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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
FROM THE FRONT PAGE
THE MIAMI HERALD
Mubarak’s allies and foes clash in Cairo • EGYPT, FROM 1A
Meanwhile, a leading opposition leader in Cairo, Mohamed ElBaradei, issued a statement calling on the military to “intervene decisively to stop this massacre.” Egypt’s health minister, Ahmed Sameh Farid, said that 596 people had been injured in the battles in Tahrir Square and that one man was killed when he fell off a bridge, The Associated Press reported. The mayhem and chaos — with riders on horses and camels thundering through the central square — offered a complete contrast to the scenes only 24 hours earlier when hundreds of thousands of antigovernment protesters turned it into a place of jubilant celebration, believing that they were close to overthrowing a leader who has survived longer than any other in modern Egypt. Such was the nervousness across the Arab world, spreading from its traditional heart in Egypt, that the leader of Yemen offered on Wednesday to step down by 2013 and offered assurances his son would not succeed him — the latest in a series of autocratic leaders bending to the wave of anger engulﬁng the region. On Wednesday, the enduring standoff between Mubarak and his adversaries took an explosive and perilous turn, offering further proof that Mubarak had no intention of exiting earlier than he had announced. Hours after a call from Egypt’s powerful military for the president’s opponents to “restore normal life,” thousands of men, some carrying fresh ﬂags and newly printed signs supporting Mubarak, surged into Tahrir Square. For several hours in the
afternoon, from a base in Talaat Harb Square, northeast of Tahrir Square, pro-Mubarak supporters wielding rebar, knives, pliers, long sticks and even a meat cleaver surged toward the antigovernment protesters, under cover of rocks thrown by their confederates in the rear and from a roof of a nearby building. At regular intervals, men were carried away from the ﬁght bleeding. A red car and a motorcycle traveled to the front, by the historic Groppi’s caf’, and shuttled the injured men away to a makeshift medical clinic staffed by dozens of doctors. At about 4 p.m., agitated young men started throwing rocks at the windows of residents, without explanation. Men also threw rocks at the ofﬁces of an opposition ﬁgure, Ayman Nour, that overlooks the square. A block away, at Champollion Street, a similar battle raged. Several people tried to stop two young men as they hauled a case of empty Pepsi bottles to their car and tore rags, apparently attempting to make Molotov cocktails. The young men brushed those efforts off. Throughout the afternoon, the president’s supporters emerged in a throng dragging men, presumably from the other side, away. In one case, it was a man in a colorful sweater who was held by a large man who pressed a knife to his captive’s throat. Another time, a mob surrounded a terriﬁed man with a long beard, as soldiers tried to intervene. “God is great!” yelled the man with the beard, as the mob pressed forward. Some of the Mubarak supporters were working-class men who had arrived in buses. Some headed to the battle with their sticks or their
PATRICK BAZ/AFP-GETTY IMAGES
THE OTHER SIDE: Supporters of President Mubarak during a demonstration in Cairo. knives stuffed in their pants. One was a doctor who wore spectacles and held a club wrapped in electrical tape and armored with tacks. Some were men like Mohamed Hassan, an accountant, who had actually attended Tuesday’s antigovernment demonstration. “Of course we needed a change,” said Hassan, standing on the Corniche not far from the Egyptian Museum. Mubarak’s speech to the nation had changed his mind. “I think all of our demands were ﬁlled. We need change, but step by step.” Bystanders watched in shock and anger. One pointed to a bearded man calling people to prayer. “He did this to us,” the man said. Another man, watching the battle in Talaat Harb, said: “Mubarak lit the world on ﬁre.” His friend told him to be quiet. A 25-year-old who had just completed his compulsory military duty, Islam Hes-
somen, denounced the violence. “A few thousand people throwing rocks at each other is destroying the peaceful revolution of millions,” he said. “Mubarak doesn’t deserve to be president anymore.” The pro-Mubarak forces were outnumbered by the protesters, who have spent nine days in the square insisting on his ouster. Clashes erupted close to the Egyptian Museum housing a huge trove of priceless antiquities. There, the two sides traded volleys of rocks and Molotov cocktails and engaged in hand-to-hand ﬁghting. Many were led or carried away with bleeding head wounds. Antigovernment protesters organized themselves into groups, smashing chunks of concrete into smaller projectiles that they hurled at their adversaries. The violence was the most serious since the antigovernment protesters laid claim to Tahrir, or Libera-
tion, Square days ago as they pursued what seemed to be a largely peaceful campaign for Mubarak’s ouster. Hours before the violence erupted, antigovernment protesters had been chanting: “We are not going to go; we are not going to go.” In counterpoint, demonstrators supporting Mubarak chorused back: “He’s not going to go; he’s not going to go.” But the mood changed as plumes of smoke, apparently from tear gas, rose above the rival crowds surging back and forth as the two sides fought for the upper hand. “Where’s the Egyptian army?” antigovernment demonstrators chanted. “They are trying to create chaos,” said Mohamed Ahmed, 30. “This is what Mubarak wants.” The army took no immediate action as the skirmishes intensiﬁed, leaving the competing demonstrators to
press toward one another. But troops with bayonets ﬁxed to their AK-47 assault riﬂes fanned out near the museum as antigovernment protesters sought to build makeshift barricades to keep their foes at bay. And eventually, several tanks maneuvered into position between the two clashing crowds, and soldiers tried to calm both. Some antigovernment protesters used the shelter of the tanks to launch rocks, and others said they believed their foes were agents of the authorities. At one point, they began calling for the soldiers to ﬁre into the air to disperse their opponents. Mohamed Gamil, a 30-yearold dentist in the crowd of antigovernment protesters, said their enemies wanted to “take the revolution from us.” “Never, never, never,” he cried. “We are ready to die for the revolution.” Pro-government demonstrators, too, vowed a ﬁght to the end. “With our blood, with our souls, we sacriﬁce for you, oh Mubarak,” some of the president’s supporters chanted, waving Egyptian ﬂags. Among the pro-government demonstrators, 18 men on horseback and two on camels charged against their adversaries. Earlier, on state television, a military spokesman had asked the government’s foes: “Can we walk safely down the street? Can we go back to work regularly? Can we go out into the streets with our children to schools and universities? Can we open our stores, factories and clubs?” “You are the ones able to restore normal life,” he said. “Your message was received and we know your demands,” the spokesman said. “We are with you and for you.”
Senate committee bans earmarks for 2 years • EARMARKS, FROM 1A
“The handwriting is clearly on the wall,” Inouye said. “The president has stated unequivocally that he will veto any legislation containing earmarks, and the House will not pass any bills that contain them. Given the reality before us, it makes no sense to accept earmark requests that have no chance of being enacted into law.” Congressional earmarks have been the subject of a tense struggle between senior lawmakers who say they are a way to exercise their
legislative prerogative and those — both in and outside Congress — who argue that earmarks are wasteful porkbarrel spending and that they breed corruption by encouraging the exchange of campaign contributions for designated ﬁnancing. In response to such criticism, Congress had already instituted new controls on earmarks and taken greater steps to make them public. But advocates of the ban say the 2011 and 2012 spending bills will be the ﬁrst time in recent years that earmarks have been totally prohibited.
“A one-two punch from congressional Republicans and the president has brought an end to earmarks — at least temporarily,” said Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “No more political muscle trumping project merit. This should usher in a new era for accountability and oversight on federal spending, not just in earmarked accounts, but budgetwide.” Those who have pushed against earmarks said they would not drop their guard because lawmakers had proved adept in the past at
ﬁnding ways around earmark restrictions and some would no doubt try to inﬂuence spending decisions by the executive branch outside the formal deﬁnition of earmarks. While the effect on the federal deﬁcit is negligible, the ban will be a substantial turnaround in congressional policy after decades in which lawmakers like Sens. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia and Ted Stevens of Alaska, who both died last year, proudly embraced the way they showered billions of dollars on their states.
The decision clearly pained Inouye and he suggested that he would resurrect the issue for another look once lawmakers of both parties grasped the impact of not being able to direct spending to favored projects in their districts and states. “Next year, when the consequences of this decision are fully understood by the members of this body, we will most certainly revisit this issue and explore ways to improve the earmarking process,” Inouye said. Other lawmakers have
also suggested that a full ban is not permanent and that members of Congress could again push local spending projects if the federal deﬁcit picture improved. The decision could eliminate one complication from the coming spending debates by putting the House and Senate on the same page regarding earmarks. But the Senate, led by Democrats, and the House, run by Republicans, have very different ideas about where Congress should end up on total spending, making future clashes likely.
Lawsuit says tabloid hacked rival’s scoop • TABLOID, FROM 1A
against the newspaper and its parent company, News Group Newspapers, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News International. Court papers in the case, as described by people familiar with the lawsuit, shed a stark and unﬂattering light on the newspaper’s reliance on phone hacking as a standard reporting method. This conduct is at the heart of a growing array of lawsuits and criminal inquiries against the paper and News Group. Until recently, News of the World maintained that the hacking had been limited to a single “rogue reporter,” its former royals editor, Clive Goodman. Goodman was jailed in 2007, along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, after both pleaded guilty to illegally intercepting the messages of members of the royal household. But the paper’s assertion was undermined last month when it dismissed Ian Edmondson, its assistant editor for news, after he was apparently linked to phone hacking in court papers in a lawsuit brought by the actress Sienna Miller, who also alleges that her phone
messages were illegally intercepted. Also late last month, Edmondson’s former boss, Andy Coulson — News of the World’s editor when hacking seems to have been at its height — resigned as communications director for Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, saying that continued speculation about his role in the scandal was interfering with his job. Coulson continues to say he knew nothing about the hacking. Chris Bryant, a Labour member of Parliament who believes his phone was hacked and has sued to force a judicial investigation of the police’s handling of the case, predicted that with more cases coming up, there would be a ﬂood of new information. “I think there’s a massive scandal still to unfold,” Bryant said. Phillips’ lawsuit is just one of many. Among the celebrities suing or considering suing are Miller; her stepmother, interior designer Kelly Hoppen; actor Steve Coogan; a sports agent named Skylet Andrew; and Chris Tarrant, host of Britain’s Who Wants to Be Millionaire. At least a half-dozen more public ﬁgures are said to be preparing suits.
2/3/2011 5:24:49 AM
THE MIAMI HERALD
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
NEWS EXTRA CANNING IT: Baxter Brewing in Lewiston, Maine, has joined a growing number of small craft-beer breweries distributing their brews in cans rather than in bottles.
Glass paves way for metal in microbreweries BY CLARKE CANFIELD Associated Press
LEWISTON, Maine — Canned beer isn’t just for swilling anymore. Baxter Brewing in Maine has joined a growing number of small craft-beer breweries distributing their brews in cans — just like mainstream mass-produced beers — rather than in bottles. A decade ago, it’s believed there weren’t any U.S. craft breweries canning their suds. Nowadays, nearly 100 sell at least one beer variety in metal. Baxter Brewing founder and president Luke Livingston said cans are good for the beer, the environment and consumers, because they’re easy to take to places like camping trips and golf outings. Still, cans in some quarters have to overcome the stereotype of chugging contests or a beer-bellied John Belushi crushing cans on his forehead in the 1978 movie Animal House. When Livingston decided to open a small brewery sans bottles, some people told him they would never stoop to drinking beer from a can — that bottles were way better, and draft beer was the best. “My retort to those people is that draft beer comes out of a keg,” Livingston said at his brewery, located inside a former textile mill in this central Maine city. “And what’s a keg? A keg’s just a big can, it’s a big metal container.”
Poland warns of Belarus uprising BY MONIKA SCISLOWSKA Associated Press
WARSAW — Poland’s foreign minister warned Belarus’ autocratic president on Wednesday that he is at risk of being overthrown by his own people if they decide to follow the example of protesters in Tunisia and Egypt. “Soon a jet plane will have to be kept on standby in Minsk,” Radek Sikorski said, referring to the capital of Belarus. Sikorski spoke at an international donors’ conference in Warsaw where governments were pledging money and other forms of support for the democratic opposition in Belarus, which faces censorship and the constant threat of arrest under President Alexander Lukashenko. The foreign minister pledged Europe’s continuing support to the people of Belarus and said he had a clear message for Lukashenko: “You are losing. — Sooner or later you will have to ﬂee your own country, your own people.” “The people in Belarus have the right to have a reasonable government,” he said at the conference attended by some 200 representatives from the United States, Canada, European governments and pro-democracy groups. Lukashenko, often called “Europe’s last dictator,” has ruled the nation of 10 million with an iron hand for more than 16 years. He has kept
industry under Soviet-style state control and suppressed opposition with police raids and pressure, but his ﬁery populism and efforts to maintain a Soviet-style social safety net have kept him popular with the working class and the elderly. The warning from Poland comes after mass election protests in Belarus were brutally dispersed and opposition candidates arrested in December following a presidential election that international monitors regarded as fraudulent. Lukashenko was declared the winner, claiming almost 80 percent of the vote. The European Union’s enlargement commissioner, Stefan Fuele, announced that the EU would quadruple its previous aid to the families of those facing repression in Belarus: expelled students, independent media outlets and opposition organizations. That raises the EU aid to ¤15.6 million ($21 million) annually. The United States government pledged earlier this week to boost its annual aid contribution of $11 million by 30 percent, and Poland said it was doubling aid from 20 million zlotys to 40 million zlotys ($14 million). Lukashenko’s grip on power appeared shaken in the run-up to December’s election amid a falling out with his main sponsor and ally, Russia. Moscow, how-
SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP-GETTY IMAGES
DICTATOR: President Alexander Lukashenko has ruled Belarus with an iron hand for more than 16 years. ever, hasn’t followed up on its threat to stop supplying Belarus with the cheap energy that kept its economy aﬂoat and recently warned the West against trying to isolate Belarus, a former Soviet republic. Activists said they hope the conference in Warsaw will help maintain international interest in the plight of the struggle for democracy in Belarus. “We would very much like for the world to remember the events in Belarus for as long as possible because now the attention is being directed to other events in the world, like the unrest in Egypt,” said Dzmitry Novikau, president of the board of the independent European Radio
for Belarus, which transmits news into the country from Warsaw. Poland has taken a leading role in trying to promote democracy in Belarus, considering it a matter of strategic importance to have democracies along its eastern border. Poland is wedged between western European democracies on one side, and Belarus and Ukraine to its east. Also, many of Warsaw’s leaders today are former democratic activists who helped topple Poland’s Soviet-backed communist regime in 1989, and they sympathize with those who have suffered in the Lukashenko’s crackdown on Belarusian media and opposition.
BREAKING STEREOTYPES As the craft beer industry took off in the 1990s, small local and regional breweries distributed their ales, bocks, stouts and other varieties in bottles. Craft beers generally are made in small batches by small breweries and are typically more complex in taste than mainstream beers. U.S. craft-beer brewers sold 282 million gallons in 2009, accounting for 6.3 percent of U.S. beer sales by value, according to the Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo.-based group representing craft brewers. While craft beer has been sold predominantly in bottles, cans have been equated with mainstream beers such as Budweiser, Coors and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The tiny Oskar Blues brew pub in Colorado broke that mold in 2002, when it began canning its Dale’s Pale Ale beer by hand with a tabletop canning machine. Oskar Blues Brewery, which is widely credited with starting the craft beer-in-a-can trend, brewed about 18,600 gallons of canned beer that ﬁrst year. It was such a hit that the owner opened a brewery in 2008 with a high-speed canning line. Production this year is expected to reach 1.9 million gallons, with six different styles of beer. Spokesman Chad Melis said Oskar Blues has tried to educate beer drinkers about the beneﬁts of cans “one beer at a time.” “It’s a little bit of an educational curve for people to get over the preconceived notion that cheap beer is in cans,” Melis said. Since 2002, other microbreweries have jumped on the bandwagon. Baxter Brewing is the latest, putting its Pamola Xtra Pale Ale and Stowaway IPA in cans. IMPROVED TECHNOLOGY A decade ago, it was hard for a microbrewery to can beer because canning equipment was geared toward mass producers, not small-scale breweries, said Julia Herz of the Brewers Association. And can companies required large orders of cans beyond the means of small-scale beer makers, she said. But canning equipment has changed and small breweries can now order small batches of cans, she said. At the same time, craft beer drinkers aren’t averse to the idea of cans the way they once were. Cans improve quality, Livingston said, because the beer isn’t tainted by light and is exposed to less oxygen than bottled varieties. They’re also more conducive to bringing on canoe or camping trips, to the beach, on boats or on the golf course. As for the environment, Livingston said, cans take less fuel to ship because they are lighter than bottles. Consumers, he added, are twice as likely to recycle cans as bottles. Recently, Livingston and brewmaster Michael LaCharite examined their canning machine, capable of ﬁlling and seaming 30 cans a minute, the day before canning was to commence. Out back in a warehouse, 44 pallets were stacked with 342,000 empty cans ready to be ﬁlled. The beer is bound for retail shelves across Maine the ﬁrst week of February. Livingston projects sales of 70,000 cases — that’s nearly 1.7 million cans — this year. Nearly 100 craft beer breweries in 39 states now sell at least one style in a can, said Russ Phillips, of Northampton, Mass., who tracks the numbers on his website, CraftCans.com.
EXPLORING: Visitors viewing a mosaic at the archaeological site of a newly discovered ancient church in Hirbet Madras, central Israel, on Wednesday.
Israel finds 1,500-year-old church BY MATTI FRIEDMAN Associated Press
HIRBET MADRAS, Israel — Israeli archaeologists presented a newly uncovered 1,500-year-old church in the Judean hills on Wednesday, including an unusually wellpreserved mosaic ﬂoor with images of lions, foxes, ﬁsh and peacocks. The Byzantine church located southwest of Jerusalem, excavated over the last two months, will be visible only for another week before archaeologists cover it again with soil for its own protection. The small basilica with an
exquisitely decorated ﬂoor was active between the ﬁfth and seventh centuries A.D., said the dig’s leader, Amir Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority. He said the ﬂoor was “one of the most beautiful mosaics to be uncovered in Israel in recent years.” “It is unique in its craftsmanship and level of preservation,” he said. Archaeologists began digging at the site, known as Hirbet Madras, in December. The Antiquities Authority discovered several months earlier that antiquities thieves had begun plun-
dering the ruins, which sit on an uninhabited hill not far from an Israeli farming community. Though an initial survey suggested the building was a synagogue, the excavation revealed stones carved with crosses, identifying it as a church. The building had been built atop another structure around 500 years older, dating to Roman times, when scholars believe the settlement was inhabited by Jews. Hewn into the rock underneath that structure is a network of tunnels that archaeologists believe were used
by Jewish rebels ﬁghting Roman armies in the second century A.D. Stone steps lead down from the ﬂoor of church to a small burial cave, which scholars suggest might have been venerated as the burial place of the Old Testament Prophet Zecharia. Ganor said the church would remain covered until funding was obtained to open it as a tourist site. Israel boasts an exceptionally high concentration of archaeological sites, including Crusader, Islamic, Byzantine, Roman, ancient Jewish and prehistoric ruins.
