The Week That Was

October 24, 2004

The World

Gunmen kidnapped the head of the CARE humanitarian group in Iraq, a British-born woman in her 60s who has been critical of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and has worked for three decades to improve conditions there. The kidnapping of Margaret Hassan triggered appeals for her release from British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Muslim humanitarian groups.

An Anglican Communion panel in London rebuked the Episcopal Church for approving its first gay bishop, but the Episcopal leadership showed no sign of retreat in a simmering dispute that has threatened to split the global church. The report, issued by an advisory commission of the worldwide Anglican Communion, called for the Episcopal Church to express regret for consecrating Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who leads the Diocese of New Hampshire, and place a moratorium on similar promotions.

The Nation

Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II, 38, of Buckingham, Va., a member of the Maryland-based Army Reserve unit who was charged with abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, pleaded guilty in a Baghdad courtroom yesterday to charges of conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees, assault and committing an indecent act after a former prisoner tearfully described his abuse at the hands of soldiers and his thoughts of suicide. Frederick was sentenced to eight years in prison for his actions at the prison.

More than 47 million elderly and disabled people will receive a 2.7 percent cost-of-living increase - an average of about $25 a month - in their Social Security benefits starting in January, the government announced. But, for many of those who participate in Part B of Medicare, which covers visits to doctors' offices, almost half of the benefit increase will disappear before they ever see it. Earlier, the government announced that the Medicare premium, which typically is deducted from Social Security checks, would rise by $11.60 a month next year.

A federal judge ruled that terror suspects held in Cuba must be allowed to meet with lawyers, and that the government cannot monitor their conversations. In a strongly worded rebuke of the Bush administration, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejected the administration's argument that the detainees were not entitled to lawyers. The Supreme Court ruled in June that the then-600 foreign-born men held in the Navy-run prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could challenge their captivity in American courts.

The Region

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. personally endorsed a secret land deal creating a tax break worth almost $7 million for a politically connected builder, a top administration official said. State Department of General Services Secretary Boyd K. Rutherford told a panel of lawmakers questioning the deal that an individual he would identify only as an unnamed "benefactor" approached him in the spring or summer of 2003, asking whether the state had preservation land to sell. The Sun has identified the benefactor as Willard J. Hackerman, president and chief executive officer of Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., the country's 14th-largest builder, which has projects such as Harborplace and the National Aquarium in Baltimore to its credit.

Quote

"We are almost in need of the help of everybody in the city of Baltimore."

- School board Chairwoman Patricia L. Welch, as officials asked residents for help in ending a wave of arson and violence that has swept city schools.

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