The Week That Was

April 18, 2004

The World

An Apache attack helicopter about three miles west of Baghdad airport was shot down, killing both crewmen.

Gunmen in Baghdad killed a high-ranking diplomat from the Iranian Embassy, just as an Iranian envoy headed to Najaf to try to resolve the U.S. standoff with Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric and militia leader.

In a joint appearance at the White House, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said they welcomed a proposal by U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for an Iraqi interim government that would receive political power June 30. The proposal calls for a smaller governing body, bypassing many of the U.S. allies on the governing council.

A large American force supported by tanks and artillery took up positions outside Najaf in southern Iraq as al-Sadr resisted demands from the American occupation authority and fellow Shiite clerics to disband his militia.

Spanish investigators said that many of the top participants in last month's Madrid bombing may be at large.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said he might break his agreement to resign as army chief by the end of the year.

A man identifying himself as Osama bin Laden offered a "truce" to European countries that remove their troops from Muslim nations. The audiotaped offer, broadcast by Arab television channels, was instantly rejected.

Russian police freed a Dutch aid worker kidnapped by masked gunmen almost two years ago near Chechnya.

Crowds of Hong Kong citizens staged peaceful protests against the Chinese government's decision to limit further moves toward democracy.

Members of the Iraqi Governing Council say they were never consulted over the large-scale American military moves last week and would have opposed confronting Sunni insurgents in Fallujah and Ramadi, exposing deep fissures between the council and the occupation authorities, The New York Times reported.

The African National Congress headed toward a 75 percent majority in South Africa's Parliament in the third elections since the end of apartheid.

The Nation

President Bush said the intelligence briefing he received on al-Qaida one month before Sept. 11 did not contain a specific "indication of a terrorist attack" in the United States.

Attorney General John Ashcroft told the 9/11 commission that a legal prohibition preventing intelligence investigators from sharing information with criminal investigators was a major obstacle in preventing the terror attacks.

A new book by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward says that President Bush began planning a war in Iraq less than two months after invading Afghanistan, but kept the plans secret from many top aides in his administration.

U.S. intelligence agencies, blinded by bureaucratic inertia, lack of funds and the absence of an over-arching strategy, repeatedly missed warning signs of the al-Qaida threat to America before Sept. 11 and were unprepared to counter it, the 9/11 commission said in a report.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia apologized to two reporters who were required to erase recordings of a speech he gave at a Mississippi high school.

Ruby Bustamante, a 5-year-old girl found in a ravine in California, survived for 10 days on dry noodles and Gatorade while remaining near her dead mother after a car crash.

Audrey Seiler, a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of obstructing officers in connection with faking her own kidnapping last month.

Barry Bonds hit his 661st home run, putting him alone in third place on baseball's career home run list by passing the total of his godfather, Willie Mays.

The Region

The O'Malley administration approved a 27 percent increase in water and sewer rates over three years to pay for federally mandated repairs to the city's leaky sewage system. Water users served by the city's water system, including those in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore counties, also will be hit with higher rates.

Maryland has cleaned up its air enough since 1990 that the federal Environmental Protection Agency reclassified much of the state's ozone pollution level from severe to moderate, under the EPA's new, stricter definition of clean air.

Howard County and state police were investigating a series of incidents in which projectiles hit automobiles traveling on I-95 in the county.

Westminster's popular Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers Market will close its doors by the end of next month to prepare to move into a vacant grocery store in northern Baltimore County this summer - the old Metro Food Market space at Ashland Marketplace in Cockeysville.

Ozzie Clay, who played a single season for the Washington Redskins 40 years ago, was indicted in Maryland on federal arson and fraud charges that accuse him of setting fire to his failing home-security business to collect insurance proceeds.

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