The Week That Was

February 15, 2004

The World

Two U.S. soldiers were killed while disposing of explosives in northern Iraq.

A car bomb exploded at a police station in Iskandariyah, south of Baghdad, killing at least 50 people and injuring 50.

Another car bomb exploded outside the recruiting station of the Iraqi Army headquarters in Baghdad, killing at least 47 Iraqis and injuring dozens of others.

FOR THE RECORD - A photo caption in yesterday's Perspective section gave an incorrect location for the Hippodrome Theatre. It is on Eutaw Street.

Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, came under a bold attack by gunmen in the turbulent Iraqi city of Fallujah.

Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen battled in the Gaza Strip, killing 15 Palestinians and wounding more than 50.

South Korean scientists reported the first successful cloning of a human embryo.

OPEC said it would cut oil production, sending crude-oil prices higher.

France's National Assembly voted to ban Muslim head scarves and other religious symbols from public schools.

In Finland, where traffic fines are assessed according to income, millionaire Jussi Salonoja, 27, was fined $216,000 for driving 50 mph in a 25-mph zone.

U.N. inspectors in Iran found previously unknown blueprints for a sophisticated machine to enrich uranium, calling into question Iranian claims that it had revealed all of its nuclear program to avoid sanctions.

Former Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, an Islamic extremist linked to al-Qaida, was killed when his car blew up in Qatar.

British Airways canceled Flight 223 from London to Washington Dulles International Airport for the fifth time in six weeks, noting security concerns.

Greek and Turkish leaders on Cyprus accepted a U.N. plan for ending decades of division and pledged to negotiate reunification in time for a May 1 entry into the European Union.

Ivan P. Rybkin, the Russian presidential candidate who disappeared for five days, told reporters in London that he had been drugged and kidnapped in an effort to silence him, though he earlier had said he had gone to Kiev to relax.

The Nation

The White House released 30-year-old payroll records and other evidence, including dental records, that aides said proved President Bush fulfilled his duties in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

Comcast Corp. offered $66 billion to take over Walt Disney Co., which could create the largest and most pervasive media conglomerate in the world.

Four San Francisco-area men, including the personal trainer to baseball star Barry Bonds, were charged with conspiring to distribute sophisticated performance-enhancing drugs to baseball, football and track athletes.

Winds and currents stymied salvage experts' repeated attempts to raise part of the German battleship Graf Spee, scuttled off Uruguay in the opening days of World War II.

A federal judge in Utah declared unconstitutional the state's law banning sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or child care center.

The Senate approved a $318 billion transportation bill opposed by the Bush administration as too expensive.

The Region

Baltimore teachers voted to reject Mayor Martin O'Malley's bid to prevent teacher layoffs and ease the financial crisis in city schools, an offer of an $8 million city loan if employees accepted a 3.5 percent pay cut.

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens said she wants to increase the county income tax rate to 3 percent.

The Army, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institutes of Health plan to build adjoining laboratories at Fort Detrick for a total cost of more than $1 billion, creating a "national biodefense campus."

Reviving a troubled Annapolis murder case, the Maryland Court of Appeals said prosecutors could use the previously disallowed confession of a man accused in a 2002 carjacking-killing in the heart of the city's Historic District.

Miguel Ramos, 35, of Columbia was sentenced to four years in prison, for sexually molesting a 5-year-old girl while her distracted older brother tried out the man's fishing gear at Jackson Pond last summer.

Scott K. Gibson III, 42, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, will take over as headmaster of Boys' Latin school, where he was the valedictorian in 1978.

Avian flu, which first appeared in chickens in Delaware, was found in poultry markets in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Quote

"They can spend millions of dollars on the Hippodrome [Theatre], and there seems to be money for keeping elephants in the zoo, but we don't have money for paper and pencils."

Jacquelyn Johnson,a third-grade teacher at Dickey Hill Elementary, on the financial crisis in the city school system

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