Romney beats other GOP candidates in fundraising BY KIM GEIGER
Tribune News Service
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney leads potential 2012 Republican presidential contenders in fundraising, according to reports ﬁled with the Federal Election Commission this week. The former governor of Massachusetts and millionaire founder of Bain Capital raised more than $5.5 million last year through Free and Strong America, his federal political action committee. The PAC closed out 2010 with
nearly $800,000 on hand. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took second place: Her Sarah PAC raised more than $3.5 million, ending the year with about $1.3 million on hand. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty drew $2.1 million but closed out 2010 with just $155,000 on hand. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich each raised less than $1 million through their
federal PACs last year. Those numbers include some but not all of the money that has been raised through state PACs — a tactic that allows potential contenders to take advantage of more lenient state fundraising rules. Once they become ofﬁcial candidates, they’ll be required to route their fundraising through presidential campaign committees, which carry stricter contribution limits. Romney has created the largest such network, with
state PAC afﬁliates in Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire and South Carolina. With federal and state fundraising combined, Romney raised $6.3 million and had $1.4 million on hand going into 2011. Other potential but undeclared GOP presidential contenders include Jon Huntsman, the ambassador to China, who resigned Monday. Huntsman reportedly is assembling a team of advisors who could mount a national campaign.
2/3/2011 1:17:56 AM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
THE MIAMI HERALD
Pursuit of happiness to be a right in Brazil BY MARCO SIBAJA
BRASILIA — In a nation known for its jubilant spirit, massive parties and seemingly intrinsic ability to celebrate anything under the sun, is a constitutional amendment really required to protect the pursuit of happiness? Several lawmakers think so, and a bill to amend Brazil’s Constitution to make the search for happiness an inalienable right is widely expected to be approved soon by the Senate, which reconvened this week. The bill would then go to the lower house. The debate comes a month before Brazil’s Carnival, a raucous festival replete with tens of thousands of half-naked men and women that Rio ofﬁcials call the largest party on Earth. But supporters say the happiness bill is a serious under-
taking despite the revelry, meant to address Brazil’s stark economic and social inequalities. “In Brazil, we’ve had economic growth without the social growth hoped for,” said Mauro Motoryn, the director of the Happier Movement, a non-governmental organization backing the legislation. “With the constitutional amendment, we want to provoke discussion, to seek approval for the creation of conditions in which social rights are upheld.” Similar explorations of ofﬁcially ﬁnding happiness have been pushed by other governments. Both Japan and South Korea include the right to happiness in their constitutions, and earlier this month, the British government detailed plans to begin a $3 million project to measure citizens’ well being.
In the early 1970s, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan pioneered the idea of maintaining a “happiness index.” Well before that, the 1776 U.S. Declaration of Independence made its often-noted stand for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The bill before Brazil’s Congress would insert the phrase “pursuit of happiness” into Article 6 of the constitution, which states that education, health, food, work, housing, leisure and security — among other issues — are the social rights of all citizens. Cristovam Buarque, a senator and former minister of education who is the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, said adding the “pursuit of happiness” was essential to helping ordinary people begin holding to account a government that has long been accused of not providing basic services to the poor.
HORRIFIC: Police officers secure the area where human remains inside a plastic bag were dumped on a street in Acapulco, Mexico, on Saturday.
Containing violence proving tough for Mexico BY RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD New York Times Service
HIGH SPIRITS: A bill to amend Brazil’s Constitution to make the search for happiness an inalienable right is expected to be approved by the Senate.
Cuba to free 4 opposition prisoners into exile in Spain BY PAUL HAVEN
HAVANA — Cuba’s government has agreed to free four opposition prisoners and send them into exile in Spain, a Roman Catholic Church ofﬁcial said Wednesday, but none of them are among a group of 11 prominent peaceful dissidents jailed since a 2003 crackdown on dissent. Church spokesman Orlando Marquez said Wednesday that Alexis Borges, Victor Jesus Hechavarria, Osmel Arevalos Nunez and Rodrigo Gelacio Santos are all to be let go in coming days. Borges is serving a 15-year-sentence for hijacking and is on a list of about 100 political prisoners maintained by Elizardo Sanchez, a well-known Cuban human rights leader. The list contains both violent and nonviolent prisoners jailed for crimes against state security. Little was immediately known about the other men,
but Sanchez told The Associated Press that all three were serving jail terms for violent acts. Under a deal announced in July by Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega, Cuba was to free 52 peaceful activists and social commentators detained in the 2003 roundup. Authorities quickly released 41 of the men, sending all but one of them into exile along with their families. But the process has ground to a halt in recent months, as those who remain behind bars have refused to leave Cuban soil. “It’s interesting that they are using the wide-open door provided by Spain to rid themselves of prisoners implicated in violence — people who wouldn’t be accepted in any other country — while at the same time keeping the 11 peaceful prisoners locked up,” Sanchez said. Alejandrina Garcia, the wife of one of those 11 prisoners, began a hunger strike on Friday to demand her
husband’s release. Garcia’s husband, Diosdado Gonzalez, and another dissident prisoner, Pedro Arguelles, joined the hunger strike on Tuesday. Gonzalez is being held at a maximum security prison in Matanzas, while Arguelles is in jail in the central province of Ciego de Avila. Alexander Aguilar, a spokesman for Garcia, said she has already lost ﬁve pounds since she stopped eating. He said she was only drinking water. The Cuban government had no immediate comment on the hunger strikes, and it was impossible to independently verify the authenticity of the protests. Cuban authorities consider all of the dissidents to be mercenaries paid by Washington to destabilize the government. Garcia is one of the founding members of the Ladies in White, an opposition group comprised of the wives and mothers of jailed dissidents.
ACAPULCO, Mexico — Only a week into the new year, 15 human heads sat outside a gleaming shopping center on the other side of the lush hills that frame this seaside resort’s big tourist hotels. Within hours, several bodies turned up in a taxi and elsewhere, bringing the number of victims to 33 in a single weekend, scattered around a side of town few visitors see. Then two weeks later, the government announced it had captured the leader of a shadowy criminal organization believed to be responsible for the mayhem, as well as for the disappearance of 20 men who came here for vacation last fall. The twin events — the shock of yet another massacre and the government’s ability to take down those it believes responsible — deﬁne the seesawing battle for the right to claim victory at a critical juncture in Mexico’s organized crime war. The increase in violence is indisputable. The government says more than 34,600 have been killed in the four years since President Felipe Calderon took ofﬁce and threw the federal police and military at the cartels, with last year’s toll, 15,237, the heaviest yet. Mexican and U.S. ofﬁcials, crediting U.S. training of the military and what they consider to be an increasingly professional federal police force, point out that more than half of the 37 most wanted crime bosses announced last year have been captured or killed. The government also maintains that the last quarter of 2010 showed a decline in the pace of killings. But the public does not seem to believe it. A poll released Jan. 11 by Mexico’s
BY JENNIFER KAY
MIAMI — One of the ﬁrst Haitians deported to the Caribbean nation since a January 2010 earthquake has died there after suffering cholera-like symptoms in jail, immigration rights activists said. Wildrick Guerrier, 34, was deported to Haiti with 26 others Jan. 20, the ﬁrst group sent home since the quake devastated the capital of that poor nation, they said. All but one of those deported had been convicted of a crime in the United States. The Miami-based immigration rights advocates complain that Haiti’s notoriously unsanitary jails pose a grave risk for those
sent back, adding Guerrier was healthy when he left but was crowded into a jail cell with 17 other men after arriving. A cholera epidemic in Haiti has killed at least 4,000 people since October and sickened 200,000 more. At least one other deportee is now suffering from cholera-like symptoms in Haiti, said Michelle Karshan of Alternative Chance, a group that works with criminal deportees to Haiti. After being detained in Haiti’s capital, Port-auPrince, Guerrier was released to an aunt’s care late last week and died Saturday, Karshan said. Karshan said the man was vomiting and had severe diarrhea in jail before his release.
“He was having that diarrhea in a very tight space crowded with other people, so everybody had exposure,” Karshan said. Guerrier had served less than two years in a U.S. jail for a conviction on a charge of possessing a ﬁrearm by a convicted felon while he was working as an armed security guard, said Cheryl Little of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center. She said that charge stemmed from a previous conviction for battery on a law enforcement ofﬁcer, for which he had served probation. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has said it expects this year to deport about 700 Haitians convicted of crimes.
ate support for the Mexican drug ﬁght, said $500 million in money would be allocated this year. But unlike in the past year, when the emphasis was on delivering helicopters and other equipment, U.S. Embassy ofﬁcials said the aid this year would focus on attacking the impunity that lets criminals get away with murder, by shoring up local and state police forces and the justice system. Only about 2 percent of those charged with organized crime related offenses face trial in Mexico, U.S. ofﬁcials have said. Carlos Pascual, the U.S. ambassador, argued that the longstanding impunity, not Calderon’s offensive, should be blamed for the violence. Alarmed at the high death toll, the Mexican Congress summoned Calderon’s top police ofﬁcial, Genaro Garcia Luna, to a hearing on Monday to explain the violence here and in several northern states. Garcia Luna said a corner was being turned, but legislators, chieﬂy from opposition parties, did not appear convinced. Calderon, who has struggled politically since narrowly winning ofﬁce in 2006, has found his proposals to revamp local policing and prevent money laundering stalled in Congress. At the same time, human rights groups and the U.S. State Department, concerned over accusations of abuse and unexplained disappearances and deaths, are pressing for civilian trials of military personnel. The coming months may prove even more challenging for Calderon because his political opponents may be wary of handing him and his party any victories ahead of the presidential election next year, which is likely to focus on security, political analysts said.
U.S. lawmakers want more security on northern border BY GLENN ADAMS AND SUZANNE GAMBOA Associated Press
Haitian deported by U.S. dies in jail
national statistics institute found that more than 70 percent of respondents believed that the country’s security had worsened since 2009. The ﬁndings mirrored similar research by pollsters showing that, for the ﬁrst time in recent years, Mexicans are more worried about safety than the economy, a near reversal from the year before. “There is a disconnect between what the government thinks it is achieving and what the public perceives as happening,” said Denise Dresser, a veteran political analyst in Mexico City. Because Calderon “made the war the center of gravity of his term, he is now being evaluated on whether he is winning it, and the public perception is he is not winning.” Both Mexican and U.S. ofﬁcials, who say the two countries have never worked closer in ﬁghting crime, are facing growing pressure to prove that their strategy is working. With Republicans now in control of the House of Representatives, the Obama administration will face renewed scrutiny to account for the $1.4 billion, multiyear Merida Initiative, the cornerstone of U.S. aid in Mexico’s drug ﬁght. “Right now I am concerned whether the administration is focused on giving Merida a chance,” said Rep. Connie Mack, the Florida Republican who is the new chairman of a House subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. He says that while he supports the initiative, he will call hearings over what he considers the slow pace in which it has been carried out. “There is a lack of execution,” Mack said. “We are going to ﬁnd out why this is.” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a visit to Mexico last week to reiter-
AUGUSTA, Maine — Less than 1 percent of the 4,000-mile U.S.-Canada border is considered under the operational control of U.S. border ofﬁcials, according to a report from the Government Accountability Ofﬁce. “To me this report is absolutely alarming,” said U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, noting that there is more known terrorist activity in Canada than Mexico. Crossers include people seeking to immigrate illegally, criminals trafﬁcking humans and smuggling drugs, and, potentially, terrorists, said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who released the report with Lieberman. The GAO report says Customs and Border Protection believes it can detect illegal
entries, respond and deal with them on only about 32 miles of the northern border. It says the Border Patrol was aware of all illegal border crossings on only 25 percent of the 4,000 mile border. Most areas of the northern border are remote and inaccessible by traditional patrol methods, the report said. “Few northern border miles had reached an acceptable level of security as of ﬁscal year end 2010,” said the report, citing Border Patrol security assessments. It also found that illegal crossings by terrorists are more likely along the northern border than they are across the southern border. Collins said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security allocates increasing amounts of money to the southern border “to the detriment of the northern border.” The money helps coordinate the federal government’s border security efforts with
state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. “It is very clear from this report that the United States remains very vulnerable,” said Collins, who called the report shocking. A Homeland Security spokesman said the agency has made critical security improvements along the northern border, such as deploying additional Border Patrol agents, technology and infrastructure. The spokesman, Matthew Chandler, added that the department is taking steps to address the GAO’s recommendations. In Canada, some members of Parliament dismissed U.S. worries about security along the countries’ border. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Canada has worked hard to improve security along the border, and there’s no reason for added controls that would slow trade or travel between the two, The Canadian Press reported.
2/3/2011 3:09:59 AM
THE MIAMI HERALD
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
Charlotte emerges as new presidential battleground BY JEFF ZELENY
New York Times Service
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Barack Obama has signaled that he would try to follow the same path to reelection that he charted in his ﬁrst campaign, selecting Charlotte, N.C., to host the 2012 Democratic convention in a decision that instantly conﬁrmed the state as a new presidential battleground. In choosing Charlotte, Obama rejected bids from Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis. The selection was the White House’s ﬁrst major strategic decision of the presidential race and displayed the desire of Democrats to retain some of the states they carried in 2008 for the ﬁrst time in a generation. “We’re looking at an expanding map rather than
shrinking back to husband our resources and play defense,” said Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “We were very excited about winning North Carolina in 2008. Putting our convention there is a very serious sign that we intend to compete there again.” St. Louis was widely seen as the next choice to Charlotte. Although St. Louis has been host to four Democratic national conventions and was recommended by the leading hotel workers’ union for having the most unionized facilities, there were broader concerns raised about Missouri. The state has slipped out of the Democratic Party’s reach in recent presidential elections and it is not expected to be among the top tier of
places where Obama will compete in 2012. One of the country’s most competitive Senate races is taking place in Missouri, with Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, singled out by Republicans as she seeks a second term. McCaskill, one of the president’s closest friends in the Senate, publicly supported having St. Louis host the convention, but she raised several concerns to the White House, according to party ofﬁcials familiar with the selection process. She questioned whether her reelection would be complicated if the convention were held in St. Louis. In a statement, McCaskill said she was “bitterly disappointed” that St. Louis had been passed over. She added, “I’m incredibly
proud of the bid put forth by St. Louis and how bipartisan the support was.” The selection of North Carolina also underscored the hope of Obama and his advisors that they have a better chance of organizing supporters — and ﬁnding new voters — in a conservativeleaning but demographically evolving Southern state than in a traditional battleground like Missouri. The advisors believe the advantages of North Carolina include a population that is 22 percent black, an inﬂux of new residents because of research and banking jobs, and laws that allow last-minute voter registration. In 2008, Obama won the state’s Democratic primary over Sen. Hillary Clinton and became the ﬁrst Democratic presidential candidate since
Jimmy Carter to carry North Carolina in the general election by building a diverse coalition of voters. With the Republican convention to be held in Tampa, Fla., the political gatherings will unfold in two Southern states, both of which could play outsize roles in the campaign. In addition to North Carolina, Obama carried Florida in 2008, but a strong showing by Republicans in last year’s midterm elections showed the volatility of the electoral votes from both states. A key selling point for North Carolina, ofﬁcials said, was its proximity to Virginia, which Obama also carried. Democratic leaders said they intended to make Virginia an integral part of the convention by busing in activists and volunteers.
The selection process was overseen by the president’s top political advisors. The ﬁnalist cities lobbied aggressively to be awarded the convention — and the multimillion-dollar rush of business that accompanies a winning bid — even as some state political ﬁgures raised questions about how they would be affected by a convention in their state. The announcement of Charlotte was made by Michelle Obama in an e-mail to members of Organizing for America, the network of supporters from the 2008 campaign. “We want this to be a grassroots convention for the people,” the ﬁrst lady wrote, adding. “This will be a different convention, for a different time.”
‘Jihad Jane’ pleads guilty in terror case BY JOHN SHIFFMAN
The Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA — Colleen LaRose, the suburban Philadelphia woman known as Jihad Jane, has pleaded guilty to participating in a terror plot to kill a Swedish artist. LaRose, a 47-year-old who lived with her boyfriend and her elderly mother in Pennsburg, spoke only brieﬂy in federal court in Philadelphia, mostly to simply afﬁrm her guilt to the charges outlined by federal prosecutors. With her long tangled blonde hair and stylish ﬁngernails, the soft-spoken, 4-foot-10 LaRose struck a meek and diminutive pose in court, a vivid contrast to the strident, often virulent jihadist prose she posted online. U.S. counterterrorism ofﬁcials have said LaRose represents a new and alarming threat — a U.S.-born woman who had joined an Islamic terror conspiracy. “Today’s plea, by a woman from suburban America who plotted with others to commit murder overseas and to provide material support to terrorists, underscores the evolving nature of the threat we face,” David Kris, the assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement. During the 20-minute hearing, LaRose pleaded guilty to charges that she engaged in a conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, including providing a U.S. passport, and lied to FBI agents about it. If she had gone to trial and lost, LaRose would have faced a likely life sentence, according to the advisory sentencing guidelines. The guidelines now likely call for a term of 30 years to life, though U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker could impose a shorter term. The guilty plea entered be-
fore Tucker did not include any language indicating that LaRose will cooperate against any of her alleged conspirators. One of them, Jamie PaulinRamirez of Leadville, Colo., is charged with providing material aid to terrorists, and is scheduled to stand trial in May. Paulin-Ramirez’s lawyer, Jeffrey Ibrahim, said that the trial is now likely to be delayed because the case strategy will now change. Ibrahim said he is pleased that his client will no longer be “tarnished” by any association with LaRose during the trial. Asked by reporters outside the courthouse if he expects LaRose to become a government witness against PaulinRamirez, the lawyer said: “That’s the question of the day.” Prosecutors declined to comment afterward, as did LaRose’s LAROSE lawyers, Mark T. Wilson and Rossman D. Thompson. “We’ll say more at the sentencing,” Wilson said. Sources have told the Inquirer that LaRose initially confessed following her arrest in October 2009, but a congressman who was briefed by the FBI said last year that he believes her cooperation was short-lived. By many accounts, LaRose has lived a gritty life — divorced twice, arrested or charged often for petty offenses, some of them alcohol-related. LaRose’s arrest in Philadelphia in October 2009 was kept secret until March 2010, when Irish law enforcement ofﬁcials swept up a ring of seven alleged terrorist plotters there.
