Gulf report:The long-anticipated ground war to liberate...

Newswatch ... on last week in review

March 04, 1991

Gulf report:

The long-anticipated ground war to liberate Kuwait started Feb. 24, and within a span of 100 hours the shooting was over.

* By last Monday -- the first full day of the offensive -- allied forces carved a path toward the gates of Kuwait City, dropped a forward post 50 miles into Iraq by helicopter and took at least 14,000 prisoners of war.

* The allied ground offensive, blessed with "tremendous success" for a second day, rolled over Iraq's troops and units of its vaunted Republican Guard with little difficulty, the military said.

* Iraq's Saddam Hussein, his armies reeling from a monumental allied air and land assault, said last Tuesday that he had begun withdrawing his forces from Kuwait. But President Bush accused Saddam of "trying to claim victory in the midst of a rout," and pledged that the allies "will continue to prosecute the war with undiminished intensity."

* With Iraq's shattered occupation army in chaotic flight, allied forces moved last Wednesday to reclaim Kuwait's capital.

Declaring, "This war is now behind us," President Bush late Wednesday offered Saddam Hussein a permanent cease-fire, but he said the next move was up to the Iraqi president. Bush set down the conditions, including compliance with all U.N. resolutions and immediate return of all prisoners and Kuwaiti detainees.

* The battlefields of the Persian Gulf were quiet by Thursday. Saddam Hussein's Iraq, broken by a six-week beating in the air and on the ground, bowed to all allied demands and hewed to the cease-fire announced by President Bush, who declared a "quick, decisive and just" victory.

* Peace took hold in the Persian Gulf region by last Friday. The day-old cease-fire held despite isolated clashes as allied soldiers kept a watchful eye on their vanquished foes and systematically destroyed abandoned Iraqi weaponry.

* A cease-fire meeting, originally scheduled for Saturday, was postponed until Sunday. At the meeting, between allied and Iraqi military officials, the Iraqis agreed to all allied demands.

* Pentagon planners said they hope to have more than half of the 537,000 American troops home within 10 weeks, but they caution that many may have to remain there for months.

* U.S. military transportation officials say Baltimore is being considered as an entry point for materiel that will return from the war in the Persian Gulf.

Bankruptcy:

John Unitas, the former Baltimore Colt quarterback, has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Unitas and his wife, Sandra, filed for protection from creditors Feb. 22.

Purchase:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland, the state's largest health insurer, has agreed to acquire the financially beleaguered CareFirst Inc. health maintenance organization. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Churches helping teens:

Black high school seniors use drugs and drink less frequently than white high school seniors, thanks to the anti-drug message taught in black churches, according to a University of Michigan study released last Monday.

Nearly 80 percent of the black students surveyed said religion played an important or very important role in their lives, compared with 50 percent of whites, said Jerald Bachman, a social scientist at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.

Those strong ties to churches, more than the presence of parents in the home, region or urban density, appear to influence students to say no to drugs, he said.

Hospital closing:

About 800 employees of Homewood Hospital Center South got the bad news last Monday that the hospital is closing, a hospital official said. It is expected to result in the lose of 600

jobs.

Delay in scores release asked:

Local school superintendents are urging the state school board to delay for a year publishing the scores from a new test to be given to thousands of Maryland students this May.

But they met a skeptical reception Wednesday from board members who cited freedom of information concerns and the need to keep the new testing program on schedule.

The economy:

USF&G Corp. reported a $610 million loss in the fourth quarter last Wednesday and chopped a nickel a share from its quarterly common stock dividend.

* The economy contracted at a steep 2 percent annual rate during the final quarter of 1990, the Commerce Department said last Wednesday.

* Consumer spending tumbled 0.6 percent in January, the biggest drop in the vitally important economic sector in four years, figures showed last Thursday.

* Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman L. William Seidman last Thursday asked for $20 billion more to protect bank deposits.

Briefly noted:

Foreign and defense ministers of the once mighty Warsaw Pact met last Monday in Budapest, Hungary, to formalize the end of the alliance's defunct military functions by March 31. . . . South African President F.W. de Klerk and leaders of black homelands have agreed to work together toward a multiparty conference leading to negotiations to end white-minority rule. . . . The first vaccine since the 1960s for RSV or respiratory syncytial virus, a potentially life-threatening viral infection that hospitalizes infants and preschoolers each year may be tested in susceptible babies in Baltimore by next winter. . . . Heavy rain muddied roads and tied up traffic, but it failed to avert mandatory water rationing starting last Thursday in California's two most populous regions.

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