obama said Raoul Wal-
lenberg's actions are a reminder
"of our power not simply to bear
witness, but also to act."
Obama is trying to rally the
world to retaliate against Syr-
ian President Bashar Assad (bah-
SHAR' AH'-sahd) for his alleged
use of deadly gases against his
* people in the country's civil war.
Obamaspoke Wednesday after
visiting the Great Synagogue of
Stockholm and examining arti-
facts related to Wallenberg.
-Compiled from
Daily wire reports.

Mexican Senate
passes education
reform to restore
country's schools

Senate voted 102-22
to approve the
new system

InstitutionalRevolutionaryParty
and the teachers unions, which
gained increasing control of the
education system in exchange for
throwing their strength behind
the government in the voting box

Danny Johnston/AP
Former President Bill Clinton speaks about health care at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark. Wednesday.
Clinton's speech comes with the Affordable Healthcare Act in final countdown mode, just a few weeks before the
scheduled Oct.t launch of online health insurance markets in the states.
Clinton shows support for
federal health care law

Clinton challenges
opponents to change
law, not repeal
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -
Bill Clinton urged opponents
of the federal health care law
Wednesday to stop trying to
repeal it and instead work to
improve it, as the White House
enlisted the former president to
make the case for its signature
domestic accomplishment.
Speaking at his presiden-
tial library in downtown Little
Rock, Clinton offered a detailed
defense and explanation of the
law as a key part of its implemen-
tation nears. His nearly hour-
long speech was the first in a
series of addresses expected by
administration officials and allies
defending the law this fall.
"It seems to me that the ben-
efits of the reform can't be fully
realized and the problem cer-
tainly can't be solved unless both
the supporters and the oppo-
nents of the original legislation
work together to implement it
and address the issues that arise
whenever you change a system
this complex," Clinton told more
than 300 people. "There are
always drafting errors, unintend-

ed consequences, unanticipated
issues. We're going to do better
working together and learning
together than we will trying over
and over again to repeal the law
or rooting for the reform to fail."
Clinton's speech comes with
the Affordable Care Act in final
countdown mode, just a few
weeks before the scheduled Oct.
1 launch of online health insur-
ance markets in the states. The
markets - also called exchang-
es- are supposed to be a one-
stop portal to the benefits of the
law. Middle-class people with no
access to health care on the job
will be eligible for subsidized pri-
vate coverage, while the poor and
near-poor willbe steered to Med-
icaid in states agreeing to expand
the program. Markets will open
in all the states, even those refus-
ing to expand Medicaid.
Even though Clinton's speech
was overshadowed by the Syria
debate, the White House hopes
to geta much-needed boost from
the former president. Obama,
who has dubbed the 42nd presi-
dent the "secretary of explaining
stuff," tapped Clinton's persua-
sive powers during the congres-
sional debate over the health care
law, sending him to Capitol Hill
to cajole worried Democrats.
Clinton, who unsuccessfully

pushed for health care reform as
president, praised the 2010 law
for addressing the cost and avail-
ability of health care.
"This does give us the best
chance we have to achieve nearly
universal coverage, provide high-
er quality health care and lower
the rate of cost increases, which
we have got to do in a competitive
global economy," he said.
Clinton offered suggestions
to improve the law, including
expanding the availability of tax
credits for small businesses. He
also called on Congress to address
a glitch in the law that prevents
some workers who can't afford
the employer coverage that they
are offered on the job from get-
ting financial assistance from the
government to buy private health
insurance on their own.
Clinton's home state has
turned into a major battleground
over the health care law, and an
example ofhow even Republican-
trending states are still willing to
embrace some elements of the
federal overhaul. The GOP-led
Legislature approved an alter-
native to expanding Medicaid
under the law earlier this year,
backing a plan to use federal
funds to purchase private insur-
ance for thousands of low-income
residents.