PLAYING WITH FIRE: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg showing an undercover video at City Hall in New York on Monday.
NYC mayor criticized for gun show sting PHOENIX — (AP) — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg overstepped his power in authorizing investigators to run an undercover sting operation at a Phoenix gun show, Arizona’s attorney general said. Bloomberg’s ofﬁce didn’t bother to give Arizona police any advanced notice of the plan, Attorney General Tom Horne said. “The fact that no such notiﬁcation was made indicates this so-called sting is nothing less than a public relations stunt,” Horne said.
During the sting disclosed Monday by Bloomberg, investigators hired by New York City bought semiautomatic pistols after they said they probably couldn’t pass a background check. Bloomberg has authorized similar stings around the country as part of a push for tougher federal laws to help keep guns off the streets of New York. Horne said Bloomberg ought to consider crime in his own city before sending police ofﬁcers to another state. He cited the latest FBI
crime statistics that show robberies, rapes, aggravated assaults and murders increased in New York City in 2010, compared to the previous year. Bloomberg spokesman Jason Post said the sting was carried out by Arizonabased private investigators, not New York City police. “According to data contained in FBI reports, New York City is the safest big city in the nation, safer than Phoenix,” where the per capita rate of major felonies is twice that in New York, Post said.
Investigators who ran the sting were sold 9 mm guns even after telling two separate sellers they probably couldn’t pass background checks. The mayor has said it’s illegal for merchants to sell a weapon if they have reason to believe the buyer couldn’t pass a background check, even though many aren’t required to perform such checks. The mayor conceded that most illegal guns in New York City are coming from states along the East Coast.
Report finds U.S. unable to curb illegal immigrants Juvenile justice worker BY JULIA PRESTON
New York Times Service
About 11.2 million illegal immigrants were living in the United States in 2010, a number essentially unchanged from the previous year, according to a report from the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington. Despite continuing high unemployment among U.S. workers, record deportations by the Obama administration and expanding efforts by states to crack down, the number of unauthorized immigrants in the work force — about 8 million — was also unchanged, the Pew report found. Those workers were about 5 percent of the U.S. work force. The population of illegal immigrants leveled off after peaking in 2007 at 12 million, then dropping sharply over two years to 11.1 million in 2009, according to the report, which is based on census data. The declines occurred primarily because fewer people from Mexico
and Central America came illegally to the U.S., Pew concluded. The report found no evidence of an exodus of illegal immigrants from the country. In particular there is no sign that Mexicans, who are the largest group — 58 percent — of illegal immigrants, are leaving in larger numbers, the report ﬁnds. The Pew report suggests that the high numbers of unauthorized immigrants are confounding enforcement efforts by the Obama administration and also a recent spate of measures by state legislatures to crack down locally on illegal immigration. Federal immigration authorities deported about 400,000 immigrants in each of the last two years, the highest numbers in the country’s history, according to Department of Homeland Security ofﬁcials. “We just don’t see indications that enforcement is pushing people to leave the U.S.,” said Jeffrey Passel, a
demographer and co-author, with D’Vera Cohn, of the Pew report. The report’s ﬁndings appeared to bring bad news for groups advocating for a strategy called attrition through enforcement, which inspired many of the tougher state measures, including a law Arizona enacted last year that caused a furor. According to supporters, those laws are intended to make life so difﬁcult for illegal immigrants that they will opt to go home. Although much of Arizona’s law was held up by federal courts, other states, including Georgia, Oklahoma and South Carolina, have also adopted tough laws in recent years. But some advocates for that approach said the Obama administration’s decision to end high-proﬁle raids in workplaces might have contributed to illegal immigrants remaining in the United States. “It could be that the shift away from work-site enforcement is making it
more attractive for illegal immigrants to stay here, since they do not feel as threatened at work,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, which seeks reduced immigration to the United States. The Pew report found that about 350,000 babies were born in 2009 to families with at least one illegal immigrant parent, a number also unchanged from the previous year, representing about 8 percent of all newborns. Conservative lawmakers in Congress and state legislatures have announced initiatives to cancel automatic U.S. citizenship for children born here of illegal immigrant parents. They argue that birthright citizenship, which is described in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, encourages illegal immigrants to sneak in to have babies here in order to gain U.S. citizenship for them.
jailed for sexual abuse BY JENNIFER PELTZ Associated Press
NEW YORK — A former juvenile justice worker convicted of taking sexual advantage of underage girls he was supervising at a courthouse has been sentenced to four years in prison, with a judge saying he exploited his job to prey on vulnerable victims. Tony Simmons declined to speak at his sentencing, where he got the maximum possible punishment for his conviction in a case that had sparked demonstrations by women’s advocates. He had been poised to emerge with a probation-only plea deal until a judge rescinded the agreement in November amid criticism from the district attorney and an outcry from women’s rights activists. Jurors last month found Simmons guilty of committing a criminal sexual act and sexual abuse in encounters with two girls inside
the Manhattan Family Court building, but they acquitted him of raping a third girl there. The girls — young offenders who were being held in juvenile facilities — were 15 and 16, under the age of sexual consent in New York. To state Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman, the circumstances and Simmons’ authority over them compounded his crime. “These complainants were young. They were vulnerable. They had come from backgrounds which had failed them in some ways,” she said as she sentenced Simmons, 47. Simmons’ lawyer, Gregory Watford, said he plans to appeal. Simmons’ accusers testiﬁed that he abruptly began groping them after taking them aside in the Family Court building in separate incidents between 2005 and 2008.
2/3/2011 4:59:47 AM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
THE MIAMI HERALD
U.S. general says NATO can prevail in Afghanistan BY ELISABETH BUMILLER
New York Times Service
WASHINGTON — Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said that the United States and NATO could succeed in the war even if Pakistan refused to shut down a lawless frontier sanctuary that militants use for staging attacks on forces across the border in Afghanistan. In comments that sought to make a virtue of a nowacknowledged reality, Rodriguez, the NATO and U.S. commander in charge of the day-to-day ﬁghting in Afghanistan, said that while the United States continued to press Pakistan to root out the
militants from their haven in the northwest tribal region of North Waziristan, the United States could still win militarily if the Pakistani army did not act. “That’s not a mission-stopper in my mind,” Rodriguez told reporters at a Pentagon brieﬁng. He did not provide a deﬁnition of winning militarily. The general’s assessment is the latest evolution in the thinking of U.S. intelligence and counterintelligence ofﬁcials, who have been long frustrated by Pakistan but say that the country’s inaction has produced at least one unintended beneﬁt: The concentration of so many militants in North Waziristan makes it
easier for U.S. drones to hit them. Nonetheless, Rodriguez’s comments are at odds with recent remarks by Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said last month that “we cannot succeed in Afghanistan without shutting down those safe havens.” A White House strategic review of Afghan policy in December came to much the same conclusion. Two classiﬁed U.S. intelligence reports late last year similarly concluded that there was a limited chance of success unless Pakistan hunted down the insurgents near the border. Bruce Hoffman, a terror-
ism expert at Georgetown University, said that historically it had often been difﬁcult if not impossible to defeat an insurgency when it enjoyed a cross-border haven. He cited as examples the North Vietnamese, who had havens in Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War, and the Algerians, who had havens in Tunisia when they were ﬁghting to gain independence from France. There have been crossborder havens for insurgents in Iraq as well, Hoffman said, citing foreign ﬁghters from Syria and Iranian support for Shiite militias. He cited as examples the North Vietnamese, who had havens in Cambodia
and Laos during the Vietnam War, and the Algerians, who had havens in Tunisia when they were ﬁghting to gain independence from France. Rodriguez also said that he did not yet know to what extent the Taliban would be able to reconstitute itself for the spring ﬁghting season after a battering from U.S., NATO and Afghan forces late 2010. Counterterrorism experts view it as the essential question of how deep the Taliban forces are, which will determine whether U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to order an additional 30,000 U.S. forces in 2010 — the full complement arrived by September — has worked.
“I think they’re going to come back with a different type of strategy,” he said, “which I believe is going to be focused on the leadership much more than it ever has.” In other words, he said, the Taliban are likely to focus on the assassination of Afghan political leaders and on planting roadside bombs, rather than ﬁghting with U.S. troops — in part, he suggested, because the battles took a toll on the Taliban in 2010. “They will not be as direct in their confrontations as they were last year,” he said. But asked if the insurgents were “on the ropes yet,” Rodriguez replied, “No, the Taliban is not on the ropes yet.”
Yemeni leader won’t seek another term
SAFE: People pack a shopping mall being used as an evacuation shelter in Cairns, Australia, on Wednesday.
Powerful cyclone strikes Australia BY KRISTEN GELINEAU Associated Press
CAIRNS, Australia — A massive cyclone struck northeastern Australia early Thursday, tearing off roofs, toppling trees and cutting power to thousands, the most powerful storm to hit the area in nearly a century. The eye of Cyclone Yasi roared ashore at the small resort town of Mission Beach in Queensland state, battering the coast known to tourists as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef with heavy rain and howling winds gusting to 186 mph. Yasi compounded the suffering for Queensland, waterlogged by months of ﬂooding that killed 35 people and inundated hundreds of communities. It struck an area north of the ﬂood zone, but the Bureau of Meteorology said it would bring drenching
rains that could cause ﬂoods in new parts of the state. Witnesses reported roofs being ripped off, buildings shaking and trees ﬂattened under the power of the winds. Ofﬁcials said the storm surge would ﬂood some places to roof level. “This is a cyclone of savagery and intensity,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a nationally televised news conference as the storm moved toward the coast. “People are facing some really dreadful hours in front of them.” More than 10,000 people ﬂed to 20 evacuation centers in a danger zone stretching 190 miles, amid strong warnings in the past two days. Many others moved in with family or friends in safer locations. Still, authorities were preparing for devastation, and likely deaths. The storm’s front was
about 300 miles across, with the worst of the winds expected to lash the coast for up to four hours, although blustery conditions and heavy rain could last for a day. “It’s such a big storm — it’s a monster, killer storm,” Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said, adding that the only previous cyclone measured in the state at such strength was in 1918. “This impact is likely to be more life threatening than any experienced during recent generations.” Storm surges of at least 6.5 feet were likely and would almost certainly ﬂood some coastal communities, forecasters said, adding that up to 28 inches of rain could fall within hours in some areas. State disaster coordinator Ian Stewart said just one emergency call had been
received — from six people in their 60s who feared their apartment in the resort town of Port Hinchinbrook would be swamped by the storm surge. They were told to wait it out because it was too dangerous for emergency workers to try to reach them, Stewart said. Winds knocked out power to about 90,000 homes, a number expected to rise. Queensland ofﬁcials warned people for days to stock up on bottled water and food, and to board or tape up their windows. People in lowlying or exposed areas were told to evacuate. More than 10,000 people took shelter in 20 evacuation centers, including one at a shopping mall in downtown Cairns, a city of 165,000. People huddled in hallways with blankets, camping chairs and snacks.
Swiss man admits abusing 100 in his care BY FRANK JORDANS AND JOHN HEILPRIN Associated Press
BERN, Switzerland — A 54-year-old man has admitted sexually abusing more than 100 mentally disabled children and adults in care homes in Switzerland and Germany during almost three decades, in what Swiss police called an unprecedented case. The abuse took place in nine different institutions where the unidentiﬁed man had worked as a therapist since 1982, police in the canton (state) of Bern said.
Authorities have identiﬁed 122 of the victims, with the youngest being one year old at the time of the crime. Forty-two of the victims were over 18. “It’s possible that in the course of the investigation more victims will come to light,” the head of Bern police’s special investigations unit, Gabriele Berger, told a news conference in Bern. Some 100 investigators have been assigned to the case. The man was arrested in April 2010 and has been detained since, but police have
only released details of the case this week to prevent the investigation from being impeded by media interest. Evidence against the man includes photos and hours of video in which he recorded the abuse. Berger said the man had gone about his crimes deliberately, in many instances choosing victims who were unable to speak. “He told police he had always known that what he did was wrong and he was sorry for the victims,” Berger said. The case came to light in March, after two male resi-
dents of a care home in the northeastern canton of Aargau informed their parents of sexual contact with the therapist. During 50 police interviews he gradually admitted sexually abusing 114 mentally disabled patients, some of whom also were physically impaired, police said. He also admitted eight further cases of attempted abuse. Most of the victims were male, authorities said. Eight of the care homes are in Switzerland and one is in Germany.
SANA’A, Yemen —Yemen’s president told Parliament on Wednesday he will not seek another term in ofﬁce or hand power to his son — an apparent reaction to protests in this impoverished nation that have been inspired by Tunisia’s revolt and the turmoil in Egypt. The U.S.-allied Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for nearly 32 years, spoke to lawmakers in both houses of the assembly on the eve of mass rallies that the opposition has called for Thursday in all Yemeni provinces. “I won’t seek to extend my presidency for another term or have my son inherit it,” Saleh told the Parliament. Saleh has earlier tried to defuse simmering tensions in Yemen by raising salaries for the army and by denying opponents’ claims he plans to install his son as his successor. But that hasn’t stopped critics of his rule from taking to the streets of the capital, Sana’a. In January, tens of thousands gathered in days of demonstrations, boldly calling for Saleh to step down — a red line that few dissenters had previously dared to cross here. Saleh’s current term in ofﬁce expires in 2013 but proposed amendments to the constitution could let him remain in power for two additional terms of ten years. After the Tunisian revolt, which forced that country’s president to ﬂee into exile, and the mass protests in Egypt calling for the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year-long rule, Saleh ordered income taxes slashed in half and instructed his government to control prices. He deployed anti-riot police and soldiers to several key areas in Sana’a and its surroundings to prevent riots. But the street protests, led by opposition members and youth activists, continued, adding to the threats to Yemen’s stability. In the Parliament Wednesday, Saleh called upon the opposition to meet for a dialogue on political reforms and their demands. Opposition spokesman Mohammed al Sabri rejected the call for dialogue and expressed doubts about Saleh’s pledge not to seek reelection. Al Sabri said Saleh made a similar promise in 2006, but
then failed to fulﬁll it, ran again and was reelected. “The calls for dialogue are not serious and are merely SALEH meant to be tranquilizers,” al Sabri told The Associated Press. He added that the opposition parties would meet later Wednesday to prepare an ofﬁcial response to Saleh’s announcement. Yemen is the Arab world’s most impoverished nation and has become a haven for al Qaeda militants. Saleh’s government is riddled with corruption, has little control outside the capital, and its main source of income — oil — could run dry in a decade. Nearly half of Yemen’s population lives below the poverty line of $2 a day and doesn’t have access to proper sanitation. Less than a tenth of the roads are paved. Tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes by conﬂict, ﬂooding the cities. The country is enduring a rebellion in the north and a secessionist movement in the south. Saleh’s ruling National Congress Party has 240 seats in the 301-member Parliament. The opposition is a broad specter of mainly leftist and Islamic parties — the most prominent being the Socialists, who governed south Yemen before the north and the south merged in 1990, and the inﬂuential fundamentalist Islamic Islah Party. U.S. considers one of Islah’s leaders, Sheik Abdul Majid al Zindani, an al Qaeda-linked terrorist. As in Egypt, where Mubarak’s son Gamal was believed to be preparing to succeed his father, Saleh’s son Ahmed — an army brigadier and head of the presidential guard and special forces — was also believed to be groomed for succession. Yemen has been the site of numerous anti-U.S. attacks dating back to the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden harbor, which killed 17 U.S. sailors. Radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki, thought to be hiding in Yemen, is suspected of having inspired some of those attacks, including the deadly 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas.
Tibetan Buddhists in India march to support accused religous leader BY ASHWINI BHATIA Associated Press
DHARMSALA, India — Thousands of followers of Tibetan Buddhism’s third most important leader marched Wednesday to show their support after authorities questioned the source of more than a million dollars at his headquarters in northern India. Police and revenue ofﬁcials have twice interviewed Ugyen Thinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa, and his aides about the source of the
$1.35 million in a range of foreign currencies found at the Gyuto Tantric Monastery last weekend. Representatives of the Karmapa — seen as one of the Dalai Lama’s potential successors — say the money was part of donations his followers offer when they visit the monastery to seek his blessings. The amount of cash, however, concerned police, who thought the sums were too large to be merely from donations. The raids are unprecedent-
ed and particularly surprising since the Karmapa is revered by Tibetans and Buddhists across India. India has DORJE gone to great lengths to provide asylum to the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist leaders who have ﬂed Tibet. Hundreds of Tibetan monks and nuns in their traditional maroon robes were
joined in their march by ordinary Tibetans carrying Buddhist ﬂags and portraits of the Karmapa. Softly chanting slogans, they walked solemnly through the streets of the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, carrying signs that read, “Karmapa is innocent. Let truth prevail.” The Karmapa addressed his supporters, and told them not to worry. “All these troubles will be solved in due course in accordance with legal procedures,” he said. The 24-year-old Karmapa
is a member of a different religious order from the Dalai Lama but it is widely thought he will succeed the 75-yearold leader. The probe has put the Kermapa on the defensive and left his aides scrambling to protest his innocence of any wrongdoing. The Karmapa escaped from Tibet in 2000 — as the Dalai Lama did decades earlier. Since then, he has been living in the monastery in Sidhbari, just outside of Dharmsala. China’s government re-
viles the Dalai Lama, accusing him of pushing for independence for Tibet and sowing trouble there. A boy named by the Dalai Lama as the second-highest Tibetan spiritual leader, or the Panchen Lama, disappeared in 1995, shortly afterward and China selected another boy. Dharmsala has been the headquarters of the self-declared Tibetan governmentin-exile since the Dalai Lama ﬂed the Himalayan region in 1959.
