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January 09, 2014 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-01-09

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6A - Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

India aims at limiting perks
of members of US Embassy

An Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is seen as it is rolled out to launch Pad-OA at NASA's Wallops Flight Facil-
ity, Wallops Island, Va., Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 in advance of the thwarted trip Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014.
Harsh solar storm halts
space station supply flight

New regulations
come in light of
controversial arrest
NEW DELHI (AP) - India
chipped away at America's
diplomatic perks Wednesday,
ordering the envoys to obey
local traffic laws and warning
that a popular U.S. Embassy
club violates diplomatic law
because it is open to outsiders.
The moves were the latest in
a campaign to exert pressure
on the U.S. following the arrest
and strip search last month
of Devyani Khobragade, an
Indian diplomat based in New
York City. Indian officials have
called the strip search barbaric
and unnecessary.
Khobragade, 39, is accused
of paying her Indian maid less
than the U.S. minimum wage
and lying about it on a visa
application. She pleaded not
guilty to fraud charges and is
free on bail.
The case has caused an out-
cry in India, where the idea
of an educated, middle-class
woman facing a strip search is
seen as outrageous and heavy-
handed. India has unleashed

a steady stream of retaliatory
measures. Some of the moves,
such as preventing the Ameri-
can Center from screening
movies, are seen as little more
than needling the U.S.
But other actions have raised
some alarm, including the
removal of concrete traffic bar-
riers around the U.S. Embassy
and revoking diplomats' ID
On Wednesday, the Press
Trust of India news agency
reported that India ordered
the U.S. to stop all "commer-
cial activities" by Jan. 16 at the
American Community Support
Association club. The club has
a restaurant, bar, bowling alley,
swimming pool and other ame-
India says the fact that non-
diplomats can join the club, at
a cost of more than $1,300 per,
year, violates the Vienna Con-
ventionon Diplomatic Relations.
In Washington, U.S. State
Department spokeswoman Jen
Psaki said the U.S. endeavors to
always comply with local laws
and regulations, and is review-
ing India's requests for action.
She declined to criticize India,
and maintained that "both sides
want to move this relationship

PTI also reported that
New Delhi warned that U.S.
Embassy vehicles would not be
immune to penalties for traffic
offenses such as unauthorized
parking and running red lights.
Khobragade was arrested
Dec. 13 and was strip-searched
in custody, as is common prac-
tice according to the U.S.
Marshals. But anger is still
smoldering in India more than
a month after the arrest.
Khobragade could face a
maximum sentence of 10 years
for visa fraud and five years for
making a false declaration if
convicted. She has said she has
full diplomatic immunity. U.S.
federal officials dispute that,
saying her immunity is limited
to acts performed in the exer-
cise of consular functions.
U.S. prosecutors and lawyers
for Khobragade are at odds over
a possible plea deal.
A letter filed Tuesday by
attorneys for Khobragade
accused federal prosecutors
of trying to pressure her into
pleading guilty by next week.
The attorneys renewed a
request for an extension of the
Jan. 13 deadline for an indict-

Weather patterns
suspend trip until
Thursday afternoon
(AP) - A strong solar storm
is interfering with the latest
grocery run to the International
Space Station.
On the bright side, the orbiting
lab has won a four-year exten-
sion, pushing its projected end-
of-lifetime to at least 2024, a full
decade from now.
"This is a big plus for us," said
NASA's human exploration chief,
Bill Gerstenmaier.
On Wednesday, Orbital Sci-
ences Corp. delayed its space
station delivery mission for the
third time.
Another launch attempt will
be made Thursday afternoon.
The company's unmanned
rocket, the Antares, was set to
blast off from Wallops Island,
Va., with a capsule full of sup-
plies and science experiments,
including ants for an educational
project. But several hours before
Wednesday afternoon's planned
flight, company officials took the
unusual step of postponing the
launch for fear that solar radia-
tion could doom the rocket.
Orbital Sciences' chief tech-
nical officer, Antonio Elias, said
solar particles might interfere

with electronics equipment in
the rocket, and lead to a launch
After evaluating the situation
all day Wednesday, Orbital Sci-
ences decided to aim for Thurs-
day at 1:07 p.m. EST.
The solar flare peaked Tues-
day afternoon and more activity
was expected, but the compa-
ny determined that the space
weather was within acceptable
risk levels. The sun is at the peak
of a weak 11-year storm cycle.
Although the solar storm bare-
ly rated moderate, some passen-
ger jets were being divertedfrom
the poles to avoid potential com-
munication and health issues.
GPS devices also were at risk.
But the six men aboard the
space station were safe from the
solar fallout, NASA said, and sat-
ellites also faced no threat. The
Cygnus cargo ship aboard the
rocket, for example, is built to
withstand radiation from solar
The storm also will push the
colorful northern lights farther
south than usual to the northern
The Cygnus was supposed
to fly in December, but a break-
down in the space station's cool-
ing system required repairs by
spacewalking astronauts. The
repair job, which was completed
on Christmas Eve, bumped the
supply mission to this week.

