The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 30, 2000, Page 2, Image 2

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seized by
■ Police reclaim a strategic
village from ethnic Albanian
rebels without firing a shot.
LUCANE, Yugoslavia —
Without firing a shot, Serbian
police Wednesday retook a strate
gic village on the edge of a con
tested zone in Serbia from ethnic
Albanian rebels who launched a
recent offensive in the area.
There were no clashes with
the rebels when the police,
backed up by two armored vehi
cles and armed with automatic
weapons, cautiously entered
Lucane, zigzagging house to
house. MostofLucane’s 1,000 eth
nic Albanians fled the village ear
lier, leaving behind only elderly
The capture of the strategic
village - the first regained by
Serbian forces since last week's
rebel offensive, which left five
dead - brought security troops
and the ethnic Albanian militants
into positions some 500 yards
from each other
After the operation, rebels
could be seen entrenched on the
hills near Lucane. The rebels said
they had had no advance word of
the Serb move.
Spokesman Tahir Dalipi
warned the Serbs mot to start any
action that would be rebuffed and
thus break the fragile peace,”
adding: “Otherwise we cannot
predict what will happen.” He did
not say why the rebels withdrew
from Lucane without resistance.
There was no immediate
comment from NATO-led troops
based in nearby Kosovo, who
have been trying to diffuse ten
sions in talks with Yugoslav offi
cials and the rebels.
The ethnic Albanian militants
launched attacks last week into a
a three-mile buffer zone between
Kosovo’s border and southern
Serbia, capturing several strategic
sites. The escalation in violence
triggered Serb threats of a strong
counter-attack - though they
backed off under NATO pressure
to give diplomacy a chance.
A high ranking Serbian police
officer, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, said his forces would
not penetrate deeper into the
buffer zone and would set up a
“permanent presence” in Lucane,
located on a main road to Kosovo
leading through the buffer zone.
The zone has a large Albanian
population. Militants are
demanding to join Kosovo and
want independence from Serbia.
Under an agreement signed last
year, Serbian police are only
allowed to carry light weapons in
the area.
Before entering Lucane, the
Serb police carefully observed
rebel positions, preparing for
resistance. An advance team
leader told his younger col
leagues, “This is it This is for real.
If they fire, aim carefully. Don't
waste ammo. Always take a dear
Mark WMson/Newsmakers
Workers in front of the White House begin work on building presidential inauguration viewing platforms m Washington DC As George W. Bush and Ai Gore remain embroiled in
a legal battle over Florida's electoral votes, preparations for the January 2001 inauguration are proceeding as planned.
Gore presses recounts, Bush waits
A1 Gore raced between TV
interviews Wednesday asking,
“Will we count all the votes or
not?" while his lawyers urgently
sought a court ruling with the
answer he wanted. Both Gore
and rival George W. Bush
pressed forward with separate
blueprints for building a presi
“On Jan. 20, a President Bush
will be ready to take the reins of
the government," said top
adviser Andy Card - awarding
his boss a title that Gore still
hopes will be his.
The vice president is trying
to overturn official results of the
decisive Florida election before
the public’s patience runs out
on the 22-day ordeal. Needing a
quick court victory, Gore
authorized his divided legal
team to ask the Florida Supreme
Court to recount contested bal
lots or order a lower court to do
it, two Democratic sources said
late Wednesday.
One million ballots were
being hauled 400-miles from
southern to northern Florida,
where the precedent-making
case has been thrust upon a
folksy circuit judge. “Pack 'em
up and bring ’em up,” Judge N.
Sanders Sauk said.
Bush planned to meet today
with retired Gen. Colin Powell,
his still-to-be-announced
choice as secretary of state. The
Texas governor also was calling
GOP congressional leaders and
assigning his staff to call
Democratic lawmaker as the
vice president struggled to keep
his party in line.
Gore, too, played president
elect at a business meeting with
running mate Joseph
Lieberman, transition director
Roy Neel, Labor Secretary Alexis
Herman and Kathleen McGinty,
former head of the White House
environment office.
Florida Secretary of State
Katherine Harris, a Republican,
has declared Bush the winner by
537 votes out of 6 million cast -
handing Gore the steep chal
lenge of nullifying a state’s pres
idential election while convinc
ing the public the (ace is not
And thus, the nation has two
presidents-in-waiting postur
ing to be the 43rd man to
assume the mantle.
