The Week That Was

THE WEEK'S BEST

December 05, 2004

The World

Iran agreed to halt its uranium enrichment activities, opening the way for the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency to endorse the deal negotiated with three major European nations, virtually assuring Iran that it would not be referred to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

Ukranian opposition leader Viktor A. Yushchenko scored a major victory in his battle for Ukraine's presidency against his Russian-backed rival, winning a Supreme Court decision to cancel the disputed runoff and set a Dec. 26 rerun. Hundreds of thousands of jubilant Yushchenko backers celebrated in the streets of the capital, Kiev, chanting his name, blowing horns and waving flags.

The Nation

President Bush chose former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who helped direct the emergency response to the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes against the twin towers, to lead the Homeland Security Department, charged with safeguarding Americans from future attack. Bush also announced his choice of Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns to be agriculture secretary, selecting a dairy farmer's son who has traveled widely to promote American farm sales abroad.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson resigned. Bush administration officials said Dr. Mark McClellan, the Medicare chief and brother of White House press secretary Scott McClellan, was Bush's likely choice to take over the sprawling HHS bureaucracy.

With his selection of Cuban-born Carlos M. Gutierrez, the chief executive officer of Kellogg Co., to be his commerce secretary, President Bush advanced what strategists say is a comprehensive effort to transform his success among Hispanic voters in this year's elections into a long-term gain for Republicans. Bush also selected top White House lawyer Alberto R. Gonzales, a Mexican-American, to be attorney general.

Jason Giambi's reported testimony that he used steroids might jeopardize his $120 million contract with the New York Yankees and enable baseball commissioner Bud Selig to discipline him. Giambi said he injected himself with human growth hormone in 2003 and used steroids for at least three seasons, according to a grand jury transcript reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle. Selig repeatedly has called for year-round random testing and harsher penalties, but management and the players' association have failed to reach an agreement.

The Region

Thomas M. DiBiagio announced that he was resigning early next year as United States Attorney for the District of Maryland. Earlier this year, DiBiagio came under fire for e-mails he sent to his staff - and which were later published in The Sun - calling for "front page" indictments in political corruption cases. The U.S. Department of Justice recently sent representatives to Baltimore to interview federal prosecutors about DiBiagio's job performance.

Kweisi Mfume, a former Baltimore City Councilman and U.S. congressman who has led the NAACP for the past nine years, announced his resignation from the civil rights organization. Mfume, 56, has said he would like time off to spend with his six sons, the youngest of whom is 14. He said he was looking forward to a break from the punishing schedule of leading the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the nation's oldest and largest civil rights group.

Nine businesses slated to be condemned as part of a huge redevelopment of downtown's west side are suing the city's economic development agency, claiming that its history of unannounced, private meetings and failure to meet requests for documents is a violation of state law.

The D.C. Council narrowly gave preliminary approval to Mayor Anthony A. Williams' plan to build a baseball stadium with public money, but only after dismantling a portion of his blueprint, adding a provision to contain costs and urging him to reopen talks with Major League Baseball to get a better deal. The council voted 6-4 to approve the mayor's plan and keep the city on track to have the Washington Nationals, formerly the Montreal Expos, beginning this spring.

In a direct challenge to the Ehrlich administration, a conservation group announced that it will file suit to block state funding for widening a congested two-lane road in western Howard County, arguing that the project would lead to a loss of farms and open space on the Baltimore area's fringes, and undermine Maryland's nationally recognized Smart Growth policies.

A homemade DVD being circulated in Baltimore shows Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony with a man who warns that people who tip police about drug deals can meet with death. The remark was apparently made in a conversation on a street in Baltimore, where Anthony grew up. In the DVD, Anthony is shown but does not speak and is referred to as "Melo" by other participants in the video.

Baltimore's nascent network of 24-hour surveillance cameras, is being expanded to cover three high-crime corridors and the Canton waterfront, city officials said. The cameras, an outgrowth of a regional homeland security initiative announced in June, will be part of a surveillance network spanning five counties and stretching from the Inner Harbor to the Bay Bridge, an expansive system criticized by privacy advocates. The new inner-city cameras are to monitor approximately two-block swaths along Greenmount Avenue between Federal and East 25th streets; along East Monument Street between Edison Highway and Chester Street; and along Park Heights Avenue between Northern Parkway and Keyworth Avenue.

Quote

"The Chesapeake Bay is routinely described as a national treasure. But the governments' program to save the bay is fast becoming a national disgrace."

William C. Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in its annual "State of the Bay" report.

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