By THOMAS HARGROVE
Scripps Howard News Service
April 15, 2006
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants, their families and friends staged protest marches in more than a dozen major U.S. cities Sunday and Monday, reacting against congressional proposals that would make illegal entry into the United States a felony. Sporting white clothing and carrying thousands of U.S. flags as well as the banners of their former homes, the demonstrators called on Congress to approve the guest-worker program supported by President Bush and offer a path of citizenship to an estimated 11 million undocumented workers already here. Crowds were estimated up to 500,000 in Dallas, 50,000 each in San Diego and Atlanta, and more than 100,000 on the National Mall in Washington.
Bush defends leak of once-classified information to media
President Bush confirmed Monday that he had declassified a once-sensitive intelligence report on Iraq to counter critics who said he exaggerated Saddam Hussein's nuclear capabilities. A federal prosecutor broke the story last week, reporting that Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, testified he'd been ordered by Bush to release the intelligence report to the media. "I wanted people to see the truth and thought it made sense for people to see the truth," Bush told a crowd at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Generals call for Rumsfeld's resignation
Six recently retired Army generals this month publicly called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, charging incompetence in his handling of the U.S. military occupation of Iraq. "We went to war with a flawed plan," retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste said Friday. He called Rumsfeld arrogant and abusive. President Bush, while on Easter break at Camp David, said Rumsfeld "has my full support and deepest appreciation." Bush said Rumsfeld's "energetic and steady leadership is exactly what is needed at this critical period."
Moussaoui tells jury he has no regret for 9/11 victims
Admitted al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui told a federal jury in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday that he has "no regret, no remorse" for the victims of the 9/11 attacks. He said he is "disgusted" by testimony from people describing the anguish the terrorist attacks caused them and their families. "I'm glad there was pain. I wish there will be more pain," Moussaoui told jurors during the sentencing phase of his trial to determine if he should be executed. Defense attorneys are trying to make an insanity plea.
Italian election defeats U.S. ally Berlusconi
Although the results are being challenged, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi narrowly lost the parliamentary elections held Sunday and Monday. Berlusconi's re-election had been endorsed by President Bush in response to the Italian leader's military support for the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Official returns gave center-leftist politician Romano Prodi, a staunch opponent of U.S. policy, a majority of both houses of parliament, although only by 25,000 votes for the lower Chamber of Deputies.
Sectarian violence in Iraq continues escalation
At least 15 American troops died this week in Iraq as violence between Shiites and Sunnis continues to escalate. The U.S. military increased its patrols in Baghdad, creating new worries about the capability of Iraqi police to maintain order. Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said patrols in the Iraqi capital increased from 12,000 in February to 20,000 last month in order to make a "more visible presence for the security forces in the streets of Baghdad." Attacks on Shiites often are by car- and suicide-bombings, while the bodies of Sunnis often were found in execution-style slayings.
Iran claims uranium-enrichment program
Officials in Tehran on Tuesday announced that Iran has started enriching uranium, a major step toward developing nuclear weapons, in violation of U.N. mandates. The U.N. Security Council set an April 28 deadline for Iran to cease its program. Iran on Thursday rejected a plea by U.N. nuclear agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who traveled to Tehran in hopes of preventing a stalemate between the Tehran government and the United Nations, the European Union and the United States. An Iranian negotiator, while standing next to ElBaradei, said pleas from the West to cease uranium enrichment "are not very important."
Gay families plan to attend White House Easter Egg Roll
Hundreds of gay and lesbian parents were expected to line up Friday evening and Saturday to get free tickets so their children can attend the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. Officials at the National Park Service said that children of all ages may participate, as long as there is at least one child 7 or younger and no more than two adults per group. First lady Laura Bush issued as statement saying all families are welcome to Monday's event. A member of the Family Pride Coalition said her group is not staging a protest. But by showing up at the White House event, gay families are "showing Americans that we do exist."
New questions about past Bush claims about Iraqi weapons
President Bush and his staff continued to claim that trailers seized by U.S. forces after the capture of Baghdad were proof of an Iraqi biological-weapons program long after a panel of nine Pentagon experts concluded the equipment actually was used to generate hydrogen for weather balloons. The Washington Post report Wednesday raised new questions about why Bush claimed the trailers were "biological laboratories" and that "we have found the weapons of mass destruction." The White House later conceded the experts unanimously agreed the trailers were not used for biological weapons.
Hunt is on for Tennessee bear after fatal attack
Authorities began a massive hunt near Benton, Tenn., on Friday after a black bear killed a 6-year-old Ohio girl and seriously injured her mother and 2-year-old brother in an attack in Cherokee National Forest on Thursday. The family's identity was withheld. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency set traps baited with pastries in hopes of capturing the bear to determine if it carried diseases.
Delta reaches deal with pilots union
Pilots and Delta Air Lines officials reached a tentative agreement Friday that could prevent a strike for the struggling carrier, the nation's third-largest. The airline's nearly 6,000 pilots must approve the deal. An arbitration panel earlier had been asked by Delta to cancel the existing contract so that the airline, under federal bankruptcy protection, could make up to $325 million in pay and benefit cuts.
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