The Week That Was

March 21, 2004

The World

Spain's Socialist prime minister-elect, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, said he would change Spain's alliance away from the United States and closer to France and Germany.

Gunmen ambushed a car carrying American relief workers in Mosul in northern Iraq, killing four U.S. civilians and seriously wounding another in the second targeted attack on civilians doing reconstruction work.

A car bomb blew up near a hotel as a British troops passed by in the southern city of Basra, killing five Iraqi bystanders.

Arab journalists, protesting the deaths of two of their colleagues apparently shot by U.S. troops at a roadblock in Baghdad, walked out of a press conference by U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who paid a surprise visit to the Iraqi capital to mark the first anniversary of the start of the war.

President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland, a key Washington ally, said that Poland was "misled" about the threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu of Taiwan were shot and wounded while campaigning from the back of an open-roofed red Jeep in the southern city of Tainan in the run-up to the country's presidential election.

Israeli helicopters fired two missiles into a crowd of suspected gunmen in a Gaza Strip refugee camp, killing four people in a stepped-up campaign to root out Palestinian militants. Two unarmed teen-age boys and one militant were among the dead, Palestinian officials said.

Pakistani paramilitary troops engaged in fierce fighting in the rugged tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, leading them to believe they were closing in on top al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri, considered second to Osama bin Laden in the organization.

Spreading violence in Kosovo left over 30 dead and hundreds injured - including 60 peacekeeping troops - as ethnic Albanians attacked Serbian neighborhoods in what appears to have started as a response to the drowning of two Albanian children in Mitrovica that was blamed on Serbs. NATO rushed troops to the area.

The Nation

Tipped off by a gambler who realized he was sharing his pizza with a fugitive, authorities in Las Vegas arrested Charles A. McCoy Jr., 28, a suspect in two dozen sniper shootings that have frightened residents of central Ohio for months.

Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology said they had discovered what may be a new planet, a mysterious red object circling the sun that's three times as far from Earth as Pluto and nearly as large.

The Pentagon plans to withhold about $300 million in payments to Halliburton Co. because of possible overcharging for meals served to troops in Iraq and Kuwait, defense officials said.

Lockheed Martin Corp., the largest U.S. defense company, increased Chief Executive Officer Vance Coffman's pay last year to $13.8 million, from $11.2 million, even as the company's shares fell the most among major U.S. defense contractors.

The numbers of Hispanics and Asians in the United States will triple over the next half-century with the likelihood that by 2010 minorities will number more than 110 million out of a total population of 309 million, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

Police in Fresno, Calif., said the nine victims in that city's worst mass murder all appeared to have been shot to death.

A jury in Montana awarded $20 million to a 32-year-old popcorn factory worker who contended that his lungs were ruined by butter-flavoring oils used in microwave popcorn.

USA Today said an investigation into the work of Jack Kelley concluded that the former star foreign correspondent made up parts of at least eight major stories, including an eyewitness account of a Palestinian sucide bombing that made him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2001.

The Region

Stadium Authority Executive Director Richard W. Slosson resigned in the wake of an audit that criticized the authority for taking shortcuts in competitive bidding, conflicts of interest and other problems - including the discovery of backdated, apparently fraudulent memos to explain a $15,000 bonus awarded to Slosson.

Deborah Williams, the Annapolis High School principal whose arrival eight months ago bitterly divided a school community, was removed by Anne Arundel County schools Superintendent Eric J. Smith.

Stephen P. Amos, former head of Maryland's anti-crime agency, was indicted for allegedly using federal grants intended for crime fighting to pay for administrative salaries including staff of former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who was cleared in the investigation.

The recovery of the body of Corinne J. Schillings, 26, of Washington completed the search for victims of the capsized Inner Harbor water taxi in which five people perished.

Terry Harriet Pierce Eslin, a 59-year-old Anne Arundel County woman, was convicted of first-degree murder for using a rifle to beat and shoot her husband to death over her mounting credit card debt.

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