Then frigid temperatures forced
a launch delay from Tuesday to
Wednesday. Then came the sun
- at full force.
Frank Culbertson, an execu-
tive vice president for Virginia-
based Orbital Sciences, said the
delays can be frustrating, but
he pointed out there's nothing
wrong with the rocket itself.
"All we're really delaying is
the success that's going to come
when we execute this mission,"
he told reporters.
NASA is using two private
companies - Orbital Scienc-
es and the California-based
SpaceX - to keep the space sta-
tion stocked. The space agency
turned to private industry for
help following the space shuttle
program; the last shuttle flight
was in 2011.
Russia, Europe and Japan also
periodically launch supply ships.
Russia corners the space sta-
tion market, though, on astro-
naut travel.
NASA astronauts are hitching
rides on Russian Soyuz capsules
until American companies are
ready to launch human crews.
Gerstenmaier said that should
happen by 2017. NASA will eval-
uate the proposals again this
spring before deciding whether
to buy more Soyuz seats for that
year and beyond, he said. Each
seat costs many tens of millions
of dollars.

US doctors attempt to treat
ethnic divisions in S. Sudan

Last year, doctors
restored over 200
patients vision
JUBA, South Sudan (AP)
- After receiving eye surgery
from the American doctors, a
South Sudanese man sat with
other patients who belonged to
tribes he once considered ene-
mies. The men spoke about their
newly restored vision - both
their eyesight and how they now
perceive members of other eth-
nic groups as potential friends,
not sworn enemies.
South Sudan's government
faces monumental challenges:
Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com

Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis

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To bring warring factions, often
from rival ethnic groups, back
toward peace after violence
broke out across the country on
Dec. 15.
The group of American doc-
tors had a unique approach to
help heal age-old rifts between
ethnic groups, but it has been
put on hold because of the fight-
A dry run they tried last year
in Jonglei state, which has since
become the epicenter of the
clashes, was promising. They
restored more than200 patients'
sight through cataract and tra-
choma surgery and helped break
through tribal enmity.
As a condition for the free
surgery, the American doctors
demanded that the members
of rival groups sit together and
talk. Michael Yei of the Moran
Eye Center at the University
of Utah recalls one particular
member of the Murle tribe who
sat with men who belonged to
the Nuer and Dinka groups. The
man soon reached a conclusion
that made the hearts of the med-
ical team soar.
"I always thought in many
ways that the Dinka were devils
and had horns, but they're just
like us," the patient said, accord-
ing to Yei.
"That's the kind of response
we had and were so encour-
aged," Yei continued. "Getting
your sight back is a major and
powerful motivator for people.
It just changes your life."
Capt. Dhuor Andrew Makur,
a 31-year-old doctor in South
Sudan's military, is not sur-
prised that misconceptions like
the one held by the Murle man
could exist in South Sudan. The
population is poorly educated,
with only a 27 percent literacy
Makur studied at the London
School of Hygiene & Tropical
Medicine, an experience that
showed him what it's like to live
in an advanced society.
The West has spent hun-
dreds of millions of dollars in
South Sudan, but Makur said
not enough is being directed to
education and to ways in which
the disparate ethnic groups can
interact. There are only a couple
dozen miles of paved roads in
South Sudan, the world's newest
country but also one of its least
"The good things you want
you have to press for - educa-
tion. We're still wild. We come
from the jungle," Makur said.
"Don't bring money to our
people. Bring U.S. companies.
Investin roads. Let people inter-
Four of his relatives, cousins
mostly, have been killed in the
outbreak of violence.
The violence, which forced
the American eye surgeons

to cancel a planned trip this
month to Jonglei state where
they intended to treat hundreds
of patients, has riven South
Sudan along ethnic lines. They
hope to return when the vio-
lence subsides.
Ethnic frictions have long
existed but were largely over-
looked during the civil war
with Sudan that ended with
a 2005 peace agreement that
set the stage for South Sudan
becoming a nation in 2011. Once
independence was achieved,
ethnic fault lines began shining
A power struggle brewing
for months between President
Salva EMir, a Dinka, and former
Vice President Riek Machar,
a Nuer who was fired in July,
broke out into massive violence
just over three weeks ago. The
sudden violent spiral recalled a
battle in 1991 that saw Machar
lead a Nuer slaughter of the
Dinka, said Jok Madut Jok, the
co-founder of the Sudd Insti-
tute, a research body in South
"This conflict escalated so
fast partly due to the history of
the liberation wars, in which
South Sudanese committed
atrocities against one another
and no accountability for these
atrocities was established when
those wars ended, leaving gap-
ing wounds in the hearts and
minds of so many citizens," Jok
wrote in a paper published this
South Sudan's biggest prob-
lem is that it is a patchwork of
small ethnic groups seeking
power, said Edmund Yakani,
the executive director of a
peace-building organization
called CEPO. Potential solu-
tions include more inter-mar-
riage between ethnic groups, a
government not dominated by
ethnicity and an informed citi-
zenry, Yakani said.
Dr. Alan Crandall, vice-chair
of the department of ophthal-
mology at the University of
Utah, remembers the members
of the Dinka, Nuer and Murle
tribes interacting after their
cataract surgeries last year.
Elderly men sat in a circle on
plastic chairs, their eyes shield-
ed from the sun by large black
post-operation glasses.
During the "peace circle,"
Crandall heard a Nuer man say
he would tell his tribe's young
warriors that they should not
attack other ethnic groups.
The medical group began its
mission in the village of Duk
Payuel in Jonglei through the
efforts of John Dau, a former
"Lost Boy" of Sudan who fled
the 1990s conflict by walking to
Ethiopia and eventually finding
his way to Syracuse, New York.
His foundation provides health
care and medical training.




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