The Week That Was

September 19, 2004

The World

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin demanded a sweeping overhaul of his country's political system, saying the moves were needed to combat terrorism. The proposed measures, which were criticized by U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, would end the direct popular election of governors and change electoral procedures for parliament in ways that would strengthen Putin's power.

Senate Republicans joined Democrats in denouncing the Bush administration's lack of progress toward rebuilding Iraq, saying the United States risks failure if it doesn't respond with more urgency.

In a rare rebuke of Saudi Arabia, the Bush administration criticized the kingdom for denying religious rights to non-Muslims.

The Nation

CBS News President Andrew Heyward said the network was trying to resolve questions about documents that were the basis of a 60 Minutes report alleging that President Bush avoided fulfilling his military duties 30 years ago with the help of special connections.

The nation's crime rate held steady last year at the lowest levels since the government began surveying crime victims in 1973, the Justice Department reported. The study was the latest in a decadelong trend in which violent crime as measured by victim surveys has fallen by 55 percent and property crime by 49 percent. That included a 14 percent drop in violent crime from 2000-2001 to 2002-2003.

US Airways Group Inc. filed for bankruptcy reorganization for the second time in two years, an expected but grim response to fierce competition from low-fare carriers threatening most of the nation's large, traditional airlines. Many of the half-dozen so-called legacy carriers are trying to improve their profitability by extracting savings from labor, which is the industry's biggest cost.

Rep. Porter J. Goss of Florida, President Bush's nominee to be director of the CIA, warned Senate members at his confirmation hearing that it would take more than five years to rebuild the agency.

Oprah Winfrey celebrated the opening of her talk show's 19th season by surprising each of the 276 members of her audience with a new car. The vehicles were donated by General Motors.

The Region

Maryland's high school end-of-course test scores improved significantly this year, but results also showed that about 40 percent of the students would not have achieved the score that will soon be required to earn a high school diploma.

The suspension of state elections chief Linda H. Lamone by the Maryland Board of Elections was temporarily blocked by an Anne Arundel Circuit judge who said that removing her two months before the Nov. 2 election could "create chaos" and destroy public confidence. The elections board still plans to pursue efforts to remove Lamone.

The Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center is so understaffed that it poses a serious threat to the safety of youths held there and to staff who supervise them, according to a report on the state-run facility by the Office of the Independent Juvenile Justice Monitor. The study portrays an institution in chaos, with youths attacking each other and staff, setting fires, climbing walls to escape and attempting suicide.

Getting Baltimore residents to show up for jury duty has become so difficult the city's judges are trying a new tack: offering discount parking and free sodas.

Quote

"It is not in conformity with the U.N. charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view, it was illegal."

- United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan,commenting on the U.S-led invasion of Iraq

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