2/3/2011 5:48:33 AM
THE MIAMI HERALD
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
CHARLES D. SHERMAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
The quest for dignity BY DAVID BROOKS
New York Times Service
wonder if sometime around 50 years ago a great mental tide began to sweep across the world. Before the tide, people saw themselves in certain ﬁxed places in the social order. They accepted opinions from trusted authorities. As the tide swept through, they began to see themselves differently. They felt they should express their own views, and these views deserved respect. They mentally bumped themselves up to ﬁrst class. Treatment that had once seemed normal now felt insulting. They began to march for responsive government and democracy. I’ve covered some of BROOKS these marches over the years in places like Russia, Ukraine and South Africa. While there are vast differences between nations, the marchers tend to echo certain themes — themes we are hearing once again in the interviews that reporters are doing in Cairo. Protesters invariably say that their government has insulted their dignity by ignoring their views. They have a certain template of what a “normal” country looks like — with democracy and openness — and they feel humiliated that their nation doesn’t measure up. Moreover, the protesters tend to feel enormous pride that they are ﬁnally speaking up, even in the face of danger. They feel a surge of patriotism as the people of their country make themselves heard. This quest for dignity has produced a remarkable democratic wave. More than 100 nations have seen democratic uprisings over the past few decades. More than 85 authoritarian governments have fallen. Somewhere around 62 countries have become democracies, loosely deﬁned. The experiences of these years teach us a few lessons. First, the foreign policy realists who say they tolerate authoritarian government for the sake of stability are ill informed. Autocracies are more fragile than any other form of government, by far. Second, those who say that speeches by outsiders have no inﬂuence have it backward. The climate of opinion is the very basis of the revolt. Third, for all the pessimism and nervousness that accompanies change, most countries that have experienced uprisings end up better
off. We can all think of exceptions, like Iran, but we should greet these events with eagerness and hope. Fourth, while public hunger for dignity is unabated, the road from authoritarianism to democracy is rocky and perilous. For outside powers, the real work comes after the revolution — in helping democrats build governments that work. The other thing we’ve learned is that the United States usually gets everything wrong. There have been dozens of democratic uprisings over the years, but the government always reacts like it’s the ﬁrst one. There seem to be no protocols for these situations, no preset questions to be asked. Policymakers always underestimate the power of the bottom-up quest for dignity, so they are slow to understand what is happening. Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the Egyptian regime was stable, just as it was falling apart. Then their instinct is to comfort those in power. The Obama administration was very solicitous of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak during the ﬁrst days of the protests and of other dictators who fear their regime may be next. Then, desperately recalibrating in an effort to keep up with events, they inevitably make a series of subtle distinctions no one heeds. The Obama administration ended up absurdly calling on Mubarak to initiate a reform agenda. Surely nobody thinks he is actually capable of doing this. Meanwhile, the marchers heard this fudge as President Barack Obama supporting Mubarak and were outraged. The Obama administration’s reaction was tardy, but no worse than, say, the ﬁrst Bush administration’s reaction to the uprisings in the Baltics and Ukraine. The point is, there’s no need to be continually wrong-footed. If you start with a healthy respect for the quest for dignity, if you see autocracies as fragile and democratic revolts as opportunities, then you’ll ﬁnd it much easier to anticipate events. Over the past decades, there has been a tide in the affairs of men and women. People in many places have risked their lives for recognition and respect. Governments may lag, and complications will arise, but still they will march. And, in the long run, we should be glad they do.
Fixing entitlement programs BY DAVID PAULY
.S. citizens about 45 to 50 years old and contemplating retirement should know this: In 2029 primary Medicare beneﬁts will be 15 percent less than what they might expect. Eighteen years from now, the fund that pays for hospitalization expenses — Part A beneﬁts, if you’re up on the jargon — will be exhausted, according to estimates in the 2010 report from Medicare’s trustees. To keep paying beneﬁts, Medicare would then have to depend entirely on revenue from payroll taxes and income taxes, which the trustees estimate will cover 85 percent of estimated outlays in 2029. By 2050, those revenue sources might cover only 77 percent of beneﬁts. Imagine the uproar today if U.S. President Barack Obama or any of the 435 members of Congress would say aloud that Medicare beneﬁts for current workers might be 23 percent less than what senior citizens now get — and which today’s workers help pay for. This is why the talk among Democrats and Republicans about cutting costs never focuses on the plight of Medicare and or the equally worrisome future of Social Security. All calls for reduced spending are welcome. The United States faces a ﬁscal 2011 budget deﬁcit of $1.48 tril-
lion, up from 2010’s $1.29 trillion, the Congressional Budget Ofﬁce estimated this week. Obama wants to slash defense spending by $78 billion over ﬁve years and other discretionary spending by $400 billion over 10 years. Republicans demand $100 billion in immediate cuts. These reductions may seem immaterial to a 40-year-old worker who wants to retire in about 2037 and collect a Social Security check. Yet that’s when the fund that pays for these beneﬁts will be depleted, according to the Social Security trustees. By that time, retirement checks would have to be slashed by about 25 percent, since the trustees estimate the taxes collected then would cover only about 75 percent of beneﬁts. Social Security’s separate fund for disabled workers is in worse shape: It runs out of money in 2018. Trustees say there would be enough in the main retirement fund to keep paying these beneﬁts, though a change in the law would be required to do so. In theory, Medicare Part B insurance, which covers doctor bills, and Part D, for drug coverage, are on solid ground indeﬁnitely — because premiums can be raised annually. But how large a cost will the beneﬁciaries bear? Estimates stretching out over periods longer than next week are suspect. The actuarial guessing by government trustees can vary widely from year to year.
This uncertainty and the notion that 2029 and 2037 seem a long way off encourage politicians to blather on about earmarks, which are insigniﬁcant in the larger picture, rather than entitlements. There’s no arguing, however, with statistics showing that the retirement of all those babies born after the end of World War II will overwhelm the ability of future workers to ﬁnance their beneﬁts. You’d never know it from the cowardice among politicians, but ﬁxing Social Security is rather easy. It would have been even easier if begun earlier. Possible changes include raising the retirement age to 72 from the current 67 (for people born after 1959), extending payroll taxes beyond the current limit of $106,800 on salaries and eliminating or reducing annual cost-of-living increases for beneﬁciaries. Medicare is tougher because you can’t predict the costs of healthcare. Still, you can delay beneﬁts until age 68 rather than beginning at 65. We can make sure that the provisions for cutting Medicare payments in the new healthcare law are upheld. None of this is new. Social Security and Medicare trustees lay out the grim ﬁnancial future every year. What’s really sad is that the solutions do no real harm to anyone — especially against the cost of doing nothing. Won’t someone please stand up?
Osama bin Laden: Forgotten, but a very real threat BY PETER BERGEN
Special to The Washington Post
e have almost 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. We’ve launched more than 200 drone attacks in Pakistan’s remote tribal regions. We’ve spent billions of dollars on intelligence. And as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, we’re still no closer to ﬁnding Osama bin Laden. It seems possible, even likely, that we’ll be saying much the same on the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11, and again on the 20th. Given the sorry state of the hunt for the man who masterminded the largest mass murder in U.S. history, we should not be surprised if bin Laden dies, years from now, in the comfort of his own bed. For the second consecutive year, U.S. President Barack Obama didn’t mention bin Laden in his State of the Union address. The threat of terrorism received relatively little attention; after all, the budget deﬁcit, economic competitiveness and civility in Washington are the big debates of the moment. Besides, bin Laden doesn’t matter anymore — he’s cowering in some cave and no longer running al Qaeda, right? Wrong. We underestimate bin Laden at our peril. His inﬂuence over al Qaeda remains enormous — symbolically, strategically and tactically. His ability to stay alive and free is a great morale booster for al Qaeda and its allies and allows the elusive leader to keep setting the agenda for the global jihadist movement.
Bin Laden’s continued sway over that movement is undeniable. Three years ago, the Saudi government commissioned a study of militants in its custody, interviewing 639 extremists arrested before 2004 and another 53 arrested between 2004 and 2006. In both studies, Saudi ofﬁcials told me, a majority of participants cited bin Laden as their most important role model. Similarly, in Britain, terrorist plotters have made emblematic remarks about al Qaeda’s leader in videos that they believed would be their ﬁnal earthly statements. Terrorists continue to act on bin Laden’s pronouncements. In March 2008, the al Qaeda leader decried the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper as a “catastrophe” meriting swift punishment. Three months later, an al Qaeda suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Danish Embassy in Pakistan, killing six. Bin Laden’s al Qaeda, which has long considered itself a vanguard organization, has ideologically hijacked larger terrorist groups in Pakistan that had not previously seen themselves as part of his global jihad. These include Lashkar e Taiba, which mounted the 2008 attacks in Mumbai; the Pakistani Taliban, which dispatched a bomber to Times Square in May 2010; and Harkat e Jihad e Islami, which recruited a U.S. citizen to kill staffers at the Danish newspaper that printed the prophet Muhammad cartoons. And when militants join al Qaeda, they take an oath of fealty
not to the organization but to bin Laden himself. Despite bin Laden’s continued importance, what has the hunt turned up since the Obama administration assumed ofﬁce? Nothing. The closest we’ve ever come to catching him was at the battle of Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan in December 2001, when he was pinned down by hundreds of Afghan militiamen and dozens of U.S. Special Forces operators — only to disappear into the mountains like a wraith. The consensus view among intelligence ofﬁcers is that bin Laden is now in or around Pakistan’s NorthWest Frontier Province, a region roughly the size of Virginia, full of craggy mountains and xenophobic tribes. And even that information is sketchy. A senior U.S. intelligence ofﬁcial told me recently that he has had “no conﬁdence” in any of the intelligence relating to bin Laden’s possible location “for years.” What will it take to get him? Cash rewards have helped ensnare other al Qaeda leaders, but well-advertised bounties for bin Laden’s head have yielded nothing. Similarly, bin Laden has not communicated via cellular or satellite phone for a decade. The United States, which relies heavily on signals intelligence, is virtually blind in its pursuit. If the trail has run cold, our best chance may be to wait for a misstep on bin Laden’s part. Every time bin Laden appears on one of his somewhat spectral videotapes or sends out an audio message — weighing in on topics from global warming to France’s ban on burqas
— he takes a risk. The tapes must be uploaded to a jihadist website or dropped off at an al Jazeera bureau, giving possible clues to his location. Also, some of bin Laden’s lifelong habits may offer what intelligence analysts call a “signature” of his presence. One is his passion for thoroughbred horses, which the 53-yearold has ridden since his teens. (Even in his late 40s, he boasted of riding up to 40 miles a day.) And while most of Osama’s ﬁve wives and 20 children have left him, he may want to attend family events such as the weddings of children living nearby. Robert Grenier, who was the CIA station chief in Pakistan in 2001, says local informants could also help by identifying unusual amounts or types of food sent to areas where bin Laden is believed to be hiding. (Bin Laden’s ﬁrst wife recalls that his favorite dish was zucchini stuffed with marrow.) Ultimately, the end for bin Laden might come on the business end of a Hellﬁre missile from a CIA drone ﬂying over Pakistan. In 2010, the Obama administration authorized 118 drone strikes, about triple the number that President George W. Bush authorized during his entire two terms. But even though such strikes have “decimated” the leadership of al Qaeda, according to U.S. counterterrorism ofﬁcials, none of the strikes appears to have targeted bin Laden himself. There was a time when our leaders considered getting bin Laden a imperative. “We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security pri-
ority,” Obama said during a presidential debate in 2008. After winning the election, however, he began playing down the hunt. “My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him,” the president-elect said in 2009. “But if we have so tightened the noose that he’s in a cave somewhere and can’t even communicate with his operatives, then we will meet our goal of protecting America.” Even Bush suffered bin Laden fatigue. Though he called for the terrorist’s capture “dead or alive” after 9/11, Bush later changed his tone. “I just don’t spend that much time on him really, to be honest with you,” he said in March 2002. It would help to spend more time on him. Not only does bin Laden remain inﬂuential, but his death or capture would trigger a ﬁerce — and potentially useful — succession battle. Eliminating bin Laden “would create fractures within the movement, renew a debate on broad strategy and remove the one ﬁgure best able to inspire new recruits,” said John McLaughlin, who was the deputy director of the CIA until 2004. And as Roger Cressey, who coordinated counterterrorism policy for the National Security Council at the time of the 2001attacks, put it to me: “How do we close the 9/11 chapter with him still being out there?” Peter Bergen is director of national security studies at the New America Foundation and the author of The Longest War: The Enduring Conﬂict Between America and Al-Qaida, from which this essay is adapted.
2/3/2011 1:49:24 AM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
THE MIAMI HERALD
Miami-Dade Pending Home Sales Continue to Rise
ending sales, an indication of future closings, continue to rise on a local and national level. This points to increased strengthening and stabilization in Miami and South Florida as well as other markets in the U.S., as buyers take advantage of record affordability and favorable market conditions.
Miami-Dade County Total cumulative pending home sales â€“ including single-family homes and condominiums - in MiamiDade County increased 28 percent in January compared to a year earlier, from 8,388 to 10,698, and 2.5 percent, from 10,437, compared to the previous month according to the MIAMI Association of REALTORSÂŽ and the Southeast Florida Multiple Listing Service (SEFMLS). â€œOver the last few months, we have seen pending and closed sales gain momentum while inventory levels continue to drop, said Jack H. Levine, 2011 chairman of the board of the MIAMI Association of REALTORSÂŽ. â€œThis trend in rising sales, particularly for condominiums, coupled with signiďŹ cant reductions in housing inventory, is a very positive sign for the local market. We expect this trend to continue as the job market, economy, and consumer conďŹ dence improve.â€?
Pending Condominium Contract Activity on the Rise Pending sales of condominiums in Miami-Dade County continue to outperform that of single-family homes. In January, condominium pending sales increased a signiďŹ cant 37.2 percent compared to a year ago, from 4,647 to 6,376 and increased 3.3 percent from 6,173 the previous month. Pending sales of single-family homes in January increased 15.531 percent from the previous year, from 3,741 to 4,322, and 1.4 percent from the previous month, when pending single-family home sales totaled 4,264.
SigniďŹ cant Reduction in Housing Inventory The Miami-Dade real estate market continues to experience drops in housing inventory. Supply for all housing types has dropped 47 percent since mid-2008 and eight percent compared to a year ago. Just over the last month, inventory in the county dropped six percent, pointing to increased demand for local properties. â€œLocal buyers are taking advantage of the many opportunities the South Florida market offers, including high affordability that continues to boost contract activity,â€? said 2011 MIAMI Association of REALTORSÂŽ Residential President Ralph E. De Martino. â€œInternational buyers continue to have a signiďŹ cant impact in rising sales and declining inventory in the local market.â€?
Broward County Market Total cumulative pending home sales â€“ including single-family homes and condominiums - in Broward County increased four percent in January compared to a year earlier, from 7,447 to 7,770, and 2.6 percent, from 7,571, month-over-month according to the MIAMI Association of REALTORSÂŽ and the Southeast Florida Multiple Listing Service (SEFMLS). â€œWe continue to see rising year-over-year cumulative pending sales in Broward County while inventory levels continue to drop,â€? said Terri Bersach, president of the Broward County Board of Governors of the MIAMI Association of REALTORSÂŽ. â€œIncreased contract activity combined with rising closed sales and stabilizing prices point to increased demand and market strengthening.â€? Pending condominium sales in Broward again performed better than that of single-family homes in January. Pending condominium sales in Broward were 8.1 percent higher than they were in January 2010, up from 4,137 to 4,472, and were 3.42
percent above what they were the previous month. Compared to January 2010, Broward pending sales of single-family homes decreased .4 percent, from 3,310 to 3,298, but increased 8.1 percent, up from 3,247, compared to the previous month.
Housing Inventory Declining in Broward County In Broward County, total housing inventory has decreased 37 percent in less than two years and dropped two percent just in the last month. â€œThe local market is further expected to strengthen as the job market, the local economy, and credit conditions improve,â€? said Natascha Tello, presidentelect of the Broward County Board of Governors of the MIAMI Association of REALTORSÂŽ. â€œHistorically high affordability and favorable market conditions continue to boost pending and closed sales in Broward County, as buyers take advantage of current opportunities.â€?
U.S. Pending Home Sales Index Nationally, pending sales improved further in December, marking the ďŹ fth gain in the past six months, according to the National Association of REALTORSÂŽ The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forwardlooking indicator, increased 2.0 percent to 93.7 based on contracts signed in December from a downwardly revised 91.9 in November. The index is 4.2 percent below the 97.8 mark in December 2009. The data reďŹ‚ects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, credits good affordability conditions and economic improvement. â€œModest gains in the labor market and the improving
economy are creating a more favorable backdrop for buyers, allowing them to take advantage of excellent housing affordability conditions. Mortgage rates should rise only modestly in the months ahead, so weâ€™ll continue to see a favorable environment for buyers with good credit,â€? he said. â€œIn the past two years, home buyers have been very successful, with super-low loan default rates, partly because of stable home prices during that time. That trend is likely to continue in 2011 as long as there is sufďŹ cient demand to absorb inventory,â€? Yun said. â€œThe latest pending sales gain suggests activity is very close to a sustainable, healthy volume of a mid-5 million total annual home sales. However, sales above 6 million, as occurred during the bubble years, is highly unlikely this year.â€? The PHSI in the Northeast increased 1.8 percent to 73.9 in December but is 5.3 percent below December 2009. In the Midwest the index rose 8.0 percent in December to 84.6 but is 5.1 percent below a year ago. Pending home sales in the South jumped 11.5 percent to an index of 101.9 and are 1.7 percent above December 2009. In the West the index fell 13.2 percent to 105.8 and is 10.7 percent below a year ago. Increased pending sales are an indication of increased future sales. A sale is listed as pending when a contract is signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is ďŹ nalized within one or two months of signing.
