By BILL STRAUB
Scripps Howard News Service
June 17, 2005
Iraq deaths hit 1,700
The number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq shot over the 1,700 mark this week, the worst day coming on Thursday when five Marines were killed by insurgents in a bomb attack in the city of Ramadi. On Tuesday a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of Iraqi retirees looking to collect their benefits, killing 22.
Another Iraq memo
Another pesky Downing Street memo has been unveiled, this one provided to Prime Minister Tony Blair by his cabinet office. It maintains the United States was "virtually silent" on potential problems facing post-war Iraq during the planning of the invasion.
The Shiite-dominated committee drafting Iraq's new constitution, after weeks of deadlock, reached a deal with Sunni Arabs on Thursday regarding the number of representatives the minority will have on the body drafting the nation's charter.
Quakes in California
California was hit with four notable earthquakes during the week. The strongest was a magnitude-7.2 quake that rumbled to life Tuesday under the ocean 90 miles off Northern California.
Storm dies down
Tropical storm Arlene, expected to become the first hurricane of the season, petered out once it hit the Gulf Coast. But it still packed a pretty good wallop, bringing sheets of rain and 20-foot waves to the area.
Two new ballparks
Unable to attract the necessary support to build a stadium on the city's west side to attract the 2012 Olympics, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg stepped forward to offer plans to build a new ballpark in Queens for the Mets and one in the Bronx for the Yankees.
Schiavo autopsy released
An autopsy of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman who became a cause celebre earlier this year when her husband made the decision to cut off her feeding tube, determined that her brain had shriveled to half its normal size and no treatment could have improved her condition.
Africans seek aid
The leaders of five African democracies met with President Bush on Tuesday seeking an accelerated effort to speed U.S. aid to their beleaguered nations. Bush promised to push ahead.
Bolton still waiting
Anyone looking for word that John Bolton finally has been confirmed as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, well, you can go back to what you were doing. Democrats continued their efforts to block the vote, maintaining the Bush administration hasn't provided pertinent information it has requested. Republicans will try to break the filibuster again next week.
Patriot Act changed
In a bit of a surprise, the House on Wednesday voted to block a provision in the USA Patriot Act, adopted in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack, that permits federal investigators to check a person's library withdrawals and book purchases without first obtaining a warrant, much to the chagrin of President Bush. "Congress has begun to hear that civil liberties and privacy issues are important to Americans," said Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who led the fight against the provision.
Unions form coalition
Five labor unions critical of AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, led by the Service Employees International Union, are forming a coalition aimed at unionizing a large number of workers - something they maintain Sweeney has failed to do. The SEIU, which, ironically, was once led by Sweeney, is threatening to withdraw from the nation's largest labor organization.
Purcell leaves Morgan Stanley
Philip Purcell announced plans to step down as CEO of Morgan Stanley after a series of well-publicized internal and external squabbles at the venerable investment house. The 61-year-old Purcell will remain until a successor is named.
At the conclusion of a three-month trial that contained enough lurid moments to fill a hundred Jackie Collins corset busters, a jury in Santa Maria, Calif., acquitted Michael Jackson on child molestation charges on Monday, sending thousands of supporters moonwalking in the street. Civilization survives.
Jackson returns to Lakers
Hell having froze over, Phil Jackson on Tuesday announced his attention to return next year as coach of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, a team he abandoned after the 2003-2004 season because, among other things, he couldn't get along with the team's star, Kobe Bryant. The $10 million Jackson is expected to pocket next year might have had something to do with it.
New fastest human
Asafa Powell of Jamaica now carries the honorary title of world's fastest human, running the hundred meters in the world-record time of 9.77 seconds at the Tsiklitiria Super Grand Prix in Athens, Greece, on Tuesday.
Carlo Maria Giulini
Carlo Maria Giulini, who as a young man came under the spell of maestro Arturo Toscanini and went on to become a giant among conductors in the 20th century, died Tuesday in Brescia in northern Italy. He was 91.
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