- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 12, 2002

Notorious Mafia leader dies in bed at 97
TUCSON, Ariz. Joseph Bonanno, the notorious gangster known as "Joe Bananas" who ran one of the most powerful Mafia groups in the 1950s and '60s, died yesterday. He was 97.
Mr. Bonanno, who retired to Arizona in 1968 and had suffered from several health problems in recent years, died of heart failure, said his attorney, Alfred "Skip" Donau.
At the height of his power, Mr. Bonanno directed one of the five original crime families in New York City. The public knew him as "Joe Bananas" a nickname he detested.
By his own admission, he was a member of "the Commission," which acted as an organized crime board of directors in New York and other major U.S. cities. He denied engaging in such "unmanly" activities as narcotics trafficking or prostitution, though authorities said otherwise.
Mr. Bonanno fell from grace during the 1960s, reputedly for trying to become the boss of bosses in what came to be known as "the Banana War." The battle among the crime families resulted in his eventual exile to Tucson.

Bush urges welfare leeway
President Bush urged Congress yesterday to give states the freedom to bypass federal regulations as they shape welfare programs and spend federal money to lift the poor from poverty.
With the House beginning debate this week on a version of Mr. Bush's plan, the president used his weekly radio address to lay out his ideas for what he called "compassionate welfare reform."
At issue are proposed changes to the 1996 law that overhauled the welfare system by emphasizing steps to move aid recipients from welfare to work.
Mr. Bush urged passage of the House bill, saying it will "provide hope and promise, dignity and opportunity to millions of Americans." He noted that since the 1996 law was signed, 5.4 million fewer people 2.8 million of them children live in poverty.
Senate proposals so far do not include the president's request that states have greater flexibility in spending welfare money.

Democrats hit GOP on drug prices
Senate Democrats say the Republican plan for helping seniors afford prescription drugs would still leave many having to choose between paying bills and buying medicine.
In the Democratic radio address aired yesterday, Sens. Jean Carnahan and Debbie Stabenow argued that Republicans are too interested in protecting big business to back a substantial overhaul of the system.
"The Republican plan simply isn't good enough," said Mrs. Carnahan, Missouri Democrat. "Under the plan, a senior who pays $5,000 a year for prescription drugs would have to foot 86 percent of the bill. That's hardly better than no plan at all."

Pataki seeks re-election
NEW YORK New York Gov. George E. Pataki, whose popularity soared in the wake of the September 11 attacks, said yesterday he would seek re-election for a third term.
Mr. Pataki, a Republican, returned to his home town of Peekskill, about 50 miles north of New York City, to make the official announcement, which had been widely expected. Mr. Pataki was mayor of Peekskill for three years before leaving for the state legislature in 1985

McCain: War is just, terrorists will surrender
CHARLESTON, S.C. America's war on terrorism not only is just, but also will end with terrorists surrendering, Sen. John S. McCain III told graduates of The Citadel yesterday, as college students around the nation were given their traditional send-off.
Twenty women were among the 298 graduating cadets, including seven black women, the first to graduate since the school opened its gates to women six years ago.


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