Looking Forward

Looking Back

April 24, 2005

LOOKING FORWARD

Sunday

Pope Benedict XVI is installed as the 265th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

Monday

President Bush meets with Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas. The United States is close to reaching an agreement with Saudi Arabia on tariff cuts that the kingdom has to make to join the World Trade Organization, a top U.S. trade official said Friday. A bilateral deal with the United States would "pave the way for Saudi Arabia to sign the WTO [entry] agreement in Hong Kong at the end of the year."

Anglican Church of Canada bishops meet with U.S. Episcopal Church bishops at Windsor, Canada, and Detroit to discuss North America's religious scene. An Anglican church commission has sharply criticized the U.S. Episcopal Church for consecrating a gay bishop and called on the church to apologize and refrain from promoting any other clergy involved in a same-sex union.

Tuesday

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Brazil, Colombia, Chile and El Salvador, through April 30.

Wednesday

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on how vulnerable the United States is to a chemical attack.

Thursday

President Bush meets in Washington with Panama's president, Martin Torrijos.

A United Methodist Church court meeting in Linthicum hears an appeal on defrocking the Rev. Beth Stroud of Pennsylvania for telling her congregation that she is in a lesbian relationship.

Saturday

The 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, which marked the end of the Vietnam War. U.S. dead in Vietnam during the era of direct U.S. involvement (1961-72) numbered more than 50,000; South Vietnamese, more than 400,000; and Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, over 900,000.

LOOKING BACK

The World

Pope Benedict XVI, selected in a two-day deliberation by the Catholic Church's cardinals to succeed Pope John Paul II, outlined an agenda that he described as being based on the legacy of his predecessor, saying he wanted to strengthen and unify Christianity throughout the world even as he seeks dialogue with leaders of other religions. The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany said the church's priorities will include attention to youth and carrying out reforms set by the Second Vatican Council.

Condoleezza Rice, making her first visit to Russia as secretary of state, met with top Russian leaders to stress U.S. hopes that the Kremlin will hew closer to democratic ideals such as the rule of law and independent news media. Rice's visit to Moscow comes as concerns in the Bush administration run high over recent signs that the Kremlin is bent on concentrating power, including President Vladimir V. Putin's decision last year to abolish the election of governors and have them appointed by the Kremlin.

The Nation

The House voted to allow oil drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge as part of a broad energy bill that Democrats said would funnel billions of dollars to highly profitable energy companies while doing little to promote conservation or ease gasoline prices. The bill's sponsors said oil from Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as much as a million barrels a day, will be needed to help curtail the country's growing dependence on oil imports. The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where similar proposals have failed in recent years.

Democrats rejected an offer by the Republican chairman of the House ethics committee to open an investigation of Republican leader Tom DeLay -- if Democrats agree to end a stalemate over rules changes they say circumvent the policing of lawmakers. The Democrats portrayed the move as a tactic aimed at easing the pressure on DeLay, who is under fire over questions about his travel, fund raising and relationships with lobbyists.

Amtrak's high-speed Acela Express trains, sidelined by cracks in the brake system, will not be back on the tracks until sometime this summer, and it is not clear when the service can be fully restored, an Amtrak executives said at a news conference in Washington. A shortage of replacement parts from the train's manufacturer, along with uncertainty over how quickly more can be manufactured and delivered, make it unclear when repairs can be completed, Amtrak President David Gunn said.

The nomination of John R. Bolton to be United Nations ambassador stalled as senators sought information from former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin and two current intelligence officials in their review of whether Bolton abused his authority and misled a Senate committee. The White House vigorously defended Bolton and predicted he will be confirmed despite cracks in support from Republican senators concerned that Bolton has a short fuse and a pattern of mistreating co-workers.

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