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Week in Review
Scripps Howard News Service


February 25, 2006

Bombing of shrine escalates Iraqi violence

The bombing Wednesday of the 1,200-year-old Askariya shrine ignited intense violence throughout Iraq and renewed tensions between the Shiite majority and Sunni minority. More than 100 people died in the two-day aftermath, including the execution-style killings of 47 civilians forced off a bus near Baghdad. Sunni leaders claimed more than 150 of their mosques were attacked throughout Iraq and 25 imams were killed or abducted in reprisal. At least 11 U.S. troops died. Violence subsided Friday when authorities imposed a rare daylight curfew.

Arab bid for U.S. ports starts firestorm




Disclosure that the Bush administration gave approval for a United Arab Emirates firm to take over six U.S. seaports put the White House on a collision course with an angry and unified Congress. Critics complained that the UAE government controls Dubai Ports World and should not operate the shipping terminals in Baltimore, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Newark, N.J., and Philadelphia. The White House announced Thursday that the company agreed to delay assuming control of the ports, defusing an immediate showdown with Congress.

U.S. athletes stumble at 2006 Winter Olympics

Personified by two stumbles that cost U.S. star Sasha Cohen a gold medal in women's figure skating Thursday, American athletes have suffered unexpected defeats throughout the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Failures among American ski and skating teams guarantee that the United States won't come close to its haul of 34 medals at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City - an American record in a Winter Olympiad. Speedskater Joey Cheek, who took the gold in the 500-meter and silver in the 1,000-meter races, was elected by the U.S. team to carry the American flag during the closing ceremony Sunday night. "I feel like I'm not really worthy," Cheek said.

Libby challenges legality of his prosecution

Former vice-presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Thursday challenged the legal authority of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald in a bid to have his indictment tossed out in the CIA-leak investigation. Libby lawyers argued that Fitzgerald did not follow normal Justice Department procedures when subpoenaing reporters and offering immunity to witnesses.

Talks stall on Iran nuclear deal

Russia's efforts to de-escalate Western tensions with Tehran by offering to enrich uranium for Iran's growing nuclear energy program stalled Monday. Iranian officials continued to claim it has only peaceful intentions, but moved slowly in reacting to Russian initiatives for a compromise. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said negotiations were in a "current blind alley."

Harvard president resigns after stormy tenure

Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers resigned his five-year presidency of Harvard University Tuesday after facing a second vote of no-confidence by the powerful Faculty of Arts and Sciences and pressure from the governors of the Harvard Corp. He began his reign with promises of reform for the 370-year-old institution. "I personally had become a large issue and concluded, very reluctantly, that the agenda for the university that I cared about ... would be best served by stepping down," Summers said.

Four charged with stealing body parts in New York

In a case prosecutors dubbed "like something out of a cheap horror movie," the owner of a medical-supply firm and a Brooklyn funeral-home owner were among four people charged Thursday with illegally selling body parts from cadavers sent to funeral homes in the New York metro area. Prosecutors said among the hundreds of bodies improperly used in the scheme was that of Alistair Cooke, nationally known as the host of "Masterpiece Theatre" on PBS, who died in 2004.

Philippines president claims overcoming a coup attempt

Beleaguered Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced a state of emergency Friday, claiming she had quashed a coup intended to topple her government. Arroyo faces widespread criticism on charges of corruption and voting fraud. Her actions came on the 20th anniversary of the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos and 15 years since the toppling of President Joseph Estrada's government.

Resume scandal pulls plug on RadioShack chief

RadioShack President David J. Edmondson resigned Monday following questions about the educational degrees he reported on his resume. Edmondson, 46, indicated he had degrees in theology and psychology from Pacific Coast Baptist College, although the school has never had a psychology degree program and reported Edmondson attended only two semesters.

Refusals by doctors stall California execution

The refusal by two anesthesiologists at San Quentin State Prison to participate in a death sentence prompted California officials Tuesday to indefinitely delay execution of Michael Angelo Morales, convicted for the rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl. Morales' attorneys argued that the mixture of three drugs intended to terminate his life would cause "excruciating pain" unless he was fully sedated.

White House recommends changes after Katrina failures

The White House completed its review of the sluggish federal response to Hurricane Katrina Thursday, calling for 125 reforms to be implemented before the next hurricane season. Although not a critical as a House report issued last week, the White House review blamed poor communications, supply delays and confusion at the top levels of the Bush administration.

FBI objected to prisoner treatment at Guantanamo

FBI agents complained of "aggressive techniques" used to interrogate suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to FBI documents released Thursday. One agent said he saw military interrogators force a detainee to watch "homosexual porn movies" and used strobe lights to cause discomfort in the interrogation room. Agents complained that such methods could "result in the elicitation of unreliable and legally inadmissible information."

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Ketchikan, Alaska