The Week That Was

November 30, 2003

The World

The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues its devastating march, with more deaths and infections this year than ever before, according to a United Nations report that said the epidemic has killed more than 3 million people in 2003. About 5 million more acquired the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, bringing the number of people living with the virus to between 34 million and 46 million.

A Turkish court charged nine people in the suicide attacks against the British Consulate and a branch of a London-based bank in Istanbul.

Powerful Iraqi Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani announced his opposition to the American plan for indirect elections of an Iraqi government, calling instead for a direct vote.

Marxist rebels in Colombia released two European backpackers they had kidnapped more than two months ago and promised to free four Israelis and a Briton before Christmas.

The U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council raided the offices of Al-Arabiya television, banned its broadcasts from Iraq and threatened to imprison its journalists for airing an audiotape Nov. 16 of a voice it said belonged to Saddam Hussein.

Israeli troops killed three Palestinians who the military said were planning to set up an ambush on a road in the Gaza Strip used by Jewish settlers.

Eduard A. Shevardnadze, the former Soviet official who was considered a founding father of independent Georgia, was forced out after 11 years as president of that one-time Soviet state, handing opposition leaders a government takeover without bloodshed, inspired and driven by Georgians themselves.

Two American soldiers died when attackers stopped their Humvee in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul, shot the pair and looted their bodies.

Five U.S. troops died when their helicopter crashed near American military headquarters north of Kabul in Afghanistan.

An Indian court sentenced 12 Hindus to life imprisonment for killing 14 Muslims during riots in Gujarat state last year.

U.S. government revoked almost $290 million in American-backed loan guarantees for Israel in retaliation for illegal construction of settlements and a security fence in the West Bank, Israel announced after the figure was negotiated between Washington and Jerusalem.

U.S. troops killed three Iraqis and injured eight while controlling a prison riot in Baghdad.

Australia's government apologized to New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark after she was randomly selected for explosives scanning by handheld wand at Sydney Airport, even though security officials had been told who she was.

India and Pakistan agreed on a cease-fire in the disputed Kashmir region.

More than 800 members of a right-wing paramilitary group surrendered their weapons, part of a plan by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to rid the country of warring factions.

Top U.S. officials in Iraq said recent crackdowns have diminished attacks on Americans but sent guerrillas after Iraqis who work with occupation forces.

Yemeni authorities said they arrested al-Qaida official Mohammad Hamdi Ahdal, who was said to have helped plan the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said he would turn over former Liberian President Charles Taylor to face a war crimes trial if that country requests it.

American troops hunting for Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a top Saddam Hussein deputy suspected of masterminding anti-U.S. attacks, arrested his wife and daughter in an apparent attempt to pressure his surrender.

The Nation

U.S. economy grew at an 8.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter, greater even than the government's earlier enthusiastic estimate of 7.2 percent.

Higher speed limits on America's interstate highways led to nearly 1,900 additional deaths in 22 states from 1996 to 1999, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found.

Commuter trains ran from New Jersey to the rebuilt World Trade Center station for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001.

Boeing Aircraft fired Darleen A. Druyun, a former longtime Air Force procurement official who became a top Boeing executive and was under investigation for giving that company information about a rival's bid for a refueling plane contract. Boeing's chief financial officer, who hired Druyun, was also fired.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed to parole a woman who killed her husband's mistress in 1987, the second time in a week the newly installed Republican has granted the release of a convicted murderer. His approach differs from that of Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, who during his five years in office repeatedly refused to grant paroles that had been approved by the State Board of Prison Terms.

Capt. James Yee, the Army Muslim chaplain who ministered to Guantanamo Bay prisoners and now faces charges of mishandling classified documents, was released after 11 weeks in the brig. He will face a preliminary court-martial hearing on that charge and new counts including alleged adultery and conduct unbecoming an officer.

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