MIAMI Association of REALTORSÂŽ Representing 25,000 Real Estate Professionals Property Information in 19 Languages WWWMIAMIRECOM s INFO MIAMIRECOM
2/2/2011 9:08:42 PM
BUSINESS&SPORTS B THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
10-YR NOTE CRUDE OIL
Stocks mixed due to Egypt unrest BY DAVID K. RANDALL AND MATTHEW CRAFT Associated Press
NEW YORK — Stocks ended Wednesday mixed, a day after the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 12,000 for the ﬁrst time since June 2008. The Dow traded in a tight range throughout the day as investors weighed the impact of unrest in Egypt against better-than-expected news on the job market. The Dow rose 1.81 points to end the day at 12,041.97. That’s the highest close since June 19, 2008. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 3.56 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,304.03. Nine of its 10 company groups fell. Financial companies had the largest fall of any group, dropping 0.9 percent. The Nasdaq composite lost 1.63 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,749.56. “The market seems to be catching its breath after that strong run Tuesday,” said Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist for RidgeWorth Investments. Traders’ television screens were ﬁlled with scenes of ﬁghting in Egypt between groups that support President Hosni Mubarak and those who are calling for his ouster. Mubarak vowed Tuesday that he will not run for president in September but did not say he would take any steps to leave ofﬁce before then. Egypt is not a major producer of oil but controls the Suez Canal, a key shipping lane in the global oil business. Oil prices ﬂuctuated throughout the day as traders balanced the clashes in Egypt with a report that fuel supplies were growing in the U.S. Oil settled 9 cents higher at $90.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Early Wednesday, payroll processor ADP said that private companies added more jobs in January than analysts predicted. That’s a hopeful sign for the Labor Department’s monthly employment report, due out Friday. Economists expect the government to say the unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent in January from 9.4 percent the previous month. Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. jumped 16 percent after the company also raised its proﬁt forecast. The company was the best performer in the S&P 500. Mattel gained 1 percent after the country’s largest toy maker said its revenue rose 9 percent on strong sales of Barbie and Fisher-Price toys. Whirlpool fell 2 percent after the company said it would raise prices in response to higher costs of raw materials. Treasury prices fell, pushing their yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.48 percent from 3.43 percent late Tuesday. Falling shares outpaced rising ones by a small margin on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume came to 4.15 billion shares.
Spain signs new economic pact BY DANIEL WOOLLS Associated Press
MADRID — Spain’s government, unions and business leaders put up a united front Wednesday as they signed a pact with reforms aimed at boosting a fragile economy at the heart of Europe’s debt crisis. But yet more bad news preceded the signing at a high-proﬁle ceremony at the prime minister’s ofﬁce: the number of people in Spain ﬁling for jobless beneﬁts has risen to a record of nearly 4.23 million. The overall jobless rate, announced last week, stands at a staggering 20.3 percent. The centerpiece of the 37-page Social and Economic Pact is a measure approved last week by the Cabinet to raise the retirement age gradually from 65 to 67 starting in 2013. New initiatives in the package
include an emergency one-year plan to chip away at the unemployment rate among young people — around 40 percent — by giving companies tax breaks to give youths part-time jobs, which are rare in Spain, and also in the case of people who have been out of work for an extended period. Unions and business leaders agreed to talks on reforming a rigid collective-bargaining system. The government also pledged to consider creating a new fund fueled by worker contributions to compensate them if they are laid off. The pact also contains vague language on improving the Spanish industrial and energy sectors. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the accord, which needs parliamentary ap-
proval, is a sign to the rest of the world that Spain will recover from its economic woes. “The pact is a message of trust for Spain and the European Union,” he said. Most of Spain’s political parties were represented at the ceremony, but despite pressure from the government the center-right Popular Party stayed away. Spokesman Esteban Gonzalez Pons dismissed the event as a meaningless photo op in which the government “gives itself kisses and medals.” His party is leading by more than 10 points in the polls. General elections must be held by March of next year.
Indeed, it was not a day for celebrating. The Labor Ministry said the number of people in Spain ﬁling claims for unemployment beneﬁts rose to a record 4.23 million last month as the country struggles to overcome recession. It said the total increased by 130,930 compared with December for a rise of 3.2 percent. The government said last week the unemployment rate said it had surpassed 20 percent after a slight dip in the third quarter of 2010 and now stands at 20.3 percent, a eurozone high. The actual number of unemployed as of the end of 2010 is nearly 4.7 million. That’s different from the claims number because many people’s jobless beneﬁts have run out.
MERKEL EMERGES AS THE EURO’S DEFENDER IN CHIEF BY JACK EWING AND KATRIN BENNHOLD
New York Times Service
DAVOS, Switzerland — Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany seemed to wear Europe’s debt crisis lightly when she stepped to the podium at the World Economic Forum last week — perhaps because she has already lived through worse. Two decades ago, Merkel experienced the collapse of East Germany, the country she grew up in. That personal history is worth remembering as the world looks increasingly to Merkel to lead Europe out of its debt crisis and, perhaps inevitably, into an era of closer political and economic integration. There are also practical lessons for Europe. Like Greece and Portugal, the former East Germany suffered from a crippling competitiveness gap yet it was locked into a strong currency, the German mark. Merkel has witnessed the enormous political divisions that can arise when taxpayers from one region are compelled to rescue residents from another. “Mrs. Merkel understands deeply the trauma of a bankrupt • TURN TO MERKEL, 2B
‘[The euro] is much more than a currency. It is the embodiment of Europe today.’
— ANGELA MERKEL, Chancellor of Germany
Time Warner earnings rise 22% Google, NEW YORK — (AP) — Time Warner, the owner of Warner Bros., HBO, CNN and DC Comics, on Wednesday said its fourth-quarter proﬁt jumped 22 percent, helped by strong subscription and advertising increases in its TV operations and cost-cutting in publishing. The results beat Wall Street expectations, and Time Warner offered guidance for 2011 that topped analysts’ estimates. The company also raised its dividend. The New York-based media company said its net income rose to $769 million, or 68 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That’s up from $631 million, or 53 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, earnings were 67 cents per share, surpassing the average analyst estimate of 62 cents, as polled by FactSet. Time Warner says overall revenue rose 8 percent $7.8 billion, beating analyst forecasts of $7.5 billion. For this year, Time Warner said it expects earnings, excluding items, to rise by a percentage in the “low teens” from a base of $2.41 per share recorded for last year on the same basis. Assuming an increase of 12 percent, Time Warner would earn $2.70 per share, above the average analyst estimate at $2.64. Revenue from HBO and Turner Broadcasting rose 14 percent to
SHINING THROUGH: Time Magazine, top, and a yearbook edition of People are displayed on a New York newsstand. Time Warner said Wednesday its net income rose to $769 million, or 68 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31.
$3.3 billion, helped by a 21 percent jump in advertising after the doldrums of the recession. At the Warner Bros. movie studio, revenue rose 10 percent to $3.6 billion, mainly due to higher TV licensing fees. However, operating income fell 5 percent due to lower DVD sales. At Time, the publishing division, revenues fell 4 percent to $1.1
billion continuing a long slide as media consumption shifts away from magazines. However, operating income more than doubled to $171 million, as it’s already shouldered the upfront expense of costcutting initiatives. Also Wednesday, Time Warner raised its dividend by 11 percent. The annual dividend is now 94 cents per share, up from 85 cents.
Microsoft spar over search BY JESSICA MINTZ AND MICHAEL LIEDTKE Associated Press
SEATTLE — Google is accusing Microsoft of cheating as the two duel for Internet search supremacy, but Microsoft denies the charge, saying it’s just using all available weapons to lessen its rival’s dominance. The dust-up between the two companies that process virtually all of North America’s search requests grabbed the spotlight at an event sponsored by Microsoft about the future of Internet searches. Microsoft’s practices have even wider implications now that its technology powers Yahoo searches in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Brazil as part of a 10-year partnership that grew out of the companies’ inability to mount a serious challenge to Google on their own. Google’s attempt to embarrass • TURN TO SEARCH, 2B
2/3/2011 5:31:27 AM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
THE MIAMI HERALD
Madoff had wide role in Mets’ finances BY SERGE F. KOVALESKI AND DAVID WALDSTEIN
New York Times Service
NEW YORK — When Fred Wilpon’s son Jeff was married at Fresh Meadow Country Club on Long Island, N.Y., Bernard L. Madoff and his wife were there. When Madoff’s son Mark was married at the same country club, Wilpon, the principal owner of the Mets, was a guest as well. When the Mets negotiated their larger contracts with star players — complex deals with signing bonuses and performance incentives — they sometimes adopted the strategy of placing deferred money owed the players with Madoff’s investment ﬁrm. They would have to pay the player, but the owners of the club would be able to make money for themselves in the meantime. There never seemed to be much doubt about that, according to several people with knowledge of the arrangements. “Bernie was part of the business plan for the Mets,” a former employee of the club said. But Wilpon involved more than his team with Madoff. He also encouraged certain friends to invest. Robert Tischler was such a friend. A onetime fellow commuter on the Long Island Rail Road with Wilpon — they would meet on the platform of the Manhasset station before Wilpon made it big — he came to own a piece of an apartment building with Wilpon and Wilpon’s brotherin-law, Saul Katz. When the men sold the building in the 1980s, Wilpon and Katz, who owns a portion of the Mets, suggested he invest some of his proﬁts from the deal with Madoff, he said. “The numbers were always going up and never going down,” Tischler said. “I was withdrawing $65,000 to $70,000 a year from my Madoff accounts. They were part of my living expenses. “It was terriﬁc,” he said, “until the day of the disaster.” Since the day of the disaster — Madoff’s December 2008 arrest for orchestrating a $65 billion Ponzi scheme —
FRED R. CONRAD/NEW YORK TIMES SERVICE
IN HOT WATER: A lawsuit against New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, right, and his brother-in-law Saul Katz, center, has suggested the relationship with Bernie Madoff was deeper than anyone might have suspected. Wilpon’s relationship with Madoff has been generally acknowledged but not well understood. Wilpon and his family have not spoken publicly about the friendship, except to indicate they were shocked by the scam and harmed ﬁnancially. Now, however, a lawsuit against Wilpon and Katz brought by the trustee for Madoff’s victims has suggested the relationship — ﬁnancially and personally — was deeper than anyone might have suspected. The trustee, Irving H. Picard, has alleged the two men’s dealings with Madoff were extensive and longstanding, and that they went on even after suspicions about Madoff’s operation were raised, according to two lawyers involved in the case. As a result, according to the lawyers, Picard has asserted Wilpon and Katz either knew or should have known that Madoff’s operation was a potential fraud. Wilpon, Katz and their lawyers have refused to comment on the lawsuit, which was ﬁled under seal in December in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan, N.Y. But interviews with current and former associates
of Wilpon and Katz, as well as former employees of the club, former employees of Madoff and others, make clear the relationship was substantial and that the role Madoff played in the ﬁnancial life of the ball club and the Wilpon and Katz families was pervasive. “The relationship between Fred and Bernie became closer and closer because Bernie was returning more and more to Fred in terms of his investments while Bernie is getting exposure from Fred and Saul,” said Jerry Reisman, a lawyer in Garden City, N.Y., who has represented 10 or so commercial real estate investors who lost a total of some $150 million to Madoff. “They both relied on one another,” he said. “It was reciprocal, symbiotic. They both relied on each other for money, and Bernie also relied on Fred for contacts.” One former executive with the Mets recalled how it could work: “I remember vividly Madoff’s name being brought up a lot when the team “would negotiate contracts, particularly with deferments,” said the former executive, who would not be identiﬁed because he did not
want to harm his career in baseball. “That money would be turned over to Madoff. “And as part of friends and family of the Mets, they offered people the opportunity to invest in Bernie. There was talk about Bernie averaging like 15 percent for the Wilpons. It just seemed too good to be true, but then you think the owner has vetted it.” Frank Cashen, the former general manager of the Mets who built the team that won the 1986 World Series, said it was his understanding that several million dollars of his deferred compensation had been invested with Madoff, but that he had been paid. Asked whether it was Wilpon or Katz who was more likely to push the idea of investing with Madoff, Cashen, who stepped down as general manager in 1991, said, “To me, they operated in unison.” The Madoffs and the Wilpons raised their children in Roslyn, N.Y., and their sons were friendly. They traveled together occasionally, according to mutual friends and associates. And the three men — Wilpon, Katz and Madoff — came to serve on philanthropic boards together. When Madoff moved
his ofﬁces from Manhattan’s ﬁnancial district, he took up ofﬁce space in a building owned in part by Wilpon’s real estate company. Three days before Madoff’s arrest, there was a meeting of the board of the Gift of Life, a bone marrow donor registry. It was held in Madoff’s ofﬁce, his former secretary said. Wilpon was there. He was put in charge of fundraising efforts for the organization. “There was always Fred Wilpon,” said Eleanor Squillari, Madoff’s longtime secretary. Katz, she said, was even more of a presence. And Wilpon’s son Jeff would stop by to visit with Madoff’s son, Mark, or call and joke with her on the phone. Madoff, she said, went to Japan with the Mets in 2000. He brought her back a kimono. Still, Squillari thought Madoff was a little more formal around Wilpon and Katz. “Bernie acted differently with Fred than he did with his closer circle of friends — the Shapiros, the Blumenfelds, the Picowers,” she recalled. “They weren’t as chummy. Fred wasn’t part of that clique. Bernie was more businesslike with Fred and Saul.” She and others interviewed said they were convinced Wilpon and Katz did not know about Madoff’s criminal enterprise. But others interviewed, including two former employees of the Mets, said they were struck, both years ago and in hindsight, by the outsize conﬁdence Wilpon had in Madoff. The employees would not be identiﬁed because they did not want to embarrass their former bosses, whom they continue to admire. “It was almost like Fred and the others were marveling over it,” one former employee of the club said. “But it was unclear how Madoff would make the returns or where he would park the money.” Another former employee said he was offered a chance to invest with Madoff by Wilpon and Katz. He said he asked them, “How does Bernie do it?” “He’s smarter than everyone else,” he said he was told.
“I remember hearing the conversations about how Bernie returned 18 percent. And the answer was that he was a very smart guy who was creative and knows where to make plays. Fred was expressing admiration for Bernie.” Indeed, the breadth and depth of investing done with Madoff by the Wilpon and Katz families and their ﬁnancial holdings, including the Mets, are remarkable. The trustee, in his lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from the men, takes aim at roughly 100 accounts held by Wilpon, Katz, their families or business operations. According to an analysis of the list of Madoff’s 15,000 clients, done by Jamie Peppard, a former ﬁnancial auditor who has studied the Madoff case, more than 500 accounts can be tied to Wilpon and Katz. Wilpon had at least 17 accounts just under his name, according to her analysis. The former employees of the Mets said substantial aspects of the club’s ﬁnancial operations seemed to ﬂow through, or wind up with, Madoff — annuities set up for players, cash generated by sponsorship deals, and more. The team regularly discussed investing deferred money from long-term player contracts in Madoff accounts. Bobby Bonilla was among the players who had their deferred money put with Madoff, one former employee said. In those cases, the players would agree to take less money up front and be paid over a number of years, earning interest. It appears the Mets would be able to keep any money earned over that agreed rate, and Madoff regularly produced returns that outdid prevailing interest rates. And when the costs of disability insurance spiked, the former employee recalled, the Mets began to self insure. They did it by investing premiums with Madoff, he said. “He was an investment vehicle that existed for Fred and the organization,” one former employee said. He added, “I always wondered why Bernie was smarter than everyone else.”
Google, Microsoft Merkel is the euro’s latest defender spar over search • MERKEL, FROM 1B
• SEARCH, FROM 1B
Microsoft at an event devoted to innovation served as the latest reminder of the tensions between the technology heavyweights. While Microsoft has been pecking at Google in search, Google has been chipping away at Microsoft’s advantage in computer software with its own suite of competing products. “We just want everyone to know the truth about how Microsoft operates as a search engine, which is by taking the hard work of others and presenting it as their own,” said Amit Singhal, a Google fellow who oversees the company’s closely guarded search formulas. He made his comments in a phone interview. Microsoft did nothing more than adjust its results after monitoring Internet Explorer users’ search requests and clicking activity on Google as well as its own site, Bing, according to Harry Shum, a corporate vice president for Bing. In a blog post, Blum derided Google for engaging in a “a spynovelesque stunt.” Google set out to expose Microsoft’s tactics last year, said Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Web spam team. That’s when it appeared Bing was showing search results that seemed a little too close to Google’s own — especially for obscure, misspelled queries. The similarities raised suspicions that Microsoft’s IE Web browser and various other tools were feeding information back that helped Microsoft’s engineers make Bing’s results more Google-like. Google laid a trap to
prove it. The company made a list of gibberish or obscure search terms and manually linked them to unrelated websites. Then, 20 Google engineers took home laptops loaded with Internet Explorer, searched Google.com for those terms and clicked on the artiﬁcial results. Soon after, searching for the same odd terms on Bing would call up the same odd results. Cutts likened the trap to a mapmaker drawing a fake street or the Yellow Pages adding a fake name to its directory to ﬂush out copycats. The “Bing Sting” was ﬁrst reported on the Search Engine Land blog before emerging as a hot topic during a panel discussion that included Cutts and Shum. The San Francisco event was streamed over the Internet. “It’s not like we actually copy anything,” Shum said. “We learn from customers who are willing to share data with us, just like Google does.” Those data include not only the searches people type into Bing, but also into Google, and what links they click on. The information can be used to ﬁne-tune Bing’s own search results. And that sort of “collective intelligence,” Shum said, is how the Web is supposed to work. Google doesn’t use people’s behavior on Bing the same way, Cutts said during the event. In an interview, Singhal argued it’s unfair for Bing to piggyback on Google’s technology. “It’s like a student cheating on his test and saying, ‘Yeah, I could see my classmates’ test, so I wrote it down,’ ” Singhal said. “If that’s not cheating, what is?”
economy,” said Mathias Doepfner, chief executive of the media and publishing company Axel Springer. As with the euro, the economic logic for German reuniﬁcation was questionable, but politics drove the project. German unity was a goal that trumped all else, and Merkel seems to be taking the view that the euro is similarly indispensable for the continent’s political and economic evolution. “It is much more than a currency,” she said in Davos. “It is the embodiment of Europe today.” The surprising composure with which Merkel has confronted the euro crisis was on view when she spoke in Davos. Merkel used language almost identical to that of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France as she vowed to defend the euro to the end. Yet her body language was notably more relaxed and conﬁdent than that of Sarkozy. GROWING SANGUINE There were also signs in Davos that the international ﬁnancial community was growing more sanguine about the euro. While markets are still volatile, Robert E. Diamond Jr., chief executive of the British bank Barclays, said, “The question of the euro and if the euro is going to stay together is last year’s issue and off the table.” Merkel’s self-assurance may be justiﬁed. By general agreement, Europe cannot advance on any front unless France and Germany, the eurozone’s most powerful economies, agree on the way.
