The Week That Was

February 23, 2003

The World

Opening a new front in the war against terrorism, the United States said it will send about 2,000 troops to the Philippines to fight Muslim extremists in the southern part of the country.

Turkey demanded a $32 billion aid package from the United States for its participation in a war against Iraq, about $6 billion more than the United States has offered.

Fire raced through two packed subway trains in South Korea after a man ignited a carton filled with flammable material, killing about 120 people and injuring 135, officials said.

In an apparent attempt to force direct dialogue with the United States, North Korea threatened to abandon the armistice that ended the Korean War five decades ago, accusing Washington of planning an attack.

A German court convicted a Moroccan student of assisting the al-Qaida terrorists who flew airplanes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001.

Motorists began paying an $8 toll to enter central London as a hotly disputed plan to ease the paralyzing traffic came into force with few problems.

Isser Harel, the celebrated Israeli spy chief who ran the secret 1960 mission that snatched Holocaust war criminal Adolf Eichmann from anonymity in Argentina, died at age 91.

Saudi Arabia said it had referred 90 citizens for prosecution as individuals with links to al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations and was investigating another 250 for possible ties.

The United States has dropped more than 8 million leaflets over Iraq, warning citizens not to oppose allied forces if a war starts against them.

Belgian officials reported that thieves looted more than 100 vaults at the diamond trading center in Antwerp. Authorities would not give a value of the booty, but it was bigger than a robbery nine years ago when thieves made off with $4.55 million worth of gems from the center.

Vladimiro Montesinos, the former intelligence and security chief of Peru under the ousted President Alberto Fujimori, went on trial in Lima on charges of corruption.

The U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, disclosed indictments for the first time against Kosovar Albanians for atrocities, including killings and torture, committed against Serbs and ethnic Albanians during the war there.

The Nation

A nightclub erupted in a raging fire during a rock band's pyrotechnic display in West Warwick, R.I., killing 96 and injuring 180 as frantic people rushed to escape. Club officials said the special effects were used without permission.

Security guards blocked the exit of a Chicago nightclub in a failed attempt to control a crowd panicked by pepper spray, creating a crushing, smothering pileup near the only exit that killed 21 people.

Four U.S. residents, all of Middle Eastern origin, were charged with helping to finance and manage Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian group which has claimed many suicide bombings in Israel.

Former crack cocaine kingpin Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff was arrested in a Miami luxury hotel on a weapons charge for taking target practice at a Baltimore firing range, a violation of federal gun laws for a convicted felon.

American teens continued to have the highest rate of fatal accidents, but graduated driver's license programs reduce teen crash rates by as much as 33 percent, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A computer hacker gained access to more than 5.6 million Visa and MasterCard account numbers by breaching the security of a company that processes transactions for merchants.

Former Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Patrick Regan was convicted of trying to sell secrets to Iraq and China, but not of trying to sell secrets to Libya.

A Japanese tourist was arrested after carrying a canister of gasoline and a barbecue grill through Miami International Airport on his way from Jamaica to the Bahamas. His passport included stamps from Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

Jose Canseco, the former major league slugger, was sent to jail in Florida for violating probation stemming from a night club brawl in 2001.

A 17-year-old girl died yesterday in a North Carolina hospital after receiving a heart and lung transplant on Feb. 7 from a donor with the wrong blood type. She had received a compatible heart and lung in a second transplant Thursday.

The space shuttle Columbia began losing pieces over the California coast well before it disintegrated over Texas, the body investigating the tragedy said.

The Region

Two Baltimore sheriff's deputies have been fired and two others suspended for their roles in a stun gun attack on a Salvadoran construction worker mistaken for a bank robber in September.

Former Gov. Marvin Mandel was named to the University of Maryland Board of Regents by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

At least 11 people died in storm-related incidents in Maryland's record snowstorm. Several died from carbon monoxide poisoning while they were in snowbound vehicles with the engine running.

Eighty-seven of Baltimore's 188 snowplows were reported out of commission, but only two of Baltimore County's 259 pieces of equipment were not functioning after two days of the worst recorded snowstorm in the state's history.

Quote

"I never knew a place could burn so fast. There was nothing they could do, it went up so fast."

Robin Petrarca, who survived the nightclub fire in Warwick, R.I.

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