The Week That Was

February 29, 2004

The World

A Palestinian suicide bomber killed eight people aboard a crowded commuter bus in Jerusalem.

Israeli forces burst into Palestinian banks, corralled employees, covered security cameras and seized at least $6.7 million in an unprecedented raid. Israel said Iran, Syria and Lebanese guerrillas sent the funds to Palestinian militants.

Turkish prosecutors charged 69 people with involvement in four suicide bomb attacks in Istanbul in November, saying that a Turkish representative of al-Qaida masterminded the truck bombings which killed 61 people.

A suicide bomber exploded a white Oldsmobile outside a police station in Kirkuk in northern Iraq, killing at least seven policemen and wounding as many as 52 people. It was the fifth suicide attack in Iraq this month.

A U.S. military helicopter crashed into the Euphrates River, killing two crew members.

Military officials said 112 reports of sexual misconduct have been made against U.S. soldiers accused of assaulting women soldiers in the past 18 months in the Central Command area of operations, which includes Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

An earthquake devastated an isolated, picturesque region of northern Morocco, killing more than 560 people.

Rebels with assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades attacked a refugee camp in northern Uganda, burning huts, killing at least 192 people and wounding dozens.

Macedonia's president, Boris Trajkovski, a moderate leader credited for helping to unite his ethnically divided country, was killed when his government plane crashed in bad weather in mountainous southern Bosnia.

The French government said that 18.3 percent fewer American tourists visited France last year, a bigger drop than in 2002, when the number of U.S. tourists fell by 15.3 percent. The decline was blamed on currency exchange rates, a summer heat wave and wildfires.

Clare Short, a former member of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Cabinet, claimed that her government bugged the offices of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

Two Palestinians who killed an Israeli soldier in an industrial zone in the Gaza Strip were killed by other soldiers.

Israeli soldiers clashed with stone-throwing demonstrators protesting Israel's protection wall, killing two protesters and wounding dozens.

The Nation

President Bush called for a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, pushing an explosive cultural issue to the forefront of the 2004 presidential campaign.

The Army canceled its Comanche helicopter program after sinking $8 billion and 21 years of effort into producing a new-generation chopper.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress and the Bush administration that Social Security benefits should be cut to avert serious economic problems from a ballooning budget deficit.

The Supreme Court, in a new rendering on separation of church and state, voted to let states withhold scholarships from students studying theology, even when money is available to students studying anything else.

Patrick McSorley, who accused defrocked priest John Geoghan of molesting him and became one of the most outspoken victims in the Boston Archdiocese sex scandal, was found dead at age 29.

A Vatican report on child sexual abuse found fault with American bishops' zero-tolerance policy of seeking to remove from ministry any Roman Catholic priest who has abused a child, casting the policy as an overreaction to a public outcry and as a potentially counterproductive way to keep children safe from sexual abuse.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Avastin, the first drug to treat cancer tumors by cutting off their blood supply.

The Region

Dontee D. Stokes, the city barber who was acquitted of shooting a priest he said molested him, will be retried on related handgun charges that were thrown out by the state's highest court.

About 25 show horses were killed in a fire at a Montgomery County horse breeding and training farm, which authorities said was difficult to extinguish because no hydrants are in the area.

Johns Hopkins Hospital reached a settlement with the parents of Brianna Cohen, 2, a brain cancer patient who died after apparently receiving too much potassium intravenously.

Jurors decided to not to give the death penalty to Jovan House, 22, convicted killer of a Baltimore police detective, saying that life in prison was a worse punishment.

Outgoing Howard County School Superintendent John R. O'Rourke demoted two top administrators - Deputy Superintendent Kimberly Statham and Assistant Superintendent Roger L. Plunkett - after an investigation into allegations that the two had changed the Centennial High transcript of Statham's daughter. Both said they would appeal to the school board.

Keith A. Jennings, 37, a Baltimore police officer, was indicted in the rape an 18-year-old woman. Police said she was handcuffed on a South Baltimore street and forced into a vacant building.

Quote

"I have the feeling that Jesus would think it's a lot of crap. If it had been a better film, I would have been more concerned."

M. Sigmund Shapiro of Baltimore's Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, after watching Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ"

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