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The Week In Review
Scripps Howard News Service


January 07, 2006

Mine explosion kills 12

A coal-mine explosion in West Virginia trapped 13 miners. More than 42 hours later, all but one was found dead. Officials said most of the miners survived the blast, but died as they tried to escape carbon-monoxide poisoning. The miners' families were mistakenly told at first that 12 of the men were alive. They didn't learn the truth until three hours later. The only survivor, Randal McCloy, was the youngest of the trapped miners. It was the nation's deadliest coal-mining disaster in more than four years.

Sharon suffers stroke

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke that caused extensive bleeding in his brain. Physicians said even if the 77-year-old prime minister survives, it appeared unlikely he would recover sufficiently to return to politics. The former army general has received international praise for ordering the withdrawal of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip last year after 38 years of Israeli occupation.

Divine punishment, Robertson says

Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested that Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for "dividing God's land." On his TV program, "The 700 Club," Robertson said, "God considers this land to be his. You read the Bible and he says 'This is my land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, 'No, this is mine.' " The White House criticized Robertson, calling his remarks "wholly inappropriate and offensive."

Violent week in Iraq

Violence throughout Iraq killed more than 150 people, mostly Shiite civilians. A suicide bombing in the Shiite holy city of Karbala killed at least 50 people, and insurgents killed at least 70 people in Ramadi in another suicide attack. The attacks strained talks to forge a new coalition government in Iraq.

Abramoff pleads guilty

Once-powerful lobbyist Jack Abramoff sent chills through the Capitol by pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud and agreeing to cooperate in an influence-peddling investigation. The probe threatens powerful members of Congress. In court, Abramoff agreed with federal Judge Ellen Huvelle when she said he had engaged in a conspiracy involving "corruption of public officials."

China frees journalist

A Chinese journalist who was jailed for reporting on corruption was freed before President Hu Jintao's planned visit to the United States. The journalist, Jiang Weiping, was released with one year remaining on his sentence. Hu is to visit the United States early this year, and Beijing frequently releases prominent political prisoners in connection with official contacts with the United States.

Rhode Island legalizes medical pot

Rhode Island became the 11th state to legalize medical marijuana. The state House overrode a veto by Gov. Don Carcieri, 59-13, allowing people with illnesses such as cancer and AIDS to grow up to 12 marijuana plants or buy 2.5 ounces of marijuana to relieve their symptoms. Rhode Island was the first state to legalize medical marijuana since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that patients who use the drug can still be prosecuted under federal law.

Cheney defends eavesdropping

Vice President Dick Cheney defended the White House's secret domestic eavesdropping operation. He insisted the program has helped prevent potential terror attacks and does not violate American civil liberties. "The enemy that struck on 9/11 is weakened and fractured yet it is still lethal and planning to hit us again. Either we are serious about fighting this war or we are not," Cheney said in a speech.

Lou Rawls dies

Singer Lou Rawls died of cancer at age 72. He recorded such classic tunes as "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" and "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing" and won three Grammys.

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Ketchikan, Alaska