Obama defends NSA spying
program while in Stockholm

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mex- and on the streets.
ico's Senate overwhelmingly Over the years the unions
passed a sweeping reform of the developed avirtual lock on teach-
notoriously dysfunctional public er hiring and promotion. Almost
school system early Wednesday, every new teacher must go
handing President Enrique Pena through a union to gain a school
Nieto an important victory in assignment, a practice that has
his push to remake some of his spawned notorious levels of cor-
country's worst-run institutions. ruption, including the sale and
The Senate voted 102-22 in inheritance of teaching positions.
favor of a standardized system Particularly in states with
of test-based hiring and promo- schools controlled by the CNTE,
tion that would give the govern- critics say, union influence has
ment the tools to break teachers transformed schools from edu-
unions' near-total control of cational institutions into mecha-
school staffing. nisms for extracting funds from
That control includes the the state. The CNTE has become
corrupt sale and inheritance of notorious for threatening elect-
teaching jobs, and it has been ed officials with debilitating
widely blamed for much of the strikes and marches in order to
poor performance of Mexican maintain and increase benefits
schools, which have higher rela- that make teaching one of the
tive costs and worse results than primary sources of legal income
any other in the 34-nation Orga- in much of rural Mexico.
nization for Economic Coopera- Mexico today spends a great-
tion and Development. er share of its budget on educa-
"The inheritance and sale of tion than any other member of
jobs has ended," Education Set- the OECD except New Zealand.
retary Emilio Chuayffet said Out of that budget, the country
on Twitter. "Merit is the ideal spends more than 90 percent on
means of access to, and progress staff compensation, again higher
in, a teaching career." than any other member of the
The late-night vote clears a OECD. That spending doesn't
path for Pena Nieto to move for- translate into better results or
ward with a series of even more smaller class sizes, however.
controversial reforms, includ- Only 47 percent of Mexican chil-
ing a measure that would violate dren graduate from the equiva-
one of modern Mexico's longest- lent of high school and Mexico
standing taboos by allowing pri- also has the OECD's highest stu-
vate investment in the state-run dent-to-teacher ratio --25 pupils
oil company. to every teacher, on average.
But there is potential trouble Among the benefits ended by
ahead. the educational reform are pay-
Education advocates say ments of more than $100 mil-
a series of concessions to the lion a year by some estimates
smaller of the two main teachers to thousands of teachers who
unions undermined the reform's work full-time as union orga-
ability to create true change in nizers and rarely, if ever, set
the national education system. foot inside a classroom. Educa-
And despite those conces- tion reform groups have found
sions, the smaller teachers union some union representatives
continued days of debilitating earning hundreds of thousands
demonstrations in Mexico City, of dollars per semester.
sending tens of thousands of The rest of the reform focus-
supporters to shut down the cap- es on reasserting government
ital's main boulevard and protest control by awarding teaching
outside key government building jobs to the highest scorers on a
Wednesday. Thousands attend- standardized test instead of fun-
ed smaller protests in cities neling them through a teachers
around the country. The union union, a measure weakened by
also pledged to throw its sup- a series of back-room compro-
port behind a weekend protest mises withthe CNTE.
against the oil reform by leftist The law maintains union
leader Andres Manuel Lopez control over the current crop of
Obrador. teaching students by delaying
"When Congress is rendered purely test-based hiring for two
void, the only thing that remains years. Serving teachers will have
is the streets," leftist Sen. Mario three chances to pass an annual
Delgado said as a series of his performance test. If they fail
Democratic Revolution Party's all three, they will be moved to
objections to specific measures an administrative job or given
of the reform were rejected in the chance to retire instead of
relatively narrow votes. being fired. In another compro-
The education reform initially mise, failing teachers can appeal
pitted Pena Nieto against the transfers to local labor law mag-
country's main teachers union - istrates, a measure that reduces
LatinAmerica'slargestunionand federal control in favor of local
once one of the most important officials more easily influenced
allies of his Institutional Revolu-
tionary Party. The union, known
by the Spanish acronym SNTE, A
fell into line after its head, Elba
Esther Gordillo, was arrested on
corruption charges in February.
She remainsjailedpendingtrial. 0l £i
A smaller, dissident union
known as the National Educa
tion Workers' Coordinating
Committee, or CNTE, continued
protesting and eventually rallied
thousands of teachers from poor t 5 0
southern states, paralyzing large

sections of the capital for more n -A Udy
than a week.
In the end, the CNTE won a Abrowdp rgrm
series of concessions that help
protect its members. Reform
advocates called the law an y 1
important first step but said
much more remained to be done
in order to change the system.
"It's not everything we would
have hoped for butit's anhistoric
change," said David Calderon,
director of the education reformcea
advocacy group Mexicans First. Learn your potential
"Of course it's just a change
in the rules that still has to be www.ceaStudyAbroad.com
turned into reality." p: 1,800.266.4441
Much of Mexico's educational
dysfunction is attributed to the *Pleasementionthisadwhenyou
relationship formed more than speakwith your CEA rep.
a half-century ago between the