While France sets the example for a handful of Mediterranean countries, most of the rest of Europe looks to Germany. That group includes not only natural ideological allies like Austria or the Netherlands but the former Communist states of Eastern Europe as well. A TEACHING MOMENT
Judging from her speech, Merkel appears determined to use the euro crisis as a teaching moment, a chance to pressure Europe’s laggards to remake their economies as the price for ﬁnancial aid. “Solidarity and competitiveness are the two sides of a European coin,” she said. Germany’s own history of reuniﬁcation is a useful case study. Two decades ago, Merkel saw fellow East Germans priced out of the job market because the value of the German mark reﬂected western, not eastern, productivity levels. About 14,000 businesses were shut down and 4 million jobs lost in the ﬁrst ﬁve years after formal reuniﬁcation in 1990. Unemployment eventually peaked at more than 20 percent in 2005. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, 2 million of the 16 million people living in the east have moved west. Long-term unemployment and wage depression bolstered xenophobic parties like the National Party of Germany, which holds seats in the state Parliament of Saxony. Most striking has been the rise of the Left Party, which grew from the former East German Communist Party. The party won
11.9 percent in the 2009 legislative elections, co-governs in Berlin and hopes to reach the national government in 2013. If East Germans paid a high price for their region’s gradual revival, West Germans did too. In all, the country has raised more than ¤1.7 trillion ($2.3 trillion) with an income tax “solidarity surcharge” to pay for modernizing the former East Germany. While the surcharge eventually succeeded in narrowing the economic gap, it also serves as a window into the strategic thinking of Merkel, who has been called clueless, irresponsible and even un-European because she resisted French proposals to rush to Greece’s rescue. Merkel “knows what resistance and what dangers structural adjustment programs bring with them,” said Volker Perthes, director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, who was in Davos. Last year, Germany had economic growth of 3.6 percent, its highest since reuniﬁcation. Growth in the eastern part of the country was lower, at 2.7 percent, but still well above the average expansion in the European Union. Per capita income in the east reached 80 percent of western levels last year. Unemployment — at 11.7 percent in the east and 6.4 percent in the west — has also converged. The industrial relics of the Communist era have been replaced with a solar power sector and cuttingedge chemical engineering and microelectronics clusters. Now Merkel must sell
Germans on the idea of potentially paying for a string of European bailouts — one reason that she insists that any aid come with strict conditions. Merkel suggested that the crisis could be an opportunity to bind European nations closer together and to reconcile the Continent’s varied levels of social welfare beneﬁts by, for example, raising the retirement age everywhere. INTERNAL TENSIONS Even within Germany, ﬁscal transfers from richer to poorer states under the country’s federal system have long caused tension. Most recently, three wealthy states, Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Hesse, have been preparing a complaint to the Constitutional Court about transfers that they are paying to the indebted city-state of Berlin, which unlike them offers free nurseries to its inhabitants. Merkel also must nudge the German public and the rest of Europe toward a more powerful central authority with the ability to enforce ﬁscal discipline on its members. Like German reuniﬁcation, it will be an arduous journey with no guarantees. But if countries like Greece or Portugal are required to make changes to improve their competitiveness and create more sustainable ﬁnances, it may produce a more resilient euro. “We see the crisis as an opportunity for Greece,” George A. Papandreou, the country’s prime minister, said. “It is also an opportunity for Europe.”
2/3/2011 5:28:59 AM
THE MIAMI HERALD
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
Chevron sues lawyers in Ecuador case
AMY SANCETTA/AP FILE
SEASONAL GAIN: Hershey says its profit rose sharply as holiday shoppers delivered strong sales.
Hershey’s profit rises 7% on strong sales From Miami Herald Wire Services
Candymaker Hershey extended a string of impressive results, saying Wednesday that its fourth-quarter proﬁt rose nearly 7 percent as holiday shopping in the United States was brisk and growth accelerated in emerging markets. The results met Wall Street’s expectations and the company raised its dividend. Despite volatility in cocoa exports from the Ivory Coast that has sent prices for chocolate’s main ingredient soaring, chief executive David West said Hershey has a good handle on costs in 2011. The company expects results to be around the top of its projections of 3 percent to 5 percent sales growth and 6 percent to 8 percent proﬁt growth.
SAN RAMON, Calif. — (AP) — Chevron has ﬁled a countersuit against trial lawyers and their consultants for what it says was a campaign to rig the Ecuadorean court system in a bid to win billions of dollars in a pollution claim. The step is the latest in an 18-year-old court battle that Chevron says is driven by U.S. trial lawyers looking for a big payday, not the 30,000 Ecuadoreans who are allegedly victims of environmental damage due to oil exploration and extraction. The countersuit, which includes federal racketeering claims, was ﬁled with the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit in Ecuador argue that Texaco, which became a subsidiary of Chevron in 2001, contaminated their land over three decades. Chevron, which is based in San Ramon, has long argued that a 1998 agreement Texaco
signed with Ecuador after a $40 million cleanup absolves it of any further liability. Among the complaints in its countersuit, Chevron accuses consultants of ghostwriting an expert’s report that pegged environmental damages at more than $27 billion. It cited outtakes from the documentary Crude, which it obtained by court order, along with other evidence that it says proves the plaintiffs’ representatives also fabricated a peer review validating the report. It speciﬁcally names the plaintiffs’ New York-based lawyer, Steven Donzinger, as well as Stratus Consulting, based in Boulder, Colo., for the alleged fraud. The suit asks the court to declare any judgment against it in Ecuador to be the result of fraud and therefore be unenforceable. It also seeks to recoup its legal fees. A verdict in Ecuador is still pending. The plaintiffs’ spokes-
woman, Karen Hinton, said Chevron’s countersuit is an act of “corporate bullying.” She also accused Chevron of fudging evidence, including asking a contractor to switch contaminated soil samples with clean ones to present to the court.
Donzinger’s attorney, Gerald Lefcourt, said in a statement that the countersuit was meant to “distract attention away from the decision we expect, which will require Chevron to clean up the mess it left” in Ecuador.
DOLORES OCHOA/AP FILE
LONG-FOUGHT BATTLE: Cofan indigenous women stand near a pool of oil in Ecuador’s Amazonian region.
• FISCAL DEFICIT U.S. TREASURY GIVES NEW DATE FOR DEBT LIMIT U.S. Treasury ofﬁcials say the government may not hit its $14.3 trillion debt limit until the end of May, slightly later than anticipated. Mary Miller, Treasury’s assistant secretary for ﬁnancial markets, says the government has collected more tax revenue than anticipated and that could push the timeframe back two weeks, until May 31. Treasury ofﬁcials have said they can make various maneuvers after reaching the debt limit that could delay by eight weeks more an unprecedented default on the national debt. • TECHNOLOGY U.N. SAYS ASIAN TECH EXPORTS FAR OUTPACE U.S. New trade data shows Asia exports two-thirds of the world’s high-tech goods for information and communications, a key shift the U.N. attributes to the global ﬁnancial crisis. U.N. data released Wednesday shows China and Hong Kong export four times as many of the goods as the United States ($113 billion). Asian economies accounted for 66.3 per cent of global exports of information and communication technology in 2009. Exports from India and Malaysia rose, while those from China, Hong Kong and several other Asian nations fell modestly. Exports from the United States, Europe and Japan fell sharply. • APPLIANCE MAKER WHIRLPOOL 4Q PROFIT RISES ON LOWER COSTS Whirlpool’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 80 percent mostly on lower costs and an income tax beneﬁt, but the world’s biggest appliance maker said it is raising prices to help deal with higher raw material costs. The need for price hikes was echoed by Swedish home appliance maker Electrolux earlier on Wednesday, when the company reported that its fourth-quarter net income rose 2 percent. The company earned $171 million, or $2.19 per share, in the quarter. That’s up from $95 million, or $1.24 per share, a year earlier. • PHARMACEUTICALS NO FDA APPROVAL FOR WEIGHT-LOSS DRUG Ignoring the recommendation of its own advisory committee, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has declined to approve the weight-loss drug Contrave, the third such drug the agency has kept off the market in recent months. The agency concluded that the beneﬁts of the drug — about 50 percent of patients were able to lose 5 percent of their body weight in clinical trials, compared to 10 percent of those receiving placebos — were not sufﬁcient to outweigh the potential risks and the potential for abuse. Many patients receiving the drug had a slight increase in blood pressure and pulse rates. • BRAZIL INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT POSTS RECORD RISE Brazil’s government says the country’s industrial output in 2010 posted its biggest increase in more than two decades. The country’s ofﬁcial statistics bureau says industrial production rose 10.5 percent, the biggest increase since the 10.9 percent registered in 1986. The 2010 ﬁgures were in sharp contrast to those of 2009, when output shrank 7.4 percent. The bureau says the 2010 results were mainly due to a 20.8 percent increase in the production of capital goods. Industrial production in December was 2.0 percent higher than in the same month one year earlier. • AUTOMAKER NISSAN SUV UNDER U.S. GOVERNMENT SCANNER The U.S. government has opened a probe into Nissan Pathﬁnder and Inﬁniti QX4 sport utility vehicles over reports of corrosion that can lead to the loss of steering. The investigation covers about 400,000 vehicles, including Pathﬁnders from the 1996-2004 model years and QX4s from the 1997-2003 model years. The National Highway Trafﬁc Safety Administration says it has received 35 reports of corrosion leading to a failure of the driver’s side front strut tower, which affects the vehicle’s alignment. A failure of the strut tower could affect the steering column and make it more difﬁcult to control the vehicle.
ANDREW TESTA/NEW YORK TIMES SERVICE
BELEAGUERED: With their debts at over 170 percent of the gross domestic product, Ireland banks are dependent almost entirely on the International Monetary Fund.
S&P downgrades Ireland’s debt rating LONDON — Standard & Poor’s cut its rating on Ireland on Wednesday amid ongoing fears about the country’s banks despite a ¤67.5 billion bailout of the country in November. The ratings agency warned that another downgrade may be in the ofﬁng. The agency said that it was cutting Ireland’s rating by one notch to A minus from A and warned that another downgrade could come as soon as April. By then, S&P said it will be in a better position to assess the impact of
the recent capital injections into the banking sector. Frank Gill, an S&P analyst, said he expected the government’s rating to remain in the investment grade category after its current assessment of the country’s economic prospects. S&P estimates that the indebtedness of Ireland’s domestic banking groups, excluding the international ﬁnancial services sector, at over 170 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. As a result, S&P said Ireland’s banks are currently
dependent “almost entirely” on the European Central Bank to reﬁnance their current market debts. Much hinges on the Irish economy and what happens with unemployment, Gill said. “Were the labor market to deteriorate further, a rise in the level of delinquencies in the domestic banks’ mortgage books could result in higher new capital requirements than we presently assume,” Gill said. However, he said Ireland’s rating may be supported if
the EU comes up with a more comprehensive solution to the debt crisis that has seen both Greece and Ireland turn to their eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund for bailout loans. “The emergence of a European sovereign debt restructuring framework that could reduce the perceived adverse political and ﬁnancial cost of a sovereign debt restructuring could also lead us to reconsider our view of Ireland’s creditworthiness,” said Gill.
Citi takes control of EMI, ending troubled deal BY BEN SISARIO
New York Times Service
Citigroup has seized control of EMI from Terra Firma, ending the private equity ﬁrm’s disastrous ownership of the famous music company and most likely accelerating the search for new owners. Terra Firma, which is led by the British ﬁnancier Guy Hands, had borrowed heavily to acquire EMI for $8.4 billion at the height of the credit market. In taking over EMI, Citi wrote off 65 percent of its loan, or $3.5 billion, leaving EMI with $1.9 billion of outstanding debt and more than $480 million in cash, the two companies announced in a joint statement. EMI, which releases music by acts like the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Coldplay, and also controls the largest catalog of musical compositions in the world through its publishing division, will continue to operate under its current management, but Citi is expected to look for new buyers soon. The handover in ownership of EMI, a British compa-
ny, ends a publicly acrimonious arrangement between Citi and Terra Firma. In a lawsuit argued late last year, Terra Firma claimed that Citi had misled it during the bidding for EMI in 2007. Hands sought $8 billion in the suit, but a jury sided with Citi. Citi provided about $5.5 billion of EMI’s purchase price in 2007 through a loan to the company. But Citi was unable to resell the debt, and Terra Firma had to invest more than $300 million to meet the requirements of regular ﬁnancial covenant tests. The next test was scheduled for the end of March, and Terra Firma was reportedly unwilling to inject any additional capital. Citi’s seizure of EMI has been widely expected, but it happened more quickly than many on Wall Street or in the music industry thought it would. On Tuesday morning in London, PricewaterhouseCoopers took over as joint administrators of Terra Firma’s holding company for EMI, and sold it to Citi. Even Terra Firma may have been surprised by the timing: The
Financial Times reported that the company did not have any advance warning of it. A spokesman for Terra Firma would not comment on the timing or on the company’s losses, but said: “Terra Firma is pleased that EMI’s debt burden has been reduced through Citi agreeing to write down a substantial proportion of EMI’s debt.” EMI, which has struggled under the weight of its debt and lost major acts like Radiohead amid aggressive cost-cutting, said that Citi’s recapitalization gave it breathing room to operate. “This is a transformational event,” Roger Faxon, chief executive of EMI, said in an interview. Analysts welcomed the transition. “It’s good news for EMI because this transfer of ownership has happened without it going down to the wire, without a crisis,” said Claire Enders, a media analyst in London who has followed Terra Firma and EMI. Some analysts speculated that Citi’s takeover of EMI might have been accelerated to beat another large music
company, the Warner Music, to market. Last month, The New York Times reported that Warner had hired Goldman Sachs to help seek potential buyers for all or part of the company. Warner is also exploring buying EMI. Like Warner, EMI could be split into two divisions, one for recorded music and another for publishing, to suit a buyer or overcome regulatory hurdles. Another possible buyer of all or some of EMI would be BMG Rights Management, a joint venture between the German media giant Bertelsmann and the private equity ﬁrm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. The takeover of a venerable British company by a U.S. bank did not escape the notice of the British news media. But in a memo to employees, Faxon wrote: “Regardless of the country of origin of our owner, EMI remains a British company — both legally and spiritually. The history, tradition and heritage of this company cannot, and will not, be erased by a change in shareholding.”
2/3/2011 3:41:43 AM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
Dow Jones industrials
Close: 12,042.97 Change: 1.81 (.02)
Close: 2,749.56 Change: -1.63 (-.06)
12,000 2,600 11,500 2,400
10,500 2,200 10,000 9,500
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The dollar rose Wednesday after a report showed that U.S. employers added more jobs than economists expected. The euro fell after Standard & Poorâ€™s downgraded Irelandâ€™s credit rating.
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The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.48 percent Wednesday. Yields affect interest rates on consumer loans.
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THE MIAMI HERALD
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2/3/2011 5:32:22 AM
THE MIAMI HERALD
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
STILL ROCKING: Rock legend Robert Plant and his new band set the stage ablaze at the Beacon Theater in New York with new interpretations of Led Zeppelin classics mixed in with traditional gospels and country tunes.
Walking improves seniors’ memory BY RANDOLPH E. SCHMID Associated Press
BAND OF JOY, PRIZING SPIRIT OVER STYLE BY JON PARELES
New York Times Service
NEW YORK — Revisiting musical roots, as maturing musicians often do, can lead to dutiful, preservationist renditions of old songs. But not for Robert Plant, 62, whose Band of Joy played recently at the Beacon Theater in New York, as if twanging and stomping are the route to revelation. The concert had nothing to do with period style and everything to do with spirit. Nearly four decades into a British-rock career
perpetually fascinated by U.S. music, Plant ﬁnally started working with U.S. musicians, a choice that has set his music ablaze. He had U.S. sidemen on Raising Sand, his Grammywinning 2007 duet album with Alison Krauss, which explored country’s haunted undercurrents. And for his 2010 album, Band of Joy (Rounder) — named after the psychedelic 1960s band he sang with before Led Zeppelin — he and his producer and guitarist, Buddy Miller, assembled musicians based around Nashville who
could work inside and far outside the country mainstream. The album places recent songs by Los Lobos, Richard Thompson and the band Low alongside traditional gospel and country tunes: songs about desire, mortality, angels and the devil. But it only hints at what the band unleashed onstage. Band of Joy revisited Led Zeppelin songs like Misty Mountain Hop, Houses of the Holy, Tangerine, Ramble On and Rock and Roll, replacing the original choppy, warped blues
riffs with smoother, more rolling country or oldfashioned rock ‘n’ roll, then pushing toward Plant’s distinctive Anglo-Arabic wails. It gave gospel songs a rockabilly backbeat that only made them sound more fervent. It found the stoic fury of songs harking back to British and Appalachian ballad traditions like Gallows Pole and Thompson’s House of Cards. And it turned a Low song about ominous passion, Monkey, into a howling maelstrom of reverb with an extended crescendo from Miller. “I think that was fantastic,” Plant marveled afterward. Plant’s voice was strong and supple, constantly transforming itself: playful short phrases and curving long ones, quietly spooked intimations and clarion shouts. Band of Joy also includes
Patty Grifﬁn, who sang with country-gospel zeal, and Darrell Scott who played mandolin, pedal-steel guitar and other stringed instruments and sang in a honey-cured baritone. Both stepped forward for solo songs and shared harmony chorales with Plant, who also backed Miller, singing about the devil’s daughter, on harmonica. Band of Joy’s chosen roots are in honky-tonk, mountain gospel and 1950s rock, none of which conﬁned the group’s music, particularly Miller steered his solos into tremolo and drone. When Led Zeppelin was in full cry, it hinted at realms of ecstasy and madness just past the edge of the music. Band of Joy, with very different musical foundations, can do the same thing. After Plant’s restrained studio albums, here’s hoping Band of Joy is recording live.