“It's an amazing story, isn’t
it?” asked Gore, a former jour
nalist joining legions of others
grasping for the words to
describe it.
He was dealt a setback
Tuesday when Sauls refused to
order immediate manual
recounts of disputed ballots in
Palm Beach and Miami-Dade
counties. The judge scheduled a
hearing Saturday on the vice
president’s petition to include
manual recounts in official elec
tion totals - a move that Gore
believes would help him over
take Bush.
Democratic lawyers want
the votes recounted while the
central case is being resolved by
Sauls, both to save time and to
show voters progress toward
overtaking Bush.
Gore’s political advisers said
privately he needed a court vic
tory in the next 48 hours to pre
vent a fatal erosion of the pub
lic’s support. Thus, Gore was
forced to appeal Sauls' decision,
but his advisers debated since
Tuesday night about how do it.
Some on his political and
legal team wanted to ask the
court to take over the entire
case, throwing Gore’s presiden
tial aspirations at the feet of
seven justices with Democratic
ties. Others thought that was too
risky, and urged Gore to take the
more cautious approach he
eventually approved.
Florida Legislature may
take power in own hands
■ The GOP-controlled body
ponders the historic step of
naming their own electors.
Jeb Bush applauded the
Legislature on Wednesday for
considering naming its own presi
dential electors, a historic step
that top lawmakers say could
come as early as next week.
Bush said it would be “an act
of courage" for lawmakers to go
into special session if it appeared
the legal fight between George W.
Bush and A1 Gore would drag past
the Dec. 12 deadline for choosing
voters for the Electoral College.
"I admire them for at least, on
a contingency basis, accepting
that responsibility and duty,”
Bush told reporters outside a
Cabinet meeting. “If there is
uncertainty, the Legislature has
clear delegated authority from the
U.S. Constitution to seek the elec
A legislative committee
planned to decide Friday whether
to recommend a special session.
If the Legislature chooses a
slate of electors pledged to voting
for Bush, it could put the Honda
governor in the odd position of
being asked to sign off on a meas
ure that would effectively make
his brother the president
Bush said he would sign legis
lation naming a separate slate of
electors “if it was the appropriate
thing to do.”
“This would be something
that, if it was to done, would be
clear and I think people expect
governors to say yea or nay,” he
But Bush added that he would
abide by the U.S. Supreme Court if
it ultimately decides Gore won the
election. "If the U.S. Supreme
Court disagrees with the Florida
Legislature, I think the United
States Supreme Court trumps the
Senate President John McKay
and House Speaker Tom Feeney,
both Republicans, would make
the call on whether to bring the 40
senators and 120 House members
into special session.
McKay has relied on the opin
ions of legal scholars who say the
Legislature has the power under
federal law to name electors if
there is a chance the state's voice
will note be heard in the Electoral
“What I’ve heard so far is if all
the contests are not concluded by
the 12th, the Legislature has a
responsibility to create a safety
net,” McKay said. “If that’s our
responsibility, that’s our responsi
Republican state Sen. Jim
King, the second-highest ranking
member of the chamber, said he
hopes “the passing days would see
the courts coming out and mak
ing a special session moot”
However, if that fails to hap
pen by next week, the chances for
a session would increase with
each passing day.
"As Dec. 12 starts blinking out
there like a strobe light, it would
be unconscionable if we disen
franchised Florida's voters,” he
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Major holiday begins for Muslims
NEW YORK—The first of the win
ter’s major religious holidays got under
way this week as Muslims began the
holy month of Ramadan, fasting dur
ing the day and, particularly in the
United States, eating out at night.
While many Muslims in the Middle
East traditionally break the fast by
sharing a special holiday meal with
extended families at home, many
faithful in the United States are just as
likely to share their “iftar,” or breakfast,
in restaurants or in mosques, which
often serve as community centers.
"It’s a wonderful time of charity
and fasting and breaking the fast with
special foods as a whole family togeth
er,” said Farooq Bhatti, president of the
Pak Brothers Yellow Cab Drivers Union
in New York.
Over 4,000 of the city's Yellow Cab
drivers are of Pakistani origin, Bhatti
“So many other drivers say bad
words and I have to struggle to hold my
tongue,” said cabbie Mohammad
Khan. “This is a very holy time.”
