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GATOR ATTACK

San Jac sweeps LCC SPORTS | 1B

`Aviator' Hughes flick gets 5 Oscars; soars Freeman, Blanchett awarded

PAGE 9A

Laredo thriving

Conference foresees good times

LMT BUSINESS JOURNAL

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2005

A HEARST NEWSPAPER

Laredo Morning Times

ON THE WEB: LMTONLINE.COM

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MIDDLE EAST | WAR ON TERROR

TRAFFIC | DEATHS

Syria hands Saddam's half brother to Iraq

By SALAH NASRAWI

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CAIRO, Egypt -- Iraqi officials said Sunday that Syrian authorities had captured Saddam Hussein's half brother and 29 other officials of the deposed dictator's Baath Party in Syria and handed them over to Iraq in an apparent goodwill gesture. Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, a former Saddam adviser suspected of financing insurgents after U.S. troops

ousted Saddam, was captured in Hasakah in northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border, two senior Iraqi officials told The Associated Press by telephone on condition of anonymity. Hasakah is about 30 miles from the Iraqi border. They added that al-Hassan was captured and handed over to Iraqi authorities along with 29 other members of Saddam's collapsed Baath Party, whose Syrian branch has been in power in Damascus since 1963.

Officials in interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's office, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed al-Hassan's capture but gave no further details. In Baghdad, U.S. military officials had no immediate comment. The Iraqi officials did not specify when al-Hassan was captured, only saying he was detained following the Feb. 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a blast in Beirut, Lebanon,

that killed 16 others. Syria has come under intense scrutiny following Hariri's death, with many in Lebanon blaming Damascus and Beirut's pro-Syrian government for the killing. The United States and France also have called on Damascus to withdraw 15,000 Syrian troops from Lebanon. Washington has long accused Syria of harboring and aiding former

See SADDAM | PAGE 10A

7 die in U.S.83 accident

By JULIE DAFFERN

LAREDO MORNING TIMES

CELEBRATING 25 YEARS

Seven people died in a head-on collision on U.S. 83 South in Zapata County, at 1:30 Sunday morning. Officials reported two other passengers in poor condition. A 1994 Mercury Grand Marquis driving southbound on U.S. 83 veered to the left lane in an attempt to pass another vehicle when it collided with a 1998 Ford Windstar minivan, traveling north, according to officials. All passengers in the Grand Marquis were from Laredo and pronounced dead at the scene. They were Jose Villarreal III, 20; Aaron Sanchez Martinez, 34; Maria De la Paz Rojas, 42; Emmanuel Carrizales, 8; and Clemente Carrizales, Jr., 10. Passengers of the Windstar were from Nuevo Laredo. Alicia Luna Arellano, 55, was pronounced dead at the scene. Maria Elena Arellano, 70, died in the ambulance on the way to Laredo Medical Center. Cardel Arellano, 33, and Rosa Maria Angiano, 57, were also in the Windstar, and officials said both passengers were in poor condition with incapacitating injuries. Arellano suffered a fractured neck and Angiano had multiple fractures. They were taken to the Laredo Medical Center. Both Webb and Zapata county EMS, fire and sheriff's departments, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, reported to the scene. (Julie Daffern can be reached at 728-2538 or [email protected])

Photo by Ricardo Santos | Laredo Morning Times

Bill prompts concerns of COUNTY | LAW ENFORCEMENT Webb eyes $800,000 transfer to Sheriff's Dept. national ID

By SUZANNE GAMBOA By JULIE DAFFERN

LAREDO MORNING TIMES

Soloist Linda Poetschke is accompanied by the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra in `Laschia ch'lo Planga'by Rinaldo during a concert at the Martinez Fine Arts Center on the Laredo Community College campus Sunday afternoon. The orchestra featured music found in popular Hollywood movie soundtracks in a concert entitled `From Stage & Silver Screen.' The LPO is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

TERRORISM | LEGISLATION

The Webb County Commissioners Court may move almost $800,000 to the Sheriff's Department from other budgets, and according to County Judge Louis Bruni, there's more on the way. The money will go toward capital improvements, including buying cell phones, computers, patrol cars and fully automated assault rifles, Bruni said.

