Barry gets 6 months:Marion Barry, mayor of the District of...

Newswatch ... on last week in review

October 29, 1990

Barry gets 6 months:

Marion Barry, mayor of the District of Columbia, was sentenced Friday to six months in prison, fined $5,000 and given one year of probation for his conviction on a misdemeanor cocaine-possession charge.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson disregarded Barry's plea for community service, saying that Barry had abused his office and the collective trust of the community. Barry admitted for the first time that he was a drug addict, in court papers filed Thursday.

Barry's lawyer said the conviction and the sentence would be appealed. A small group of Baltimore residents protested outside a Walbrook grocery store Friday after a 57-year-old man died after he had a heart attack in the store and was taken outside and left on the sidewalk.

The protesters urged potential customers and passers-by to boycott the store, whose owners Thursday evicted James Drumwright of Druid Park Drive, apparently believing he was drunk.

Angry residents said Drumwright's death was due a lack of sensitivity on the part of the the owners of the B&M Market in the 3100 block of W. North Ave.

An MNC sell-off:

In a dramatic effort to shore up its faltering finances, MNC Financial said Thursday that it will put its profitable $1 billion credit card operation, called MBNA America and based in Newark, Del., on the block.

The announcement came as MNC, the parent company of Maryland National Bank, reported a third-quarter loss of $173 million, or $2.05 a share, as the result of the bank holding company's putting $350 million into its reserves for possible credit losses. The company and its banking subsidiaries also have entered into written agreements with the Federal Reserve Board and the office of the comptroller of the currency, giving the regulators broad powers in the running of the company.

MNC said it has engaged its investment bankers to solicit bids for the sale of MBNA America.

State deficit estimate worsens:

William S. Ratchford 2nd, the General Assembly's budget adviser, has estimated the state's projected budget deficit at $322 million, an increase of $72 million above his projection earlier this month.

Although Gov. William Donald Schaefer's budget experts have called his earlier estimates too pessimistic, Ratchford, director of the Department of Fiscal Services, said Tuesday that the numbers may not have been gloomy enough.

Charles L. Benton, Schaefer's chief budget adviser, said he would not argue with Ratchford's estimates, although he said he believes his department's $180 million shortfall estimate is more accurate.

Billboards lose:

A city Circuit Court judge gave the Schmoke administration an initial victory Wednesday in its efforts to rid Baltimore of illegal advertising billboards.

Judge Joseph H.H. Kaplan ordered Boisclair Advertising Inc. to remove more than 1,300 billboards that the city contended violated zoning laws. The judge said this must be done within 60 days and at Boisclair's expense. Boisclair said it would appeal.

Override effort loses:

The Senate failed by one vote Wednesday to override President Bush's veto of a job discrimination measure.

Bush, in vetoing the bill last Monday, said that he wanted to sign a civil rights bill but that the legislation would result in quotas. Sponsors denied that.

More troops:

Defense Secretary Richard Cheney said Thursday that the United States will continue its military buildup in the Persian Gulf, perhaps by sending more heavy armor to Saudi Arabia while bringing lighter units home. Pentagon sources said Wednesday that the deployment would reach the planned level of 240,000 in three weeks. But Cheney said the administration "never put an upper ceiling on the deployment."

* Five American men freed by Iraq for medical reasons were back in the United States Wednesday, and nine other Americans arrived home Thursday.

* A jetliner landed outside London Wednesday with former British Prime Minister Edward Heath and the 37 countrymen whose release from Iraq he had helped obtain. On Tuesday, Saddam Hussein's parliament endorsed his proposal to allow all 330 French citizens in Iraq to leave.

Israel seals territories:

Israeli troops sealed the borders of the occupied territories Wednesday in an effort to curb a wave of bloody revenge attacks by Arabs and Jews that followed the Israeli killing of 21 Arabs Oct. 8 on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

IRA bombings:

Simultaneous bomb attacks at two security checkpoints Wednesday in Northern Ireland killed six soldiers and a civilian and injured 35 people, police said. The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility. Five men were arrested in the Irish Republic in connection with the attacks.

Rapes in the Navy:

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