By THOMAS HARGROVE
Scripps Howard News Service
February 10, 2006
Violent Muslim demonstrations in protest of European newspaper cartoons of the prophet Muhammad continued around the globe this week. Kenyan police shot a demonstrator while trying to stop hundreds of protesters from storming the home of the Danish ambassador. Denmark advised its citizens to leave Indonesia after its embassy was stormed by a mob and pelted with eggs. The Danish embassy in Beirut was torched.
'Brownie' swings back at former bosses
Disgraced former federal emergency chief Michael Brown told senators that White House and Homeland Security Department officials knew immediately when the New Orleans' levees were breached by Hurricane Katrina last year, raising new questions over the slow federal response to the disaster that claimed more than 1,300 lives. "For them to claim that we didn't have awareness of it is just baloney," Brown said.
Cheney ordered release of secrets, Libby said
Former vice-presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby had told a federal grand jury that Dick Cheney authorized him to give reporters information from the usually classified National Intelligence Estimate in 2003. The release, disclosed this week in court papers filed by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, was made to justify the administration's decision to invade Iraq.
Senators reach Patriot Act pact
Republican senators reached an agreement on several key compromises intended to clear the stalled reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Among the changes are guarantees that libraries will not be subject to secret FBI demands for records and the elimination of a gag rule for people who've been subpoenaed in terrorist investigations. One Democratic senator, Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, has threatened to filibuster the bill.
Abramoff details White House meetings
Convicted influence peddler Jack Abramoff said he had nearly a dozen conversations with President Bush, increasing apparent White House connections in the lobbying scandal. Abramoff, in an e-mail to Washingtonian magazine made public this week, said Bush "joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids." The White House has refused to release photographs of Abramoff and Bush together. "I frankly don't even remember having my picture taken with the guy," Bush said last month. "I don't know him."
Two more victims of bird flu
Two women died in China and Indonesia after handling poultry and contracting a deadly bird-flu strain, officials with the World Health Organization reported. At least 88 people have perished from the new disease. Also, Nigeria reported the first known bird-flu outbreak in Africa among fowl, prompting health workers to go door-to-door immunizing children and warning adults to watch for any fatalities from pneumonia-like symptoms. Authorities fear a pandemic if the flu mutates into a form that can be transmitted from one person to another.
King funeral turns into Bush roast
President Bush and three predecessors assembled in Lithonia, Ga., for a six-hour funeral for Coretta Scott King, praised as the first lady of the civil-rights movement. Many of the speakers took swipes at Bush and the war in Iraq. Former President Jimmy Carter got a standing ovation from the audience when he complained about FBI violations of the privacy of King and her late husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King. "They became the targets of secret government wiretapping and other surveillance," Carter said.
White House will listen to wiretap proposals
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appeared before a skeptical Senate Judiciary Committee to defend the White House's authorization of warrantless surveillance of international telephone calls and e-mails. "The president does not have a blank check," said Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa. Gonzales said President Bush will consider congressional proposals to formally authorize the wiretaps. "We'll listen to your ideas," he said.
Steelers win large in Super Bowl
The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL. Hines Ward was named the game's most valuable player, and photographs of him kissing the cherished Vince Lombardi Trophy appeared on front pages nationwide. Seahawk supporters complained bitterly about officiating.
Three convicted in deadly smuggling case
Three people were convicted in a Houston court for conspiracy and harboring and transporting illegal immigrants after the deaths of 19 immigrants who were packed into a stifling tractor-trailer rig. It was the nation's deadliest act of human smuggling. Victor Sanchez Rodriguez, 58, his wife, Emma Sapata Rodriguez, 59, and her half-sister, Rosa Sarrata Gonzalez, face up to 20 years in prison.
Arson damages more Alabama churches
Fires damaged or destroyed four more Baptist churches in three rural Alabama counties, less than a week after five suspected arson attacks against houses of worship in Bibb County. Officials with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assigned more than 50 agents to investigate the fires. "This is our No. 1 priority nationally," a federal spokesman said.
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