The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 30, 2000, Page 2, Image 2
Contested territory seized by Serbians ■ Police reclaim a strategic village from ethnic Albanian rebels without firing a shot. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 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 residents. 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 aim.” 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 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 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 dency. “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 over. 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. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS TALLAHASSEE, Ha., — Gov. Jeb Bush applauded the Republican-controlled 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 tors.” 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 said. 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 Legislature.” 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 College. “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 bility.” 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 said. •b,. Man Questions? Comments? 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(402) 472-1761 world Wide Web: www.dailyneb.com The Daily Nebraskan (USPS 144-080) IbJisheo by the UNL Publications Board, gas. 20 Nebraska Union, 1400 R St, Lincoln, NE 68588-0448, Monday PtnrOogh Friday during the academic year; imfeL wegkly during the summer sessions. Thepiblk: has access to the Publications Board. m ffoaders are encouraged to submit story ideas arid comments to the Daily Nebraskan by calling v (402)472-2588. ubscriptions are $60 for one year, ostmaster: Send address changes j Daily Nebraskan, 20 Nebraska Union, y400 R St,Lincoln, NE 68588-0448. iriodical postage paid at Lincoln, NE. | ALL MATERIAL COPYRIGHT 2000 DAILY NEBRASKAN Major holiday begins for Muslims THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 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 said. “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. World/Nation 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 Wednesday. Fans lined up all day out side the central London shop where the star was selling off 15,000 items of clothing and accessories. ■Israel Bethlehem Christmas plans called off because of strife BETHLEHEM — 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 soldiers. ■ 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 fixed. But that assessment was challenged Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman. “They don’t know that," said Sen. Richard Shelby, R Ala. ■ 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 Cuba. 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. ■Florida 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 employer. 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 Wednesday. 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.