The Week That Was

December 19, 2004

The World

Jailed Palestinian activist Marwan Barghouti ended his on-again, off-again campaign for presidency of the Palestine Liberation Organization, clearing the way for interim leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is favored to win the vote next month.

A Chilean judge charged former dictator Augusto Pinochet, 89, with kidnapping nine people and murdering one of them during his military rule, saying that the former dictator was competent to stand trial and placing him under house arrest.

Tests showed that Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor A. Yushchenko had ingested dioxin, causing prosecutors to reopen an investigation into possible poisoning. Yushchenko, whose face was badly disfigured by the toxin, had 100,000 units of dioxin in his blood, the second-highest concentration ever recorded.

The Nation

President Bush signed a measure overhauling the nation's intelligence system along the lines recommended by the 9/11 commission, a measure passed when Congress reconvened in a lame duck session after the election.

Former Utah Gov. Michael O. Leavitt, now EPA administrator, was nominated by President Bush as secretary of Health and Human Services.

Sean O'Keefe resigned as head of NASA to pursue a chancellor's job at Louisiana State University.

Sprint and Nextel announced that they would merge in a $71 billion deal that further consolidates the wireless telephone industry.

In a test of the missile defense system, an interceptor missile failed to leave its launch pad on an atoll in the Pacific Ocean to chase a target missile that had been launched from Alaska.

The Region

Aaron L. Speed, 21, of Waldorf, a security guard at the controversial Charles County housing development that was hit by arson, was charged in the case.

Educational software maker LeapFrog SchoolHouse announced the resignation of its president and two saleswomen in a probe of a $1 million sale to the school system in Prince George's County, where the school board ordered a new probe of CEO Andre J. Hornsby, the boyfriend of one of the fired saleswomen.

Quote

"For me, a big part of it was at the end - the verdict - no emotion. No anything. That spoke a thousand words - loud and clear."

Richelle Nice,one of the jurors who decided that Scott Peterson should get the death penalty for murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner.

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