WASHINGTON — A section of the brain involved in memory grew in size in older people who regularly took brisk walks for a year, researchers have found. The new study reinforces previous ﬁndings that aerobic exercise seems to reduce brain atrophy in early-stage Alzheimer’s patients, and that walking leads to slight improvement on mental tests among older people with memory problems. The new analysis, led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study involved 120 sedentary people, ages 55 to 80. They were divided into two groups: Half began a program of walking for 40 minutes a day, three days a week to increase their heart rate; the others only did stretching and toning exercises. The hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory, tends to shrink slightly with age and that’s what happened in the group that only did stretching. But among people who took part in the walking program, the hippocampus region of the brain grew in size by roughly 2 percent. Researchers found that there was some memory improvement in both groups, but “in the aerobic exercise group, increased hippocampal volume was directly related to improvements in memory performance.” “We think of the atrophy of the hippocampus in later life as almost inevitable,” Kirk Erickson, professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and the paper’s lead author, said in a statement. Added Art Kramer, director of the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois and the senior author: “The results of our study are particularly interesting in that they suggest that even modest amounts of exercise by sedentary older adults can lead to substantial improvements in memory and brain health.”
‘Henry’s Demons’: Phantoms of the mind haunt a family BY DWIGHT GARNER
New York Times Service
Judith Guest’s 1976 novel, Ordinary People, and the 1980 ﬁlm adaptation starring Timothy Hutton, were groundbreaking because they underscored Guest’s title. Mental illness could occur in the most ordinary families, these works suggested. It could happen to anyone. The appeal of the Irish journalist Patrick Cockburn’s distressing new memoir, written with his son Henry, is quite the opposite, because the large Cockburn family is completely extraordinary. Henry’s Demons is about how Henry Cockburn, in 2002, at the age of 20, received a diagnosis of schizophrenia. He was enrolled at the University of Brighton at the time. Trees began talking to him; he leapt naked into frozen lakes; he soiled his pants on a regular basis; he ate raw garlic; his hair became matted into a single mephitic dreadlock; he roamed the woods, his crotch becoming infested with insects; he began to resemble Jesus or a caveman. He would be in and out of mental institutions, all across England, for nearly the next decade. The charming young man his family had known was largely gone. This is an awful, hard-towitness, downbound train of a story. The book’s last sentence, written by Henry, is
as startling as the moment in a horror movie when the mutilated monster, long presumed dead, ﬂicks opens its green eyes. We’ve become accustomed to memoirs of mental illness in recent years, as the public’s appetite for bleak and ungodly ﬁrst-person narratives has increased, and as much of the stigma attached to these conditions has fallen away. Which is another way of saying that books of this sort don’t have the revelatory power they once did. Henry’s Demons is not a masterpiece of the genre. But it is never boring, and not only because Henry, a talented painter, has a beautiful mind (to borrow the title of Sylvia Nasar’s book about the mathematician John Nash, who also suffered from schizophrenia). It’s also a living, breathing book because nearly everyone in his shaggy, expressive family is worth getting to know. The Anglo-Irish Cockburns are well known in Britain; they’re an elite brood of left-leaning journalists, a kind of Kennedy clan of impious dissent. Patrick is a longtime foreign correspondent who now reports from Iraq for The Independent. His two older brothers, Alexander and Andrew, are also iconoclastic journalists; so was their father, Claud. Many of Patrick’s ancestors — politicians, church leaders, judges — wrote books as
HENRY’S DEMONS: Living With Schizophrenia, a Father and Son’s Story By Patrick Cockburn and Henry Cockburn Illustrated. 238 pages. Scribner. $25. well. Evelyn Waugh is a distant cousin. In Henry’s Demons, father and son write alternating chapters (though more of them are by Patrick), and Patrick’s wife, the academic Janet Monteﬁore, Henry’s mother, also contributes several diary entries that are so excellent that you wish there were far more of them. Patrick’s nomadic life gives the book part of its exotic tone. A typical sentence from him reads, “I came back for his half term, traveling through the Hindu
Kush mountains with some difﬁculty.” But nearly every aspect of this family’s life is interesting and quasinovelistic. They have good educations and are not afraid to put them to use. When Henry has a breakdown, he asks his mother “to sing him a protest hymn by James Russell Lowell, the 19th-century New England poet, critic and anti-slavery advocate.” When Henry was a small boy, he loved to watch Puccini’s opera La Boheme on television with his father; he called it The Blue Hen. The family — Henry has a younger brother named Alexander — lives in Canterbury and from there travels the world together. At 12, Henry complained: “It’s no good, I’m not an intellectual, Mummy. You’re an intellectual, Daddy’s an intellectual, Alexander’s an intellectual — I’m not an intellectual.” Late in the book Henry tells us that the novelist David Mitchell was often his baby sitter. It’s a tribute to this book’s frank, frazzled tone that none of this information comes across as pretentious. Henry’s Demons is haunted by Patrick’s own illness as a young man. He contracted polio in 1956, at 6. “I have always had a severe limp, cannot run and do not drive,” he writes. The book is haunted more fully by his fear that his frequent absences, while reporting from the Middle
East and elsewhere, contributed to his son’s breakdown. One recalls Calvin Trillin’s observation, in his memoir About Alice, about parenthood: “Your children are either the center of your life or they’re not, and the rest is commentary.” But surely as many children have had their lives stunted by parents who gave up too much, who exiled their own passions. Patrick clearly loves his son. But he was the product of boarding schools. He was comfortable with the idea of his children growing up largely apart from him. One thing that may have contributed to Henry’s schizophrenia, in addition to genetic factors, was his stoner childhood. “I took a lot of marijuana between the ages of 14 and 19,” Henry writes. Patrick says later in the book: “Jan and I were upset, but we both thought cannabis was fairly harmless. It wasn’t until Henry was in the hospital that we learned of its possible devastating impact on somebody genetically predisposed to schizophrenia.” Henry’s illness might have been less severe if he’d have been willing to take his medications while in various institutions, but often he wouldn’t. “To Henry, his voices and visions were quite real,” Patrick writes, “and what he heard and saw was often beautiful and revelatory.”
Henry adds: “I wanted to live life to the fullest and felt that taking the medication would hinder me.” He referred to his worst breakdowns as his “polka-dot days.” His mother tries her best to keep up everyone’s good humor. After Henry makes one particularly paranoid comment, she looks at him and says, clearing the air, “Darling, you’re bonkers!” Henry’s Demons is a probing tour through the glories (and occasional idiocies) of the British health care system, through the history of schizophrenia and through the often barbarous ways patients have been treated. It’s a tour, too, through the psyches of two bright people watching their son unravel, the stitching pulled from his mind like wool from the bottom of a sweater. “I feel like someone playing an unwinnable game of Snakes and Ladders,” Monteﬁore writes in her diary after a bad day. “We’ve just painfully climbed a ladder, now we’re down a bloody great snake, back at square one, goddammit.” By the end of the book, Henry’s condition has somewhat improved. But it is among this book’s bedrock realizations that, as Patrick puts it: “We, as a family, will always have to cope with the consequences of his schizophrenia. But that, after all, is what families are for.”
2/3/2011 5:04:59 AM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
THE MIAMI HERALD
BY JIM DAVIS
BY SCOTT ADAMS
Opening lead — ♠ four
only looking at an overtrick. The key distribution is when A deceptive declarer West has the heart king, in tries not only to persuade a which case the club ace is defender to take a trick when clearly wrong. You want to he shouldn’t, but also to duck sneak a heart trick through, WEST EAST after which you will cash the ♠974 ♠ A Q 10 8 6 at the wrong moment. Sometimes the target is heart ace and run diamonds. ♥K97 ♥2 not specifically to gain a trick When West has 3-3-3-4 shape, ◆852 ◆ 10 7 6 ♣J863 ♣ A Q 10 2 by this maneuver, but to gain he will only be able to ruff a tempo or to keep an oppothe fourth diamond, by which SOUTH nent off play. An example is time one of your club losers ♠K52 today’s deal, where against will have vanished. ♥ A Q 10 4 3 four hearts the defense starts Is it easy for West to rise ◆AQ4 with a spade to the ace, folwith the heart king on the ♣94 lowed by the spade queen. first trump? I do not think so, You should take the spade and I have seen all 52 cards. Vulnerable: East-West king and decide on a plan. And note that if East has Dealer: North You may think everyone the heart king, you may surknows how to take a trump render an unnecessary heart The bidding: finesse — but the right play trick but the contract is now South West North East is actually to lead a low heart safe. The defense can get Pass 1♠ from hand at trick three! only one club trick for sure. 2♥ Pass 2 ♠ Pass 2 NT Pass 4 ♥ All pass Why? Well, if the heart finesse is onside, you are 2-3 —BOBBY WOLFF NORTH ♠J3 ♥J865 ◆KJ93 ♣K75
For more comics & puzzles, go to www.MiamiHerald.com/comics.
ACES ON BRIDGE
CHESS QUIZ ZITS
BY JIM BORGMAN AND JERRY SCOTT
BY CHARLES SCHULZ
WHITE MATES IN 3 Hint: Finish with a pawn.
Solution: 1. Qf7ch! Kh6 2. Qf6ch Kh5 3. g4 checkmate! [from Goena-Azaiadze ’10].
BY HECTOR CANTU AND CARLOS CASTELLANOS
Dear Abby: What’s your opinion of having a double wedding and a double shower for two girls within the same family? Would it be appropriate to split the monetary gift since it combines the events? Please do not identify me because I have already expressed my dismay to another family member and was told that I’m the only person who thinks it is inappropriate. I need to know if it is socially acceptable. Anonymous in the Midwest
BY GARRY TRUDEAU
My mother and her identical twin sister married in a double wedding. Because they did practically everything together, I wouldn’t be surprised if they also had a double shower — although I never thought to ask her about it. Please remember that wedding and shower gifts are just that — GIFTS. You are not compelled to spend more than you can afford, but there should be a separate one for each event that you attend.
BY RICK KIRKMAN AND JERRY SCOTT
Dear Abby: I work with another woman who always comes to the office in professional attire. She is lovely. My only problem with her clothing is that it’s so devoid of color that it makes her appear incredibly drab and depressed. She wears all beige, all black or all white, which does nothing to enhance her beauty. Would it be presumptuous of me to suggest she might add some color to her wardrobe, or should I just leave it alone? Should I buy her a scarf to brighten up all those muted ensembles? Suffering in Beige-land
Sometimes I will offer a quick, casual smile to people I encounter in a grocery store or other public place. Last week, a woman frowned at me when I smiled at her. Another woman passed me with a puzzled look on her face. A young man’s inflated ego allowed him to respond with a “No thanks!” after I offered him a smile. It’s a shame that in today’s world some people have become so ill-mannered that they cannot return a smile and accept it for what it is — a friendly gesture. Have a Nice Day in Bargersville, Ind. My mother used to say that the most effective cosmetic a woman can wear is a smile. In stressful times we don’t see enough of them. The individuals you encountered must have been having a bad day. Allow me to share a wonderful thought penned by a gentleman named Robert L. Bass: “Warmth is a communicable disease. If you haven’t got it, no one will be able to catch it from you.” Please don’t stop smiling. To My Asian Friends: Today marks the first day of the Lunar New Year. It’s the Year of the Rabbit — so let’s hop to it! Love, Abby
ANSWER TO WEDNESDAY’S PUZZLE:
If I were you I would tread carefully in this area. Your lovely co-worker may wear monochromatic outfits because she does not wish to draw attention to her beauty and inner vitality. If you are close to her, you might buy her a scarf and say you picked it up because you thought it would look wonderful with her beige suit. However, if she doesn’t wear it, don’t take offense and don’t push the issue. Not everyone has the same taste in fashion. Dear Abby: I am a 46-year-old woman who has always believed in the adage “A smile is the only language that everyone can understand.”
HOROSCOPE IF TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY: Industry pays off during the next six to eight weeks. If you keep your nose pressed to the grindstone, you will very likely be rewarded with an opportunity to move higher on the ladder of success. • AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The lessons you have learned in a classroom or boardroom can be put to good use. • PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Seeing a challenge when none exists is completely counterproductive.
• ARIES (March 21-April 19): Accuracy is like an angel who can protect you from future problems. • TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Set priorities where career and family are concerned to achieve harmonious balance. • GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Postpone making major purchases or attending luncheons and other social outings. • CANCER (June 21-July 22): Remain oblivious to pleas for help if they are not well warranted. You can help the underdogs of the world by bolstering their confidence in their abilities and showing them how to stand on their own two feet. • LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Cut to the chase. Take action, but don’t fritter away valuable time. A generous gesture might not be appreciated. • VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Cut costs without cutting corners. Being a superefficient manager of your own resources will soon prove its merit. • LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Like Hansel and Gretel, you should follow the breadcrumbs. Get to work early as energy levels may lag. • SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Play Captain Courageous and dare to explore the possibilities. Zero in on finances. • SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Mistakes can come back to haunt you. This is a good time to be vigilant about paying your bills on time. • CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): It is time to prove you are well organized and proficient when handling your own accounts.
CROSSWORD ACROSS 62 Drilling platform 1 Easily accomplished 63 Great Lake 7 Rheumatism symptom 64 Winner’s wreath 11 Had been 68 “What ___, chopped 14 Nervous system disorder liver?” 15 Soccer score 69 Twinge of pain 16 Expression of bafflement 70 Popsicle choice 17 Summer camp 71 “May I help you?” accommodations 72 Vanquish, as a dragon 18 Daunting burden 73 Mammal fur 19 When you’re going to show up (Abbr.) DOWN 20 Stay in the wings 1 Govt. airwaves monitor (with 57-Across) 2 “Caught you!” 23 Polish target 3 Corn core 26 Encouraging shout 4 They provide 27 For fear that shade to eyes 28 ___ non grata 5 Post-Mardi Gras period 31 Moreover 6 Hardship’s antithesis 34 Familiar, as a joke 7 Early mall? 35 Green tap 8 Structure that 37 Honolulu resembles a shell how-do-you-dos 9 Transport, as freight 41 Stay out of public view 10 “If all ___ fails ...” 44 Sign up 11 Word in a 45 Trees loved by squirrels geography quiz 46 Symbol of simplicity 12 Sedans and coupes 47 Former communist 13 Golf club part country 21 Poet’s Muse 49 Like horseshoes 22 Snobbish 51 Memento from a battle 23 Bicycle wheel radius 54 Sushi selection 24 Oscar winner Hunt 56 Rabbit fur (Var.) 25 What a bailiff maintains 57 See 20-Across 29 Whitish gemstones
30 Zeroes 32 Carefree, spirited adventures 33 Walk through puddles 36 Helium’s atomic number 38 Hefty ballerina in “Fantasia” 39 One that SETI hopes to hear from
40 42 43 48 50 51 52 53
Hardly swanky Serves tea St. ___ Girl (beer brand) Membrane of the inner eye Not just imagined Pound dog Doorbell sound, perhaps Breastplate of Zeus
55 58 59 60 61
Sorrowful poem ___ up (invigorates) Like dental surgery Unappetizing chow Tortoise’s fabled opponent 65 Some strands in a cell 66 Golden goose goodie 67 Gen. Robert E. ___
2/2/2011 9:00:05 PM
THE MIAMI HERALD
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
When it comes Style points for alibis to trades, Lakers have few options T their formerly cute little franchise has been playing he meat defense does under the creepy shadow not seem to be of Bernard L. Madoff. More working. recently, ownership has been Otherwise, Alberto Condistracted, not by the loss tador would not be facing a of a few million here and a provisional one-year penalty few million there, but by a and the loss of his 2010 Tour trustee’s lawsuit to recoup de France title. funds for some less fortunate Contador was found to Madoff clients, perhaps for have traces of clenbuterol, as much as $1 billion. Real a banned weight-loss and money, as the saying goes. muscle-building drug, while The meat defense is just he was winning last year’s the latest variation on the Tour. He says he must have theme offered by athletes eaten beef tainted with the who ﬂunk the Dixie cup test: stuff. It’s all a big mistake, ofﬁcer. I His defense is enough to can explain. make anybody think about When Contador tested becoming a vegetarian. positive after winning the Or maybe a lawyer. Tour de France for the third It takes a degree in juristime, authorities with a prudence to be a sports fan knowledge of testing said it these days, particularly in the was theoretically possible for United States, which has a clenbuterol, which is somebacklog of legal cases involv- times used to fatten cattle, to ing champions named Bonds work its way into the system and Clemens and Armstrong. of athletes. But testing has Decades of culpability been tightened after a generhang over the impending ation of blatant yet probably Super Bowl. The National tip-of-the-iceberg cheating in Football League has been cycling. Contador’s defense forced — by sheer empirical could ﬁnd no evidence that evidence that its money and clenbuterol was in the beef power cannot obscure — to he supposedly ate at the confront the brain damTour. age and rapid deterioration The Spanish cycling fedfrom the essential act of eration — his own country, that sport: one brute slamthat is to say — said last ming into another. The NFL Wednesday that it intended did not want to know. to give Contador a one-year In New York, Mets fans suspension rather than the are facing the reality that two it could have given him BY GEORGE VECSEY
New York Times Service
• LAKERS, FROM 8B
recently but — the reality is we have a team that’s pretty experienced and knows how to play in the playoffs, so I doubt if we do a multiple- [player] change,” Jackson said. One thing looks certain: the Lakers have “zero” chance of obtaining Denver Nuggets All-Star Carmelo Anthony, according to a person familiar with the Lakers’ thinking who declined to elaborate. The Lakers and Jackson have always coveted guard Kirk Hinrich, who is averaging 10.9 points and 4.5 assists for theWashington Wizards. Hinrich, 30, makes $9 million this season and $8 million next season. Veteran sharp-shooter Richard Hamilton is barely playing as the Detroit Pistons head toward a youth movement, but he is making a hefty $12.6 million next season. The Lakers have a $4 million trade exception thanks to the Vujacic deal, which saved them about $8 million in salary and luxury taxes,
but they would use the potentially helpful exception only if they found a willing partner in a deal that made sense. Whatever happens, even the Lakers’ legends are worried. Magic Johnson wasn’t sure which NFL team he wanted to come to Los Angeles when he spoke to the Los Angeles Times, but he knew all about the struggles of his former basketball team. He said he didn’t like the Lakers’ 1-4 record against teams with better records. “I think the Lakers are in trouble,” said Johnson, a Lakers’ vice president. “I want to see more from them. I’m excited to see them Thursday.” That would be against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center. Despite saying the Lakers would ﬁeld trade offers, Jackson seemed conﬁdent with the current roster. “I’m still prepared in any series to take this team against anybody,” he said.
for a ﬁrst offense. This was like a ﬁfth-grade teacher giving an F-plus for originality instead of an F-minus after some ingenious slacker came up with a more amusing excuse than “The dog ate my homework.” Style points. Contador’s penalty was not much of a compromise: Mire, look, take a year off and come back strong in 2012. If it sticks, the one-year sentence will bring public and expensive shame. Contador said he planned to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but if he is found guilty at that level he could very well get the maximum two years. If Contador loses his 2010 championship, the title will go to Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, who ﬁnished second. But after the 2006 champion, Floyd Landis, defaulted his title for doping, and Bjarne Riis — now Contador’s coach — admitted he doped during his 1996 Tour championship run, and other mainstays of that sport have confessed, been caught or died young, there is not much conﬁdence left in pro cycling. The U.S. icon Lance Armstrong is being investigated after witnesses swore under oath that while being treated for cancer he talked about having used performanceenhancing drugs.
