The Week That Was

February 08, 2004

The World

A bomb ripped through a Moscow subway car during rush hour, killing 39 people and wounding more than 120 in an apparent suicide attack, which President Vladimir V. Putin blamed on Chechen rebels trying to sow chaos before next month's presidential election.

Suicide bombers infiltrated holiday celebrations at the headquarters of the two main Kurdish political parties in northern Iraq, killing more than 100 people and injuring hundreds more - including several top members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

The British government announced that it would hold an inquiry into the intelligence used in deciding to go to war with Iraq, and expected findings to be ready months before a similar investigation in the United States.

U.S. forces captured six people "closely tied" to Saddam Hussein and his regime for suspected anti-coalition activities including attacks on helicopters.

Some aides to Iraq's most prominent Shiite religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, said gunmen tried to kill him, but others denied an assassination attempt.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he intends to remove nearly all the Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip without waiting for a peace agreement with the Palestinians, prompting threats from far-right parties to bring down his government.

Syria has resumed weapons transfers to anti-Israel guerrillas based in Lebanon, including a covert shipment of weapons from Iran smuggled aboard a Syrian cargo plane that had delivered earthquake relief, The New York Times reported, citing American and Israeli officials.

A German court, noting a refusal by the United States to allow testimony from a suspected operative of al-Qaida, acquitted Abdelghani Mzoudi, a former roommate of Mohamed Atta, who was accused of providing support to three hijackers in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Pakistan's nuclear weapons program founder, Abdul Qadeer Khan, was pardoned by president Gen. Pervez Musharraf after confessing to giving designs and technology to produce the fuel for nuclear weapons to Iran, Libya and North Korea over the past 15 years.

The Nation

CIA Director George J. Tenet - under criticism that flawed intelligence information led to the invasion of Iraq -asserted that his agents accurately portrayed Saddam Hussein as a rising danger who sought nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, but never said that Iraq posed an "imminent" threat.

President Bush released a $2.4 trillion budget plan that called for hefty increases for defense and national security and forecasts a record deficit this year of $521 billion, alarming some fiscal conservatives in Bush's Republican party.

Civilian unemployment dropped to 5.6 percent in January to the lowest level in more than two years as companies added 112,000 new jobs - fewer than expected but providing fresh signs the prolonged hiring slump may be ending.

In a ruling that immediately fueled the national debate over gay marriage, the Massachusetts high court made it clear that the state must make marriage accessible to same-sex couples.

Howard Dean, winless after nine Democratic contests and with little hope for victory in the states voting this weekend, headed for Wisconsin, vowing to win its Feb. 17 primary or quit the race.

Halliburton Co. will repay the U.S. government for overcharges estimated at $27.4 million for meals served to American troops at five military bases in Iraq and Kuwait last year, the Department of Defense said, adding that the company did not admit to any wrongdoing.

Three Senate office buildings were closed after a suspicious white powder, apparently delivered through the mail system, was found in the Senate majority leader's office. Officials said several preliminary tests were positive for ricin, a deadly poison.

The Pentagon, noting security problems, said it was canceling plans to use an electronic voting system that would have allowed Americans overseas to cast votes using the Internet in this year's elections.

Douglas Faneuil, a former stockbroker's assistant who is the star witness in the Martha Stewart trial, told the court in New York about an elaborate cover-up that began soon after he tipped Stewart over the telephone to sell her shares of ImClone Systems.

Police seized more than a dozen computers as well as numerous videotapes, letters, business records and a digital camera during the November search of Michael Jackson's Neverland estate, according to unsealed court documents in the case against the pop star.

A federal judge ruled that barring former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett from the National Football League draft violated antitrust law, clearing the way for underclassmen and high school students to turn pro.

The Region

A Somerset County judge set aside the death sentence of Kenneth Lloyd Collins, a Baltimore man convicted of the 1986 killing of a bank executive, ruling that jurors might have spared the defendant's life had his lawyer introduced evidence of a troubled upbringing.

The Columbia Council hired a security guard to keep the peace at its often-raucous meetings.

The National Museum of Dentistry at the University of Maryland complex in Baltimore - most famous for housing a set of George Washington's ivory dentures - was formally acknowledged by an act of Congress.

After a four-year salary freeze, Maryland's judges are seeking a pay raise of up to $30,000 over four years for some members of the bench, whose salaries start now at $111,500 a year.

The national Democratic Leadership Campaign Committee headed by Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller raised $175,000 from gambling interests in the final six months of last year, according to records released last week.

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