The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, January 27, 1986, Image 9

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    Monday, January 27, 1986/The Battalion/Page 9
World and Nation
Space still available
Mud Lot Manor
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Permit Parking $50 per semester
Daily Parking $1.00 In and out all day with attendant approval
AP survey: Battle for aid
to Contras is winnable
Associated Press
heater fire
kills nine
Associated Press
ter heater apparently burst into
flames in a row house basement
apartment frequented by tran
sients early Sunday, killing nine
people and leaving four hospital
All of the victims were in the
basement apartment, which
neighbors described as a popular
gathering place for many poor
Hispanics who went there almost
nigntly after nearby saloons
“It was like a neighborhood baf
down there,” said Daniel del
Valle, who lived upstairs and es
caped by climbing out a second-
story window.
Fire department spokesman
Rayfield Alfred said as many as
20 people may have been in the
building at the time of the fire,
which broke out before 3 a.m.
Three people were dead on the
scene while six others died at area
hospitals. Four were admitted for
treatment, including a 5-year-old
boy and 2'/2-month-old boy who
were in good condition.
Two men were in serious con
Susan Rasky, who lives next
door to the burned building, said
many of the homeless people in
the area are from El Salvador.
“This block is a chronic prob
lem,” she said.”
Fire officials said 90 firefight
ers took about 15 minutes to put
out the fire, which was confined
to the basement and caused about
$75,000 damage.
Del Valle, who had lived in the
house about two years, said he
and the Rosses had been trying to
stop the nightly parties in the
Fire Chief Theodore R. Cole
man said the fire was the worst
since 1979 when 10 people died
in a row house fire about three
blocks away from the Sunday
WASHINGTON — President
Reagan faces a tough but potentially
winnable battle to resume military
aid to rebels fighting to overthrow
Nicaragua’s leftist government,
according to an Associated Press sur
vey of key swing votes.
In the Democratic-controlled
House, where the main legislative
battle will be fought, only a few
swing congressmen said they were
leaning toward voting with Reagan
on lethal military aid, but that could
be enough for the president consid
ering the 64-vote majority he gained
for non-lethal aid last year.
Democrats, however, note that
Reagan’s expected proposal for
$100 million in military and logisti
cal aid will go to a Congress doubtful
about his Nicaraguan policy and
grappling with painful spending
cuts mandated by the Gramm-Rud-
man deficit reduction act.
WASHINGTON — Congress re
turns Monday for an election-year
battle with President Reagan over
budget cuts, taxes and spending
priorities that promises to turn into a
political bloodletting.
Even before the president delivers
his State of the Union address Tues
day night, congressional Democrats
were maneuvering to focus attention
on big, politically unpopular do
mestic spending cuts in the fiscal
1987 budget Reagan will propose on
Feb. 4.
Some legislators say it may take
$80 billion in total cuts to reduce the
federal budget deficit to $144 billion
next year, the target set by the new
Gramm-Rudman budget-balancing
Reagan’s refusal to accept any rev
enue-raising tax increases or any
slowdown in his military buildup al
most certainly will result in a bitter
and prolonged deadlock with Con
gress unless the president is willing
to compromise, legislators said.
Senate Finance Committee Chair
man Robert Packwood, R-Ore., said
An AP survey of 33 swing votes
from last year’s congressional battles
over aid to the Contra rebels found
13 “against or leaning against” Rea
gan’s lethal aid plan, 17 undecided
or not available and three “leaning
But since Reagan had a 64-vote
victory margin on the non-lethal aid
vote last June, the Democrats must
win back nearly all the swing votes or
persuade other House members
who normally back the president to
Many of those swing votes, who
supported Reagan’s request for $27
million in non-lethal “humanitarian”
aid to the rebels, say the president
cannot count on their support for
open military aid.
Some congressmen expressed
concern over the size of Reagan’s ex
pected request at a time when the
Gramm-Rudman act is forcing deep
cuts in domestic and military spend
on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Con
gress would produce a tax revision
bill by August at the latest.
Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, D-S.C.,
said on the same program, however,
that he believes “a tax increase will
be necessary if we are to comply with
“If there is a tax increase
that comes forward, albeit
with a few deficit cuts, I
think that he will look at it,
hut I don’t think that he
will buy it.”
