The Week That Was

July 18, 2004

The World

A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb at a checkpoint near the British Embassy and the interim Iraqi government's headquarters in Baghdad, killing 11 people and wounding 40, including a U.S. soldier. It was the worst attack in the capital since the United States transferred sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government June 28.

A day later, attackers detonated a car bomb near police and government buildings in the western city of Haditha, killing 10 Iraqis, while the prime minister said he would create a new security service geared toward halting the insurgency.

A group linked to Jordanian terrorist suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi took credit for assassinating Osama Kashmoula, the governor of Iraq's Nineveh province, who was fatally wounded when his convoy was attacked by gunmen north of Baghdad.

The Philippines began withdrawing some of its peacekeeping troops from Iraq in response to the threat by Iraqi insurgents that they would behead a Filipino driver if Manila did not withdraw its forces by July 20.

An independent British report found widespread flaws in intelligence gathering on illicit weapons and the government's use of that intelligence to justify the Iraq war. But it cleared Prime Minister Tony Blair of accusations that he or his government distorted the evidence to build a case for the war.

Khaled al-Harbi, a Saudi who is suspected of being a member of al-Qaida and who had appeared on a videotape with Osama bin Laden, was flown back to the kingdom from Iran after he surrendered under a government amnesty.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon asked Shimon Peres, leader of the moderate Labor Party, to join his coalition government, an alliance that could boost chances for Sharon's plan to withdraw Jewish soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip.

A fire at a private school in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu killed more than 75 young schoolchildren - 30 in the flames and the rest in a stampede.

The Nation

The Republican-led Senate dealt a bipartisan rebuke to President Bush as it blocked a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley reached a $54 million settlement with federal officials to close a sex discrimination case just before it went to trial.

More than 40 state governments have contracted with companies in India and other low-wage countries to help administer new food-stamp and other taxpayer-funded programs, according to a study by the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers.

Medicare changed its regulations, ruling that obesity can be considered a disease, meaning the federal program might start to pay for weight-loss programs.

A University of North Carolina study has found that most supermarket filets sold as red snapper - one of America's priciest and most popular fish - are some other species.

The Region

A year after falling to its lowest level ever, Baltimore's infant mortality rate rose by 26 percent last year, according to preliminary state health department figures - to 13.1 deaths per 1,000 births, from 10.4 deaths per 1,000 the previous year.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $44.7 million to a consortium led by Johns Hopkins scientists that aims to find the best way to combat tuberculosis as the leading cause of death worldwide among people with AIDS.

Police used DNA technology to charge Alexander Wayne Watson Jr., who is serving a life term in prison for a Prince George's County murder, in the slayings of three Anne Arundel women more than a decade ago.

Torrential storms dumped as much as 8 inches of rain on parts of northeastern Maryland, causing flash flooding that stranded motorists, shut down roads and had residents bailing out homes in waterside towns.

Baltimore Circuit Judge M. Brooke Murdock ruled that the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. acted unlawfully when it appointed Floyd R. Blair to lead a city-based social service agency over the objections of Mayor Martin O'Malley.

State auditors reported that Baltimore schools misused $18.3 million in federal funds between 2001 and this year, including sending money earmarked for needy students to schools where students did not qualify and diverting funds to other uses that did not meet qualifications.

Former Gov. Parris N. Glendening lobbied a board member of the Maryland retirement system to increase the amount of money the state pension fund was investing with longtime political ally Nathan A. Chapman Jr., the trustee testified in Chapman's federal fraud trial.

Mayor Martin O'Malley will be a featured speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Boston this month, when he'll have a chance to raise his national profile and air complaints about the burden of homeland security on U.S. cities.

Nathan M. Carter, who led the Morgan State University choir to world renown, died at 68.

Baltimore officials said they would sue CSX for $10 million to recover the costs of fighting the 2001 fire in a train tunnel under downtown streets.

Quote

"Am I the only one embarrassed that this Office has not convicted an elected official of corruption since 1988?"

Maryland U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio in a leaked July 1 e-mail to his staff. DiBiagio apologized for the message in a subsequent e-mail.

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