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sident's remarks as Prism, the government can
obtain secret court orders and
aed at assuaging gather mass amounts of data
from major Internet companies
uropean allies such as Google, Apple, Micro-
soft and Facebook.
misgivings The documents also revealed
how other NSA programs can
)CKHOLM (AP) - tap into trans-Atlantic fiber
lent Barack Obama on optic lines so the agency can
esday defended anew the collect and store raw Internet
d States' controversial traffic, including email mes-
illance programs, try- sages sent overseas.
reassure Europeans that Those programs incensed
ational Security Agency's Europeans. Germany's Social
g apparatus acts in limited Democratic leader Peer Stein-
n to root out threats - brueck, the main election chal-
though recently revealed lenger to Chancellor Angela
ams show a more wide- Merkel, said last month he
d information-gathering would suspend negotiations
with the U.S. over a free-trade
can give assurances to agreement until Washington
publics in Europe and clarified details about the NSA's
d the world that we're surveillance programs. Merkel
oing around snooping at also raised the issue with
e's emails or listening Obama when he visited Berlin
eir phone calls," Obama earlier this year.
n response to a Swedish The controversy surround-
ter's question during a ing the NSA surveillance pro-
conference with Prime grams is sure to follow the
ter Fredrik Reinfeldt as president when he attends the
gan a whirlwind, 24-hour Group of 20 economic sum-
Sweden. "What we try to mit in Russia, the second stop
to target very specifically on his three-day overseas trip.
of concern." Russia's government granted
1, the president acknowl- Snowden temporary asylum,
that questions about pri- defying Obama's demands that
were likely to trail him in the 30-year-old American be
e - a continent that is returned to the U.S. to face
ctive of privacy rights - espionage charges.
me time. The issue also Snowden is accused of leak-
ed up during his trip to ing highly secretive documents
any in June, shortly after to The Guardian and Washing-
tapers published reports ton Post newspapers.
on documents leaked by Russia's decision to allow
r government contractor Snowden into the country
rd Snowden. worsened the already tense ties
pite Obama's assertions between Obama and Russian
tore narrow-scope effort, President Vladimir Putin. The
owden-leaked documents U.S. president called off plans
the NSA collects and to hold one-on-one talks with
all kinds of data traveling Putin in Moscow before the
gh the Internet, includ- G-20, choosing instead to add
mails, video chats and a last minute stop in Sweden to
tt messages. Under one his travel itinerary.
lassified program, known While the Swedish govern-

ment bills itself as a champion
of Internet freedom, officials
said ahead of Obama's visit that
they wouldn't raise the sensi-
tive issue with the U.S. presi-
dent.
However, Internet freedom
advocates protesting U.S. sur-
veillance programs were among
thousands of demonstrators
who gathered in Stockholm
for a peaceful protest against
Obama's visit.
Swedes reacted with outrage
in 2008 over a law that gave a
Swedish intelligence service
the green light to snoop on
email traffic crossing the coun-
try's borders. Sweden's small
Pirate Party, which advocates
freedom on the Internet and
is highly critical of govern-
ment surveillance, has inspired
the creation of similar parties
across Europe and beyond.
Air Force One touched
down in Stockholm Wednes-
day morning after an overnight
flight from Washington. Obama
was greeted on the mild, sunny
morning by crowds that lined
the "streets in central Stock-
holm to watch his motorcade
speed by.
Obama's trip marked the
first bilateral visit by a sitting
U.S. president to the northern
European nation. Thousands
of armed police were deployed
on city streets, many roads
and parks were closed in the
downtown area, and concrete
barriers and steel fences have
sprung up in many locations
near where the president was
staying.
Following his meeting with
the prime minister, Obama
paid tribute to the late Swedish
diplomat Raoul Wallenberg,
who is credited with saving
at least 20,000 Jews during
World War II. Wallenberg was
arrested by Soviet forces in
1945 and mysteriously disap-
peared.
4

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