At the Malcolm Shabazz mosque in
Harlem, where Malcolm X once
‘You just have to focus on your work and not think
about food. If you think about food, you mess up your
whole Ramadan. When the fast is over you get to eat,
but many homeless people are not so lucky. It makes you
understand what it’s like not to have food."
Fatimah Muhammad
13-year-old Muslim
preached, congregants gathered at
sunset Tuesday to break their fast with
dates and water or apple juice, then to
pray together.
Reflecting American fashion, some
women wore knit or leather hats and
baggy pants instead of the more tradi
tional headscarves and long skirts.
During Ramadan - which usually
lasts 29 or 30 days - observant Muslims
abstain from eating, drinking, smoking
and sexual intercourse between sun
rise and sunset. Children can begin
fasting whenever they feel ready, often
around age 9.
Fatimah Muhammad, 13, was
observing the Ramadan fast for her
third year.
“You just have to focus on your
work and not think about food,” she
said. “If you think about food, you
mess up your whole Ramadan. When
the fast is over you get to eat, but many
homeless people are not so lucky. It
makes you understand what it’s like
not to have food.”
About 6 million Muslims are in the
United States.
The lunar month commemorates
when the Quran, the Muslim holy
book, was revealed to the Prophet
Muhammad about 1,400 years ago.
The month begins with the sighting of
the new moon, so although most
Muslims began fasting on Monday,
others started on Tuesday, and each
year the date falls about 11 days earlier
than the year before.
The Associated Press
■ England
Elton John deans out doset,
sells threads for AIDS charity
LONDON — A luminous
green panther-style suit, leop
ard print jackets, pop star
regalia in electric blue - Elton
John is clearing out his closets
to raise money to fight AIDS.
John, who rocks in a fash
ion class all his own, shared
his unique threads and style at
an elaborate rummage sale
Fans lined up all day out
side the central London shop
where the star was selling off
15,000 items of clothing and
Bethlehem Christmas plans
called off because of strife
Bethlehem’s city fathers have
called off ambitious plans for
Christmas 2000, saying a time
of Palestinian-Israeli conflict
is no time for merrymaking.
The town of Jesus’ birth
will be dark and deserted this
Christmas - without festive
street lights, craft fairs and
choirs in Manger Square.
In the past two months,
seven Palestinians from the
Bethlehem area have been
killed in rock-throwing clash
es and gun battles with Israeli
■ Washington D.C
Energy Department mailed
classified lab documents .
Already shaken by security
lapses, the Energy
Department is now acknowl
edging that 15 percent of clas
sified documents mailed from
three nuclear weapons labora
tories last year went to
addresses not approved to
receive such material.
Department officials insist
the errant mailings, disclosed
in a new report from the
agency’s inspector general,
did not compromise security
and that the problem has been
But that assessment was
challenged Wednesday by the
Senate Intelligence
Committee chairman.
“They don’t know that,"
said Sen. Richard Shelby, R
■ Washington D.C.
Panel: Ease Cuban embargo
to benefit post-Castro era
The United States should
ease the Cuban embargo to
help the island’s transition to a
post-Castro era and reduce
chances of U.S. military inter
vention, a Council on Foreign
Relations panel recommend
ed Wednesday.
The task force urged that
the United States eliminate
travel restrictions to Cuba,
allow regular commercial
flights between the two
nations and permit U.S. com
panies whose businesses were
nationalized by Cuba to
resolve their claims by enter
ing into joint ventures in
It also recommended
increased U.S.-Cuban cooper
ation in fighting drugs, help
ing resolve the Colombian
civil war and developing mili
tary-to-military contacts.
Woman disappears amid
embezzlement allegations
MIAMI — A Florida woman
who took her 5-year-old son to
Cuba against his father’s wish
es left the United States amid
suspicions she had embezzled
as much as $150,000 from her
Arletis Blanco, 29, is sus
pected of stealing from
McKenzie Petroleum of Key
Largo, where she had been an
office manager, the Monroe
County Sheriff’s Office said
Blanco failed to show up
for work on Nov. 13, said
Jessica McKenzie, finance
manager at the oil company.
Blanco gave no notice, and
McKenzie hasn’t heard from
her since.