The Week That Was

September 12, 2004

The World

U.S. military deaths in Iraq passed the 1,000 mark, a grim milestone reached amid an upswing in attacks on U.S. forces from the teeming Shiite slum known as Sadr City in Baghdad to the combative Sunni areas west of the capital that includes the city of Fallujah.

Israeli helicopters attacked what the military described as a Hamas training field early today, killing at least 13 Palestinians and wounding 25 in the bloodiest strike in Gaza in months, officials from both sides said. Most of the casualties were members of the anti-Israeli militant group. The attack came a week after Hamas carried out a double suicide bombing in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, killing 16 Israelis and breaking a six-month lull in major violence against the Jewish state.

Suspected Muslim militants detonated a car bomb outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, killing nine people and wounding 173 in a strike at a key U.S. ally in the war in Iraq. The blast - the first major attack attributed to Jemaah Islamiyah in more than a year - could influence elections in Australia, where the prime minister is running on a pro-American, anti-terror platform.

Army investigators told Congress that a far greater number of Iraqi detainees at Baghdad's infamous Abu Ghraib prison - ranging from two dozen to as many as 100 - were hidden from the International Red Cross at the behest of the CIA, and that the spy agency refused repeated requests to cooperate with their investigation.

The Nation

Hurricane Ivan tore through the Caribbean with 160 mph winds after it killed at least 20 people while pummeling Grenada, Barbados and other islands. Tourists and residents also were told to evacuate the Florida Keys because Ivan could hit the island chain today. It was the third Florida evacuation ordered in a month, after Hurricane Charley and hard on the heels of Hurricane Frances.

Health care costs continued to surge this year as family premiums in employer-sponsored plans jumped 11.2 percent, the fourth year of double-digit growth, according to a new study. The cumulative effect of rising health care costs is taking a toll on workers: At least 5 million fewer jobs provide health insurance this year than in 2001, according to the survey of 3,017 companies by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust.

Former President Bill Clinton sailed through quadruple bypass surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in what surgeons called a routine but necessary operation to prevent a major heart attack.

Sen. John Kerry, battling a slide in the polls, unleashed a torrent of criticism against President Bush, telling mineworkers at a Labor Day rally in the swing state of West Virginia that the "W" in Bush's name stands for "wrong." "Wrong choices, wrong judgment, wrong priorities, wrong direction for our country," Kerry told supporters, his voice echoing through a sun-soaked valley in the heart of coal country.

The federal deficit will hit a record $422 billion this year and $2.3 trillion over the next decade even if Congress does not enact any of the additional tax cuts that President Bush is seeking, the Congressional Budget Office said.

The Region

Plans for a November referendum on legalizing slot machines collapsed after a hectic day of closed-door meetings and political posturing that ended with allies of Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Democratic House Speaker Michael E. Busch trading charges of bad-faith negotiating.

Baltimore's real estate rebound, long awaited but mainly evident near the waterfront, hit a milestone last month when the city posted a record 33 percent increase in home prices - double the region as a whole.

The nation's system for ensuring accurate medical tests is coming under scrutiny in the wake of severe problems at two Maryland laboratories, with public and private officials investigating possible reforms. Thousands of patients at Maryland General Hospital and Reference Pathology Services of Maryland in Rosedale were offered retests for HIV and other diseases after inspectors found breakdowns in quality at their laboratories.

The FBI has launched an investigation into the April 30 death of inmate Ifeanyi A. Iko, 51, a Nigerian immigrant, at Western Correctional Institution in Allegany County, who died after a violent confrontation with correctional officers - a death ruled by the state medical examiner's office as a homicide by asphyxiation. In an internal investigation, Maryland's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services found no wrongdoing by prison staff. An Allegany County grand jury reached the same conclusion in July after a two-day investigation.

After 30 years, a man wanted in the killing of a Baltimore civilian police employee was arrested, leaving friends, family members and police officers who had been working the case relieved. Michael Hughes, 58, was arrested in Boston last weekend in the stabbing of a man on a bus. Police then discovered that Hughes was wanted for the 1974 Christmas Eve killing of 40-year-old McKinley Johnson.

Quote

"Without the speaker's acquiescence, it's not going to happen."

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., explaining the failure of an effort to reach bipartisan agreement with House Speaker Michael E. Busch on a proposed ballot referendum locating slot machines in the state

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