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A look at the week's news
Scripps Howard News Service


May 01, 2005


Conservatives rally against filibuster

Conservative activists rallied at the Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., attacking Senate Democrats for using a filibuster to waylay some of President Bush's nominees to the federal judiciary. Speakers said nominees were being rejected because of their strongly held religious beliefs. Senate Republican leader Bill Frist of Tennessee sent a videotape to the event, saying the nominees deserved an up-or-down vote. "Five black-robed justices on the Supreme Court can tell us how it's gonna be," said James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family. "They're not gods. They don't do everything right. ... For 43 years, the court has been on a campaign to limit religious liberty."

Bush meets with Saudi prince

Bush hosted Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah at his Crawford, Texas, ranch on Monday, with the president pressing his guest to increase oil production, a move intended to cut historically high gas prices. "A high oil price will damage markets, and he knows that," Bush told reporters.

Bolton still on the hot seat

The fate of John Bolton's nomination as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations remained clouded as investigators look into claims that he abused subordinates and inflated intelligence data while serving in the State Department to serve his own purposes. A Senate vote is expected in May.

Social Security discussed

The Senate Finance Committee finally kicked off its debate Tuesday over Bush's plans to overhaul the Social Security system, with Democrats continuing to insist they will block any proposal than includes the creation of private accounts.

House changes ethics rules

Under pressure, House Republicans reversed course on Wednesday and reinstated the old rules governing the House ethics committee, opening the door to a probe into the activities of House Republican leader Tom DeLay of Texas. Democrats had refused to participate in committee business, asserting that the changes made it more difficult to conduct investigations. "I am willing to step back,'' said House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois.

Bush expands on Social Security

Bush used a primetime, nationally televised press conference on Thursday to express support for a means-tested Social Security system where those in the lower economic strata receive greater benefits than wealthier retirees. Bush said the plan would address 70 percent of the system's solvency problem. Critics noted that it would cut into anticipated middle-class retirement benefits. "If you work hard and pay into Social Security your entire life, you will not retire into poverty," Bush said.

Budget passed

The House and Senate both voted Thursday to pass a compromise, $2.56 trillion budget that includes tax cuts and opens the door to oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, long a controversial matter. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who opposed the measure, called it "an assault on our values."

Compromise nixed

Frist offered a compromise Thursday that he said was intended to give all of Bush's nominees to the federal appeals courts and the Supreme Court a floor vote without changing the upper chamber's filibuster rule. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada called the plan "a big, wet kiss to the far right."


Alleged mobsters arrested

The FBI arrested 14 reputed mobsters in Chicago, the home of Al Capone, in connection with 18 unsolved murders over the past four decades. Among those nabbed: Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo and Frank "Gumba" Saladino. "After so many years, it lifts the veil of secrecy and exposes the violent underworld of organized crime," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said of the investigation.

Mayor steps down

San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy resigned Monday in the wake of a probe into city finances.

Weld considering a job

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, a Republican, is thinking about seeking the title of governor again _ this time in New York.

Buffalo captured

Some buffalo escaped from a Baltimore County, Md., farm on Tuesday and it turned out they decided to roam in an upscale subdivision. The beasts, nine in all, were corralled in a tennis court and subsequently led back from whence they came.

Woodpecker found

Naturalists reported the spotting of an ivory-billed woodpecker, long feared extinct, in the bayous of the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas. Upon first sighting the bird in February 2004, Bobby Harrison, of Oakwood College in Huntsville, Ala., began sobbing. "I saw an ivory bill," he said over and over again.

Jackson's ex testifies

Debbie Rowe, the ex-wife of singer Michael Jackson and the mother of two of his children, testified in his child-molestation trial in California, saying he was "generous to a fault, good father, great with kids."


Pope Benedict XVI installed

A Mass was conducted in St. Peter's Square on Sunday April 24 when Benedict XVI was officially installed as the 265th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. "And the church is young," the pope told about 350,000 spectators as he stood outside St. Peter's Basilica. "She holds within herself the future of the world and therefore shows each of us the way toward the future."

Train crashes in Japan

A high-speed Japanese commuter train carrying hundreds of passengers crashed in Amagasaki on Monday, killing at least 71. The train was running 90 seconds behind schedule, and investigators think speed played a role.

Syria departs

Syria withdrew the remainder of its troops from Lebanon on Tuesday, ending its military presence of 29 years under pressure from the United States, France and the United Nations.

Italians protest findings

Italy reacted angrily Tuesday to a report that absolved U.S. troops of any responsibility in the shooting of journalist Giuliana Sgrena at an Iraqi checkpoint. An Italian intelligence agent, Nicola Calipari, was killed in the incident.

Iraqi legislator killed

Sheikha Lameah Khaddouri al-Sakri, one of 87 women chosen to serve in Iraq's 275-member National Assembly, was gunned down Wednesday in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad.

Blair warned

With British parliamentary elections looming, Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, released documents on Wednesday indicating that Prime Minister Tony Blair was warned that his country's entry into the war in Iraq could be found illegal absent additional authorization from the United Nations. Blair proceeded despite the warning.

Gaza protests

Thousands took to the streets in Gaza on Wednesday to protest the Israeli government's plan to evacuate the strip this summer, part of the road map for peace in the Middle East.

Iraq finalizes government

After months of wrangling, Iraq's National Assembly on Thursday voted in favor of a Shiite-led Cabinet, thus setting the stage for the first elected government in Iraq's history. Sunni leaders complained of being left out.

Putin visits Israel

President Vladimir Putin became the first Russian leader to visit Israel, meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Thursday in an effort to diffuse concerns that his country's nuclear assistance to Iran endangers Israel's security.


Ex-chief testifies

Dennis Kozlowski, the one-time CEO of Tyco International, took the stand in his own defense on Wednesday. He told jurors in New York that he was innocent of charges that he stole $150 million from the conglomerate by improperly forgiving company loans to himself. An earlier trial ended in a hung jury. "I never intended to commit any crime at all while I was chief executive officer at Tyco," Kozlowski said.

Economy slows

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the nation's gross domestic product grew at a rate of 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2005 _ significantly lower than the 3.8 percent recorded during the final three months of 2004.


Earl Wilson

Earl Wilson, 70, who pitched in the 1968 World Series for the Detroit Tigers, died Saturday, April 23, in Southfield, Mich.

Johnny Sample, 67, who intercepted a pass while playing for the New York Jets in Super Bowl III, died in Philadelphia on Monday.

Mason Adams, best known for portraying the amiable managing editor of a newspaper on the television show "Lou Grant," died in New York on Tuesday. He was 86.


Reports from Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post.


E-mail Bill Straub at StraubB(at)

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