But it’s not just cycling. Baseball has just gone through a generation of steroids. Instead of a meat defense, baseball had the Miggy’s-needle defense. Rafael Palmeiro claimed his positive test for a steroid substance must have come from the B-12 shot he thought he was receiving from his teammate Miguel Tejada. (Jose Canseco insisted he and Mark McGwire used to shoot up in the loo. What kind of sport is this?) Slugger Barry Bonds is facing perjury charges. A federal judge recently ruled that testimony from other players who patronized the same laboratory Bonds did is admissible evidence. That trial is scheduled for March, and hangs over Major League Baseball, as does the potential perjury trial of Clemens, scheduled for July, for statements he made to Congress under oath. The paltry showing by McGwire and Palmeiro in the recent Baseball Hall of Fame voting suggests that Clemens, Bonds and Sammy Sosa could also be judged harshly in a few years — a generation of stars, discarded like a used syringe. Before consulting the news, fans need to mutter the mantra Innocent Until Proven Otherwise, over and over again. But it’s hard.
Thorpe to return from retirement Bout-fixing scandal SYDNEY, Australia — (AP) — Five-time Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe knows he has plenty to lose by coming out of retirement in a bid to compete at next year’s London Games. “I have had an almost ﬂawless career, and I put that at risk,” Thorpe said Wednesday at a news conference to announce his comeback. “It would have been a lot easier and sit on that and not do a thing. But there are still things in swimming that I haven’t done, that I would like to achieve,” he said. “It’s a balancing act where fear and motivation come in — it’s a great place to be on that edge.” The 28-year-old Thorpe conﬁrmed he has registered for drug testing in order to be eligible for the Australian Olympic selection trials in March 2012. He will spend most of his training in the lead-up to the trials in Abu Dhabi and Europe, concentrating on the 100- and 200-meter freestyle. “It hasn’t been something that I have taken lightly in making a decision in returning to competitive swimming, but I actually made a decision in September,” he said. Thorpe retired in November 2006 after setting 13 world records and winning 11 world championship golds. He won the 200- and 400-meter freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics in
weighs on sumo
• SUMO, FROM 8B
GREG WOOD/AFP-GETTY IMAGES
COMEBACK: Ian Thorpe announces his return to swimming for the 2012 Olympics. his last major international meet. “When I made that decision [to return to swimming] I — was not able to say anything because I was commentating for the BBC, so it was sitting in my gut for a while,” he said. “I was then taken to see the swimming venue for the London Games. It was an extraordinary venue, and I could actually taste it. I haven’t felt like swimming like that for a very long time.” Thorpe has submitted a FINA Return to Competition form to Swimming Australia, which now has been sent to the international govern-
ing body for processing. Once the form is processed by FINA, normally in a few days, he will have to wait nine months before he can compete domestically and internationally at a FINA recognized competition “This is fantastic news for our sport and the Australian swim team, and I’m particularly excited for Ian that he’s decided to return to the pool,” Swimming Australia coach Leigh Nugent said. Thorpe burst onto the international stage as a teenager in 1999 and won three gold medals — all in world record times — and two silvers at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Nicknamed “Thorpedo,” he was the world’s highestproﬁle swimmer until Michael Phelps came onto the scene, and had a list of lucrative endorsement deals. But Thorpe admitted last year that he had ﬁnancial problems after his personal savings were affected by the global economic crisis. He said Wednesday he was not motivated by money in his comeback, only performance. “I didn’t get back in the pool to get ﬁt, I didn’t get back in the pool for any other reason than to be back — at being able to compete at an elite level,” he said.
airs the six annual sumo tournaments live, said the messages hinted at one bout going for as much as 500,000 yen ($5,000). It said the messages referred to wrestlers “owing each other wins,” and appeared to show a repeated pattern of cheating. Top sumo ofﬁcials held an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss the reports. “I deeply apologize to the fans,” said Japan Sumo Association chairman Hanaregoma. “It will take some time to get to the bottom of this and we request that you be patient.” He said any violations would be dealt with sternly. Yoshiaki Takaki, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, said he has instructed the sumo association to investigate. “The sumo association has already had a series of major problems,” he said. “It’s a serious problem if the latest case turns out to be true.” Police had no immediate comment. It was not clear if a formal criminal investigation would be launched or if the matter would be dealt with as an internal issue by the sumo association. Sumo — which has its roots in ancient religious puriﬁcation rituals — has been dogged by scandals over the past few years and has seen its popularity nosedive. Several wrestlers were ar-
Ramirez, Damon officially on board at Tampa • RAYS, FROM 8B
Both players said the chance to play closer to home — Damon lives in nearby Orlando, and Ramirez resides in Pembroke Pines in South Florida — played in the decision to join a team that has not abandoned hope of continuing to compete with bigspending New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for AL East supremacy. Since clinching their second division title in three years last fall, the Rays have traded starting pitcher Matt Garza and shortstop Jason Bartlett and lost Crawford, Pena and relievers Rafael Soriano, Joaquin Benoit, Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler, Randy Choate and Chad Qualls through free agency. The club still has work to do on rebuilding the bullpen. But adding Damon and Ramirez addressed the need for a left ﬁelder and cleanup hitter.
“We wanted this to happen ever since my departure from Boston years ago,” said Damon, who played with the Yankees from 2006-09, helping New York win its most recent world title. “We always felt great about each other, about what kind of teammates we were and we know we can bring a lot of experience — and playoff experience also — to these guys,” he added. “I think that’s why this move is very intriguing. Manny’s ready to go, and so am I.” Ramirez, who likely be used mostly as a designated hitter, said he’s trimmed 12 pounds from last year’s playing weight of 237 and is eager to prove he can still be a productive player. The 12-time All-Star’s career took a downward turn in May 2009 when he was suspended 50 games for using a banned female fertility drug. Injuries slowed him last season, when he hit a combined
.298 with nine homers and 42 RBIs in the ﬁnal season of a $45 million, two-year contract he signed with the Dodgers. “Thank God, I already made my money,” Ramirez said shrugging off a question about how motivated he will be while earning just $2 million in 2011. “I’m here, like I said, because I love the game, I love to compete. It doesn’t matter how much money you make,” the .313 career hitter said. “If you love the game, it doesn’t matter. What you want is a chance to prove to people that you still can do it. So for me, it was not about the money, I could have gone some place else.” Maddon and Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman believe Damon and Ramirez will be strong additions to the clubhouse, as well as on the ﬁeld. Both have been contribu-
tors on two teams that won World Series titles and embrace an anticipated role in Tampa Bay as mentors to young players. “Their contributions extend beyond just the ﬁeld. It’s not necessarily them being rah-rah guys or giving impassioned speeches. It’s about how dedicated they are to their craft,” Friedman said. “In all the homework and conversations we’ve had with people, both these guys are extremely well regarded as teammates and the way they prepare.” Losing players like Crawford, who signed a $142 million, seven-year deal with Boston, and Pena, who got a $10 million, one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs, Maddon felt it was imperative that the Rays needed to ﬁnd some experienced help to help stabilize a mostly young clubhouse. “For me, that was the one component coming into
this season that I thought we were going to be lacking had we not addressed it,” the manager said. “I don’t want them to come in here and think they have to do anything other than what they’ve done throughout their careers. I want them to come be themselves on a daily basis. — Leadership often times to me, that word is really thrown out there way too loosely. I think guys really lead by example more than anything within a major league clubhouse. Both of these guys have exemplary work habits. The success over the course of their careers also lends to credibility.” Damon is a .287 career hitter who played is one of just ﬁve players in major league history who’ve appeared in 140 or more games for 15 consecutive seasons. The others are Hank Aaron, Brooks Robinson, Pete rose and Willie Mays.
rested last year for betting illegally on baseball games, allegedly with gangsters as go-betweens. That scandal followed allegations in 2009 of widespread marijuana use among the ranks that led to the expulsion of three Russian ﬁghters. Hanaregoma said the text messages this time were found on phones conﬁscated when police were investigating the baseball gambling ring. Media reports said four wrestlers in the sport’s elite top division — including two Mongolians — were implicated. Last week, reports surfaced that three sumo wrestlers were involved in drunken incidents, including a late-night brawl. Scandals are particularly sensitive in sumo because in Japan it is seen as not only a sport but a bastion of tradition and culture. Wrestlers are expected to observe a high standard of public behavior.
NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE Atlantic Boston New York Philadelphia New Jersey Toronto
W 37 25 21 15 13
L 11 22 26 34 36
Pct .771 .532 .447 .306 .265
GB — 111/2 151/2 221/2 241/2
Southeast Miami Orlando Atlanta Charlotte Washington
W 34 31 30 20 13
L 14 18 18 27 35
Pct GB .708 — .633 31/2 .625 4 .426 131/2 .271 21
Central Chicago Milwaukee Indiana Detroit Cleveland
W 33 19 18 17 8
L 14 27 27 31 40
Pct .702 .413 .400 .354 .167
GB — 131/2 14 161/2 251/2
WESTERN CONFERENCE Southwest San Antonio Dallas New Orleans Memphis Houston
W 40 32 32 25 22
L 8 15 18 24 28
Pct GB .833 — .681 71/2 .640 9 .510 151/2 .440 19
Northwest Oklahoma City Utah Denver Portland Minnesota
W 30 29 28 26 11
L 17 20 20 22 36
Pct GB .638 — .592 2 .583 21/2 .542 41/2 .234 19
Pacific L.A. Lakers Phoenix Golden State L.A. Clippers Sacramento
W 34 22 20 19 12
L 15 24 27 28 34
Pct GB .694 — .478 101/2 .426 13 .404 14 .261 201/2
TUESDAY’S GAMES New Orleans 97, Washington 89 Portland 99, San Antonio 86 Boston 95, Sacramento 90 L.A. Lakers 114, Houston 106, OT
2/3/2011 2:27:22 AM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011
THE MIAMI HERALD
FOR LATE GAME SCORES, GO TO MIAMIHERALD.COM/SPORTS
Packers, Steelers share coaching ground BY LES BOWEN
‘We’re both small-town Ohio guys. I have a great amount of admiration for Dick [LeBeau].’
Philadelphia Daily News
DALLAS — The ties between the Steelers and the Packers go way beyond Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy’s Pittsburgh youth. Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers got a huge career boost from his three years as the Steelers’ defensive coordinator, 1992-94, which led directly to Capers getting his ﬁrst head coaching opportunity, with expansion Carolina in 1995. Current Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau ﬁrst got his current job when Capers left it — LeBeau had been Capers’ secondary coach. “Dick and I are very good friends. When we ﬁrst went to Pittsburgh, we roomed together, initially,” Capers said Tuesday. “We’re both small-town Ohio guys. I have a great amount of admiration for Dick. You think about what he’s done, I don’t know if anybody else has ever done it, in terms of as a player who was just inducted into the Hall of Fame, and as a coach — this guy’s done it for over 50 years, and he’s done it at a high level.” Two of the Steelers’ defensive leaders when Capers coached there were Kevin Greene and Darren Perry. Now they are Packers coaches, Greene with the outside
— DOM CAPERS, Defensive coordinator, Green Bay Packers
linebackers and Perry with the safeties. “Those guys, you get to know their work ethic, the way they prepare,” Capers said. “They’re the same now as coaches they were as players.” Greene and Perry spent a lot of LEBEAU time at media day answering questions about how it felt to be so closely associated with the Steelers, but trying to beat them on the game’s biggest stage. Perry, a Steeler for seven years
and then a Pittsburgh coach from 2003-06, said it doesn’t seem strange to him. “I’m proud of what I am,” he said. “It’s going to be strange looking across the sideline and seeing those guys — I have a special relationship with numerous people over there. Troy [Polamalu], Dick [LeBeau], Dick’s like a father to me. I love him and I always will. Being able to compete against him is kind of like the apprentice going against the master, in a sense, though I’m not the coordinator, that’s kind of how we look at it.” Greene was an All-Pro rushing linebacker for the Steelers’ Super Bowl XXX team, really the face of
that group, which included Perry. Then he was a coaching intern with the 2008 Steelers, who won Super Bowl XLIII, working with some of the current Pittsburgh stars, including James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. “Me and Kevin talked about this — we don’t want to be the only Steeler team to lose a Super Bowl,” Perry joked. He called his playing days in Pittsburgh “some of the best years of my life.” Greene was less effusive, especially when a reporter brought up his memory of Greene lying facedown in the locker room after that Super Bowl XXX loss to Dallas. “I’m sure I was pretty distraught at the time. But that was many moons ago, and here I am on the cusp of hopefully a Super Bowl win. “I guess I’m kinda indifferent about the fact that they’re the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s another team — We’ve got to win this game,” Greene said. “I am a Green Bay Packer coach. And my No. 1 job and focus, and where all my energy lies is being the best outside linebacker coach I can be for my kids. I want to have my kids the best prepared for this game — I had great times with Pittsburgh, don’t get me wrong. A lot of great memories. But understand where I am.”
Evidence of Sumo bout-fixing surfaces BY ERIC TALMADGE Associated Press
TOKYO — Fresh off a gambling scandal that deeply sullied its image, Japan’s national sport of sumo wrestling is now grappling with allegations that senior wrestlers and coaches used cellphones to plan how to ﬁx bouts. Police have found text messages on conﬁscated cellphones that implicate as many as 13 wrestlers in schemes to ﬁx matches, the Japan Sumo Association and Japanese media said Wednesday. One reportedly went into detail about how he would attack and how he wanted his opponent to fall. The text messages, found on the phones of a wrestler and a coach, indicate that the wrestlers routinely ﬁxed bouts and charged hundreds of thousands of yen per match to do so, according to Japan’s Kyodo news service. Public broadcaster NHK, which • TURN TO SUMO, 7B
ON BOARD: Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez posing with executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, left, and manager Joe Maddon.
Ramirez, Damon officially join Rays BY FRED GOODALL Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays are counting on Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon to help them remain competitive in baseball’s toughest division. The free-agent outﬁelders are ofﬁcially the newest additions to the defending AL East champions, signing one-year contracts to ﬁll a couple of holes on a ros-
ter depleted by the departure of several key players, including All-Star Carl Crawford and slugger Carlos Pena. “We’re not going out there right now to just ﬁll out a 162-game schedule,” manager Joe Maddon said during a news conference reuniting Ramirez and Damon, who were teammates in Boston from 2002-05, helping the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series.
“Our goal is to repeat as division winners this year, and then moving on from there,” Maddon added. “These two guys deﬁnitely make us more solvent. There’s no question.” Damon agreed to a $5.25 million deal that includes a chance to earn $750,000 in bonuses based on attendance. Ramirez gets $2 million from the cost-conscious Rays — well
below the $20 million he made last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. While Damon is 37 and Ramirez turns 39 in May, both feel they have plenty to contribute on a team that thrived on good young pitching and strong defense last season. “Absolutely this team can win the American League East,” said Damon, who earned $8 million
last season while hitting .271 with eight homers and 51 RBIs with the Detroit Tigers. “What I really like about this team is you have two guys that you’d really like to build any franchise around,” Damon said, referring to All-Stars David Price and Evan Longoria. “This team is bred to win right now.” • TURN TO RAYS, 7B
Lakers have few trade options this season BY MIKE BRESNAHAN
Los Angeles Times Service
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers want to make trades but are a little short on available, desirable players. They have an aging roster tied down by cumbersome salaries and have already traded their only expiring contract of value — Sasha Vujacic’s $5.5 million — in a December salary dump that cost them this year’s ﬁrst-round draft pick. They’re fading quickly in the race for the best record in the Western Conference, and there’s increased concern in the upper reaches of the organization that they might not get back to the NBA Finals, but there isn’t much room to maneuver because 10 of their 14 players are 30 or older and the franchise is already burdened by the league’s highest payroll ($90 million).
The Lakers held off the Houston Rockets, 114-106, in overtime on Tuesday night, getting 32 points, 11 assists and six rebounds from Kobe Bryant. Lakers coach Phil Jackson said that the “door’s open for business” before the Feb. 24 trade deadline, a follow-up to similar comments from general manager Mitch Kupchak. Jackson added that “it was a good calling card that Mitch threw out there,” but who could the Lakers realistically trade? Ron Artest is struggling and his trade value is low, considering he is 31 years old and has three more years after this for a total of $21.8 million. Luke Walton, who turns 31 next month, has two more years and $11.5 million. Oft-injured center Andrew Bynum has two more years and $31 million, though the
second year is a team option for $16.1 million. Lamar Odom, 31, has two more years and $17.1 million left on his contract. He has been the team’s most consistent player this season. Bryant, 32, has three more years and $83.5 million but isn’t going anywhere. Pau Gasol, 30, has three more years and $57 million but is unlikely to be dealt. Derek Fisher, 36, has two more years at a total of $6.8 million. Matt Barnes and Shannon Brown each make about $2 million, well below the NBA average of $5.8 million. Jackson didn’t necessarily envision making a trade, and certainly not a roster purge akin to Orlando’s two months ago. “We’re obviously not happy with the way we’ve played • TURN TO LAKERS, 7B
WISH LIST: The Lakers have ‘zero’ chance of obtaining Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony, center, and they would love to have Wizards guard Kirk Hinrich, at left.
2/3/2011 5:21:22 AM
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