The Week That Was

December 07, 2003

The World

U.S. authorities said coalition forces firing machine guns and tank rounds killed roughly 50 Iraqis as two convoys carrying loads of cash bound for banks came under simultaneous attack in the central Iraq city of Samarra.

The U.S.-led administration in Iraq agreed with leaders of the country's top political parties to create a militia group made up of soldiers picked in equal numbers by the parties to gather intelligence on guerrilla activities and possibly conduct house raids, working under the command or guidance of U.S. soldiers.

Israeli soldiers killed three Hamas militants and a young boy during a roundup of suspected Palestinian militants in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

In an unprecedented labor action, even for France, thousands of French diplomats and Foreign Ministry staff members went on strike to protest cuts proposed in the foreign ministry budget.

Isidro Galeana, an ex-police chief in the Mexican Pacific state of Guerrero, apparently fled into hiding, days after an arrest warrant was issued for him in the 1974 abduction of a leftist teacher in the so-called dirty war waged by security forces from the 1960's to the 1980's.

Sajid Badat, a 24-year-old British man - one of more than 20 people arrested in a series of raids - was charged in London with conspiring in an explosives plot with Richard Reid, the al-Qaida `shoe bomber' who tried to blow up a U.S. airliner.

The much-criticized government of Zimbabwe said it would eliminate the legal requirement of personal notification of confiscation for white owners of commercial farms, allowing a newspaper advertisement to suffice.

The number of people seeking asylum in the 29 richest countries dropped by more than 20 percent in the first nine months of the year, to 343,570, with Russia overtaking Iraq as the largest source of refugees, mainly because of Chechens seeking to escape the civil war, according to the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Hilda College, Oxford University's only college closed to men, will continue to bar male students, a vote by it's governing body decided.

A suicide bomber killed at least 41 on a train in southern Russia not far from Chechnya.

The Nation

Cincinnati's coroner ruled that the weekend death of a 350-pound black man was a homicide, calling it the direct result of the man's clash with six police officers who repeatedly struck him with nightsticks as they struggled to subdue him, but he added that he was not implying "hostile or malign intent.`

Oregon officials announced they would change the state slogan from "Things Look Different Here" to "Oregon: We Love Dreamers."

President Bush rescinded tariffs on imported steel, averting a trade war.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained virtually unchanged last month, falling one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.9 percent, the lowest since March. The 8.7 million unemployed workers remained about the same.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston decided to sell the archbishop's grand residence to pay an $85 million settlement to compensate hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

For the first time, more women than men applied to U.S. medical schools this fall.

Texas Tech professor Thomas Butler was cleared of charges of mishandling plague samples that were highly publicized as a bioterrorism scare, but convicted of improperly handling the finances of his research, charges that arose from the plague investigation.

A sniper shooting that killed one person on Interstate 270 near Columbus, Ohio, was linked by authorities to 11 other shootings on the same highway.

Eight of nine midsize sport utility vehicles won the highest safety rating in new high-speed crash tests, by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: Lexus RX330, Infiniti FX, Cadillac SRX, Toyota 4Runner, Nissan Murano, Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Pilot and Mitsubishi Endeavor. The Kia Sorento earned the second-highest rating of "acceptable."

A 31-year-old Colorado woman was sentenced to four days in prison after being found guilty of fraud for faking the IQ test scores of her 3-year-old son (now 10) to claim he was a genius.

The Arab population in the United States has nearly doubled in the past two decades to nearly 1.2 million in 2000, compared with 610,000 in 1980, according to the Census Bureau's first report on the group. Two thirds trace their ancestry to three countries Lebanon, Syria or Egypt.

Fred Hale Sr., recognized as the oldest man in America, celebrated his 113th birthday in Baldwinsville N.Y. at a quiet party with family.

Productivity increased by a 9.4 percent annual rate in the third quarter, according to the Labor Department, the biggest rise in two decades.

The Region

Jonathan P. Luna, a 38-year-old federal prosecutor, was found stabbed to death in Pennsylvania on the day he was supposed to be hearing guilty pleas from two men facing heroin distribution charges in a Baltimore courtroom.

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