By THOMAS HARGROVE
Scripps Howard News Service
March 17, 2007
Suspected terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed bragged to a special military review panel in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that he was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, planned 30 more around the world and that he, personally, beheaded U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl. The Pentagon Wednesday night released a censored 26-page transcript of the confessions made during a closed-door hearing late last week. "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Mohammed said. The military is holding a series of hearings to determine if 14 terrorist suspects can be held indefinitely.
Gonzales admits mistakes in purge of U.S. prosecutors
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales admitted Tuesday that "mistakes were made" in the Justice Department's firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year, but vowed he would not resign amid the growing furor. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to prepare subpoenas, if necessary, to compel five Justice officials and six of the fired prosecutors to testify whether politics was involved in the dismissals. Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire became the first Republican to say publicly that Gonzales should step down. Kyle Sampson, Gonzales' chief of staff, quit this week.
Pentagon chief regrets anti-gay remark
Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace said he regrets his remark that homosexuality is immoral. "I should have focused more on my support of the policy and less on my personal moral views," Pace said. In an interview Monday with the Chicago Tribune, Pace said he supports the Pentagon's current "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gays, although the military is not "well served by saying through our policies that it's OK to be immoral in any way." Gay-rights groups and several prominent members of Congress, including Republicans, criticized the Marine general's comment as insensitive.
Hamas and Fatah unite in a Palestinian government
Once-feuding Hamas and Fatah political movements formed a unity government Thursday, apparently ending months of bloody infighting that isolated Palestine and enraged Israel. According to the new government's platform posted on the Internet, Palestinians agree to show "respect" for previous peace agreements, but stopped well short of recognizing Israel's right to exist, a key condition sought by the United States and Israel. Instead, the Palestinian leaders vowed to "defend themselves against any Israeli aggression."
India's rebels kill 49 police officers
Heavily armed pro-communist rebels attacked a police post in eastern India Thursday, using gasoline bombs to kill at least 49 officers. The increasingly bold rebel movement led an attack on a garrison of 79 policemen guarding a remote jungle post 930 miles southeast of New Delhi. A dozen officers were wounded in the attack. Insurgents used land mines to kill 25 villagers in Chattisgarh a year ago and seized control of a passenger train for half a day in neighboring Jharkhand.
Worldwide stocks plummet after Wall Street's decline
Global stock markets had a hard week following Tuesday's huge sell-off on Wall Street caused by domestic investors' fears that stresses for sub-prime lenders and slackening retail sales could foreshadow a new recession. U.S. markets declined 2 percent in total value Tuesday. Following suit was a 500-point loss, or nearly 3 percent of value, at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and similar losses in Hong Kong, India and the Philippines. European markets also dropped, although not as dramatically.
Bush ends Latin tour in Mexico
President Bush ended his five-nation Latin American tour Wednesday by promising Mexican authorities he'd seek immigration reforms from Congress. Mexican President Felipe Calderon criticized Bush for supporting plans to build a 700-mile fence along the Mexican border. As it had in the other four nations, violence erupted when hundreds of demonstrators marched on the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City to protest Bush's policies. One banner declared that the president should "Go to Hell."
GM reports profits after 2006's record loss
General Motors Corp. reported a fourth-quarter profit of $950 million last year, a major turnaround from record $6.6 billion losses a year ago. It signaled early success of the massive overhaul at the world's biggest automaker, closing plants and offering buyouts to employees. GM said it lost $2 billion during all of 2006 compared to a $10.4 billion loss in 2005. Chief Financial Officer Fritz Henderson refused to predict the company will continue to be profitable this year, but said he expects 2007 to be a generally better year than last year.
Former CIA operative testifies
After four years of silence since her secret identity became public, ex-CIA spook Valerie Plame told Congress Friday that the Bush administration "carelessly and recklessly" blew her cover in a politically motivated attempt to discredit her husband, former diplomat Joe Wilson. The revelation of Plame's name in a 2003 newspaper column about Wilson's CIA-sponsored fact-finding trip to Niger, which resulted in the debunking of the administration's contention that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium there, led to the March 6 perjury and obstruction of justice conviction of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Denying she had recommended her husband for the Niger mission, Plame said her unmasking ruined her career and may have put others in danger.
Anti-Iraq war demonstrators take to streets
Tens of thousands of Iraq war opponents descended on Washington for Saturday's demonstration to protest the Iraq war and mark the 40th anniversary of the pivotal 1967 anti-Vietnam War march on the Pentagon. In smaller numbers, Iraq war supporters also converged on Washington in what they called their largest counterdemonstration to date.
Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.scrippsnews.com
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