Looking Back

September 11, 2005

The World

An investigation of the Iraq oil-for-food program faults U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Security Council and some U.N. member states for "egregious lapses" that allowed corruption and incompetence to cripple the operation, according to a preface of the final conclusions. The Independent Inquiry Committee's report criticizes Annan and the Security Council for a failure of leadership in the overall management of the program.

Iraq's president said that Saddam Hussein had confessed to killings and other crimes committed while he was president. President Jalal Talabani told Iraqi television that he had been informed by an investigating judge that the judge "was able to extract confessions from Saddam's mouth" about crimes "such as executions" that the ousted leader had ordered. Hussein is to go on trial Oct. 19 for his suspected role in the massacre of 143 people in Dujail, a town north of Baghdad, in 1982.

The United Nations has encouraged some nonessential staff to leave Afghanistan amid security concerns ahead of Sept. 18 elections, and the government warned aid workers that they were likely targets after a string of assaults on foreigners. Insurgents launched a spate of strikes last weekend, sparking fierce battles that killed a district police chief, seven officers, an election candidate and three others, officials said. More than 1,100 people have been killed in the past six months, and U.S. military commanders believe the violence may worsen as rebels step up attacks with legislative elections just a week away.

The Nation

An estimated 10,000 workers who lost their jobs because of Hurricane Katrina filed for unemployment benefits last week. The Labor Department said that the 10,000 figure was an estimate of the number of disaster-related claims based on spot checks with claims offices in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and neighboring states such as Texas that have agreed to accept benefit applications from workers who have relocated from the hurricane areas. The department predicted the number of disaster-related claims will rise sharply in the coming week.

President Bush selected Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to be chief justice of the United States, elevating a well-regarded nominee who already appeared to be on a smooth path to the Supreme Court. The move, two days after the death of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, opened a new chapter in Bush's drive to reshape the judiciary with conservatives whose decisions could have sweeping consequences on such issues as abortion rights and the limits of government power. Bush said he wanted the Senate to confirm the 50-year-old U.S. appeals court judge in time for him to lead the Supreme Court when its new term begins next month.

A grand jury has indicted a political action committee formed by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and a Texas business group in connection with 2002 legislative campaign contributions. There were five felony indictments against the two groups. Neither DeLay nor any individuals with the business group has been charged with any wrongdoing.

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