"This is to modernize the office because we are faced with a lot of growing concerns, internationally and in Laredo," Bruni said. "I want to ensure that not only are our deputies equipped with the right kind of weaponry and vehicles, but they are fully integrated and functional." Flores recently informed the court an inventory of the department after he took office revealed many needs and submitted what Bruni referred to as a $1.35 million "wish list." With some of his troops missing

such essentials as bulletproof vests, the money is long overdue, Flores said. "We're going to go ahead and get our troops back up to par, where they should be," he said. "If they have the right tools of the trade, they are that much more efficient." The money would come from three funds, if the Commissioners Court approves. Almost $542,000 would come from the rain enhancement fund, more than $146,000 from the Casa Blanca Dredging fund, and

$95,000 from park development allocated to Precinct 3. The money from the dredging project was meant for a study on how much it would cost to deepen the lake. Commissioner Judith Gutierrez said she plans to ask the court for the funds to be replaced with bond money they expect to receive this summer. "For the past 50 years we have not done anything to try to protect the lake," Gutierrez said. "The lake is con-

ASSOCIATED PRESS

See SHERIFF'S DEPT | PAGE 9A

ENTERTAINMENT | POETRY

Espuma's corners poets on open mike night

By TRICIA CORTEZ

LAREDO MORNING TIMES

Photo by Ricardo Segovia | Laredo Morning Times

Fernando `H-Poet' Juarez runs the open mike night for poets on Tuesdays and for musicians (and a few poets) on Wednesdays at Espumas' Pub and Café.

"There's a poet on the floor. Can we have some quiet, please." Gloria Lugo, owner of Espuma's Pub and Café, had just hushed the audience to focus on Fernando Juarez, also known as H-Poet. There's something to learn at the Poet's Corner, where the public can listen to rhymes or deliver some of their own every Tuesday night. Last September, Espuma's added the open mike poetry

night to its evening schedule in an effort to showcase some of Laredo's finest lyrical talents. "People say Laredo's not ready for this, but yes, we're ready for all kinds of things, not just partying and bar drinking," Lugo said. "Open mike gives people a chance to express themselves, and hopefully more poets will come out to recite and develop their writing and delivery style. If they can better themselves, maybe we'll here about them in the future." Heading up the new poetic movement is H-Poet, an ambi-

tious writer who is determined to put himself and his hometown on the contemporary poetry map. Juarez will launch his first book of poems, "Straight from the Barrio," March 29 at Espuma's. His goal is to make a good living off his newfound passion. He serves as master of ceremonies of the Tuesday Poet's Corner and the Wednesday open mike night, which is more geared for musicians, even though poetry readings

WASHINGTON -- A proposal to stop potential terrorists from getting a U.S. driver's license may turn the licenses into a national ID card or help the government track gun purchases, opponents fear. Conservatives, civil libertarians, gun owners and others share such concerns about a House-passed bill that broadly rewrites the rules for licenses and is portrayed as an antiterrorism tool. They fear that licenses, like Social Security numbers, could be used for purposes well beyond their original intent. These opponents say the measure, passed by a 261-161 vote last month and supported by the White House, even could make it possible for the government to monitor people's movements in the country through a chip in a license. "Supporters of this don't seem to have the ability to look beyond how this system they are putting in place can change. They can't see how it can metamorphose into a national ID card," said Steve Lilienthal, director of the Free Congress Foundation Center for Privacy & Technology. The House passed the legislation Feb. 10. Supporters promote the bill, which the Senate has yet to consider, as another way to fight terrorism. Under the measure, states must verify they are giving licenses to U.S. citizens and legal residents. If they fail to do so, federal officers cannot accept licenses from residents of those states as proof of identity to get on an airplane or into a federal building, for example. Lilienthal, whose think tank says it is politically and culturally conservative, asked what

See POETRY | PAGE 9A

See ID | PAGE 10A

INSIDE

OPINION | PAGE 4A

THEATERS | PAGE 7A

OBITUARIES | PAGE 9A

SPORTS | SECTION B

CLASSIFIED | PAGE 4-5B

WEATHER | PAGE 8B

LMT BUSINESS JOURNAL

123rd Year, No. 260, 38 pages

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