— Donald Regan, chief of
White House Chief of Staff Don
ald Regan said on ABC’s “This Week
With David Brinkley” that the presi
dent wants to fight the deficit and to
stress “privatization” of government
“If there is a tax increase that
Reagan partisans say that if the
president can present the military
aid request as part of a strategy for
forcing the Nicaraguan government
to negotiate seriously with the oppo
sition, Congress might well support
They cite also the strong congres
sional distaste for Nicaragua’s close
military ties to the Soviet Union and
Cuba and the Sandinistas’ crack
down on internal dissent.
Although the CIA provided the
rebels with an estimated $80 million
in covert military aid from 1981-84,
the new aid request would be the
first open military assistance that the
United States has provided the in
The vote, likely in February, will
be the first major test of the so-called
Reagan Doctrine — strong U.S.
backing of anti-communist guerrilla
forces fighting leftist or pro-Soviet
comes forward, albeit with a few def
icit cuts, I think that he will look at it,
but I don’t think that he will buy it,”
Regan said. He expressed doubt that
“the trigger’s going to be pulled” to
set in motion tne automatic Gramm-
Rudman cuts.
House Majority Leader Jim
Wright, D-Texas, predicted that the
deep cuts required by the measure
would force Reagan to strike a deal
with Congress. He said that if the tax
revision bill became the focus of
such a bargain “it would not only be
all right, it would be highly desira
House Speaker Tip O’Neill Jr.
said lawmakers also are less than en
thusiastic about Reagan’s “privatiza
tion” plans to sell some government
assets, such as the Tennessee Valley
Authority, to private interests.
White House officials say Reagan
plans to make a comparatively brief,
nationally broadcast address before
a joint session of the House and Sen
ate Tuesday. The president will out
line his specific legislative proposals
in a special, written message to Con
gress .
Congress readying for battle with Reagan
Associated Press
Medicare reforms labeled deficient
Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The first hard look at
quality control under recent Medicare reforms
has found “serious deficiencies” in procedures
that are supposed to protect America’s elderly
from incompetent, indifferent or greedy doc
tors and hospitals, a senior government investi
gator says.
The review of more than 4,700 cases that
were flagged by watchdog Peer Review Organi
zations as suspicious uncovered a few striking
examples of physician ineptitude or hospital in
difference to patient health — and a general in
difference by the PROs to policing those abuses.
The results promptea an unusual “early
alert” by Inspector General Richard Kusserow
to the Health and Human Services Department,
privately warning that the review was uncov
ering serious problems in the Reagan adminis
tration’s heralded reform program.
“We are deeply troubled by the ineffective
ness of the existing procedures used by PROs to
review cases of substandard care,” he said. “We
believe that it is imperative that HCFA take
strong action to place more emphasis on PRO
Haddow, in his response, told Kusserow he
was surprised by the inspector general’s conclu
sions and disagreed with the assessment of their
Kusserow, in an interview with The Asso
ciated Press, said he stood by the assessment in
the “early alert,” a copy of which was obtained
by the AP.
The cases reviewed covered a period from
October 1983 through last May, a period during
which the reforms were new and review organi
zations still were feeling their way, Kusserow
Kusserow’s inspection involves the potent po
litical question of whether quality health care for
the elderly is being sacrified in the drive to re
duce the federal spending; as many critics
Faced with soaring Medicare costs, the Rea
gan administration in 1983 launched a “pro
spective payment” system for Medicare that dic
tates in advance how much the government will
pay for a specific ailment.
The system controls medical costs by putting
hospitals on a budget. Quick, efficient care
means profit; dawdling means losses. But critics
charge the system sabotages quality, pressuring
hospitals and doctors to discharge patients be
fore they are ready.
The adminstration has denied any quality
problem, pointing to its network of 54 PROs,
which monitor Medicare cases for quality assur
But it is there where Kusserow found the
The inspector general said he started with
4,724 cases flagged by PROs as suspicious dis
Files could not be found for about 1,000 of
the cases, despite the review organizations’
stated suspicion, Kusserow said.
Of the 2,900, Kusserow said, 74 were so out
rageous that they would justify disciplinary ac
tion by HHS, such as exclusion from the Medi
care program through Kusserow’s office.
But none of the 74 were referred to him for
action, Kusserow said, and the watchdog agen
cies generally did not aggressively pursue the
2,900 cases of suspicious discharges.
