The Week That Was

March 07, 2004

The World

A German court overturned the world's only conviction for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and ordered a retrial for Mounir el-Motassadeq, a Moroccan found guilty last year of aiding the Hamburg cell of suicide hijackers and charged with more than 3,000 counts of accessory to murder and membership in a terrorist organization.

Some 10,000 French rail workers hunted for bombs along thousands of miles of tracks after AZF, an unknown group, demanded $5 million and threatened to explode bombs throughout the rail system. One bomb was discovered.

An Israeli helicopter strike killed three Hamas militants riding in a car, the second such targeted attack in five days and a possible sign that Israel was stepping up its campaign against militants ahead of a planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

At least 42 Shiite Muslim worshipers died when they were attacked in the Pakistani city Quetta by three assailants who lobbed grenades and sprayed bullets before blowing themselves up.

President Vladimir V. Putin surprised Russia by picking a low-profile technocrat, Mikhail Fradkov as prime minister, a position that answers directly to the president.

Hundreds of U.S. Marines landed in Haiti on a mission to restore order after the departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The Nation

Domestic arts mogul Martha Stewart was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements that arose from her sale of stock of ImClone stock based on insider knowledge.

A study by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, found that 22.1 percent of all unemployed workers were out of work for six months or more last year - the worst annual rate since 1983.

Former WorldCom chief executive Bernard Ebbers pleaded innocent to federal charges that he directed an $11 billion accounting fraud, the biggest in U.S. corporate history.

In a victory for gun control advocates, the Senate rejected a popular bill to protect gun manufacturers, wholesalers and dealers from liability lawsuits when guns are used in crimes.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California showed his strength with the overwhelming support he mustered for two key ballot measures authorizing the state to sell $15 billion in bonds to raise money to pay off previous budget deficits, and requiring officials to balance the state budget each year.

The Bush administration announced plans to relax restrictions on single-sex public schools and classrooms, effectively ending three decades of federal attempts to enforce a nationwide policy of coeducation.

Michael Eisner stepped down as chairman of the Walt Disney Co. - but remained as chief executive - after 43 percent of shareholders did not vote for him to remain on the board. Former Sen. George Mitchell was named chairman.

NASA scientists announced that the rover Opportunity had found the first compelling evidence that water once drenched parts of the Martian surface, creating an environment that could have harbored life.

The bodies of three family members who disappeared from their home on Valentine's Day were found in a wooded area of Mississippi and a relative was charged with their murder.

The federal grand jury probing the leak of a covert CIA officer's identity has subpoenaed records of Air Force One telephone calls in the week before the officer's name was published in July, Newsday reported.

Attorney General John Ashcroft was hospitalized in an intensive care unit at George Washington University Hospital for a severe case of gallstone pancreatitis, a painful condition that usually clears up within a week with treatment.

The 26-year-old mayor of New Paltz, N.Y., a member of the Green Party who was marrying homosexual couples, was charged with 19 criminal counts. He's accused of breaking state law by solemnizing marriages for couples who had no licenses.

Three American Muslims were convicted in a Virginia federal court on charges of helping a Pakistani group wage a terrorist jihad in India.

Oral Suer, who ran the United Way in Washington for 27 years until his 2001 retirement, was convicted of stealing almost $500,000 from the charity organization, though officials there say an audit found at least $1.6 million missing.

The U.S. economy added 21,000 jobs in February, well below forecasts.

The Region

Despite spirited races in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, all eight Maryland congressmen and one U.S. senator, Barbara A. Mikulski, won spots on the November ballot in last week's Super Tuesday primary election.

Vicki Ballou-Watts became the first African-American to win a countywide election in Baltimore County when she was elected to a full 15-year term on the county Circuit Court.

An investigation by The Sun found that shortly before Carmen V. Russo resigned as head of Baltimore's school system, the school board asked her to leave, in part because of her inability to monitor the system's finances. She left last June, a year before her four-year contract ended.

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