The Week That Was

October 17, 2004

The World

Insurgents struck deep inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, setting off bombs at a market and a popular cafe that killed at least 10 people - including four Americans - and wounded 20 others in the compound housing foreign embassies and Iraqi government offices.

Members of Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army began turning over weapons to Iraqi authorities in Baghdad as the first step in a fledgling peace agreement designed to end weeks of deadly clashes in the capital.

The Nation

Millions of people across the country were scrambling for flu shots after British officials suspended the manufacturing license of Chiron Corp., which was expected to provide nearly half of the United States' vaccine supply this year.

Christopher Reeve, the star of the Superman movies whose near-fatal riding accident nine years ago turned him into a worldwide advocate for spinal cord research, died of heart failure. He was 52.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear appeals in two cases involving displays of the Ten Commandments on the state Capitol grounds in Texas and in local courthouses in Kentucky, revisiting for the first time its 1980 decision that banned the posting of the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms.

The federal deficit surged to a record $413 billion this year, the Treasury Department announced. The figure easily surpassed the previous record in dollar terms, a revised $377 billion deficit that was run up last year.

The Senate approved $137 billion in tax breaks for corporations and special interests over 10 years, including a $10 billion buyout for tobacco farmers. The giveaways were needed to win votes for otherwise unpopular legislation intended primarily to end a trade fight over illegal U.S. subsidies to export industries.

The Region

Construction company owner Willard Hackerman, a prominent political donor and Baltimore power broker for decades, stands to receive a major tax break from a secret deal to purchase state-owned conservation land at a cut-rate price, sources told The Sun.

The Democratic Party took aim at Sinclair Broadcast Group, saying a program the Maryland-based corporation plans to air criticizing John Kerry's anti-war activism amounts to an illegal corporate campaign contribution to President Bush. The show is to focus on Kerry's denunciation of the Vietnam War three decades ago.

A Montgomery County delegate called for Comptroller William Donald Schaefer's resignation after he suggested that AIDS patients are a danger to society and brought the disease on themselves.

Quote:

"We're all God's children and I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice."

- Sen. John Kerry's debate comment that drew sharp responses from Cheney and his wife

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