In one case, a woman was admitted to a hospi
tal for surgery but found to be so unstable from
gangrene that she could not undergo the opera
tion. For five days, doctors worked to stabilize
her condition. Then, as they wheeled her to an
operating room, they noticed on her file that her
Medicare benefits for the procedure had just
run out.
The operation was cancelled and the woman
discharged, Kusserow said. The case is partic
ularly appalling, he added, because the woman’s
physician simply listed the lack of further Medi
care money as the reason for her discharge.
Pope to stop in Indio
for first official tour
Associated Press
NEW DELHI — Pope John
Paul II, making the first official
papal trip next weekend to the
Hindu homeland of Mahatma
Gandhi, visits a nation divided by
piety, poverty and bitter sectarian
Invited by the Indian govern
ment to tour this nation of 750
million people, which approxi
mates the size of the world’s Cath
olic community, the pope said
Sunday from the Vatican that he
will visit as a “pilgrim of peace . . .
a pastor sent to confirm among
brothers of the faith an ecclesias
tical unity.”
Christianity, however, is re
garded with suspicion in India as
a colonialist ideology. Sometimes
the Virgin Mary is depicted in a
sari as Indian churches have at
tempted to shed the image of a
foreign church and adopt Indian
Christian missionaries are crit
icized for converting untouchable
Hindus and impoverished pagan
tribals, for stirring the lower
classes to demand their legal
rights. The Vatican to many Hin
dus represents a foreign Catholic
minority that makes up less than
2 percent of the population.
Hindu zealots have declared
the pope unwelcome and de
manded he cease conversions.
They have planned anti-Catholic
demonstrations in New Delhi and
Bombay, and two death threats
against him have been reported.
Militant slogans, spray-painted
in Madras, say: “There’s no hope,
pope, go home” and “The pope is
a CIA agent.”
In the Indian Catholic commu
nity, there is dispute over “liber
ation theology” in a nation of
overwhelming poverty, sickness,
illiteracy, inequality and discrimi
nation. “Untouchable” Chris
tians, like Hindu outcasts, have
been protesting discrimination
against them in Madras.
Activist priests and nuns have
been criticized and transferred by
the church for demonstrating on
behalf of poor fishermen in Ke
rala state and for supporting
landless untouchables oppressed
by Hindu landlords and money
lenders in Bihar state.
As the church tries to make it
self more acceptable, some artists
show the Virgin Mary with hands
folded under her chin in the tra
ditional Indian gesture of greet
ing. Some priests read prayers
while squatting on the floor
Hindu style.
Yemen insurgents
pursue legitimacy
with Soviet support
Associated Press
MANAMA, Bahrain — South Ye
meni rebels Sunday sought legiti
macy amid official backing from the
Soviets by convening a Cabinet
meeting in the capital under “in
terim President” Heider al-Attas.
Aden-based rebel radio, mon
itored in Bahrain, did not identify
the ministers who attended the ses
sion. The 26-member Cabinet was
reported to have disbanded shortly
after radical Marxist rebels and
forces loyal to President Ali Nasser
Mohammed began fighting on Jan.
Two ministers were reported
killed in street battles in Aden, the
capital. Three others sided with Mo
hammed. The rest of the ministers
have not been heard from since
fighting began in the Marxist Arab
nation, strategically located on the
heel of the Arabian Peninsula.
Aden, a port city of 280,000 peo
ple, sustained enormous damage in
nearly 12 days of tank and artillery
battles, the bloodiest since the coun
try gained independence from Brit
ain in 1967.
Arab and Western diplomatic
sources in San‘a, capital of North Ye
men, said about 12,000 persons were
killed and nearly twice as many in
jured in the fighting.
Meanwhile, the triumphant rebels
claimed the situation in Aden Sun
day was “absolutely tranquil.”
Persian Gulf-based Arab diplo
matic sources, however, insist the
conflict between al-Attas, formerly
the prime minister, and Mohammed
remained undecided.
“South Yemen is virtually divided
into a rebel-controlled capital on one
side and tribal eastern and northern
regions on another,” said one diplo
mat, reached by telephone in San’a,
North Yemen.
Soviet television quoted al-Attas as
saying on his return that relations
with the Kremlin would strengthen
on the basis of a friendship and co
operation treaty signed by the two
countries in 1979.
Mohammed, a Marxist supported
in the past by Moscow, was criticized
by South Yemeni hard-liners for tilt
ing recently toward his pro-Western
neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Oman.
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