By BILL STRAUB
Scripps Howard News Service
June 24, 2005
Death toll hits 1,730
The number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq since March 2003 has reached 1,730. On Thursday, a suicide car bomber slammed into a U.S. convoy in Fallujah, killing at least two Marines. Three Marines and a sailor were listed as missing after the attack. Another 13 Marines were wounded in the Thursday-night bombing.
Anti-Syria slate wins
Lebanon, free of Syrian occupation for the first time in three decades, elected on Sunday a decidedly anti-Syria parliament. The victorious alliance was led by Saad Hariri, the son of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, whose assassination four months ago led to Syria's departure.
Israel, Palestinians agree
Israel and the Palestinian Authority reached agreement over the demolition of 1,600 houses currently occupied by Israeli settlers in the Gaza Strip, which is slated to be transferred to the Palestinians. Israel will demolish the residences while Palestinians get paid to clean up the resulting mess.
Rice confronts leaders
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confronted leaders in Egypt and Saudi Arabia on Monday, challenging them to embrace democracy, conduct free elections and release political prisoners.
Biden wants in
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., announced that he intends to seek his party's presidential nomination in 2008. "If, in fact, I think I have a clear shot at winning the nomination by this November or December, then I'm going to seek the nomination," Biden said on the CBS Sunday-morning program "Face the Nation." Biden flamed out in a White House bid in 1988.
Bolton still out
John Bolton is still on the outside looking in. Democrats continued to block his nomination to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, complaining that the Bush administration has refused to provide what they consider key documents.
Senate Republican leader Bill Frist of Tennessee originally said no more votes were planned in the confirmation process, but acknowledged later that he had misspoken after the White House told him he had.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., apologized Wednesday for remarks made on the Senate floor earlier in the week equating the U.S. military's alleged abuse of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with Nazi tactics. "Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," Durbin said, at times holding back tears. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."
Durbin wasn't the only Washington official finding himself in hot water. Democrats on Thursday demanded that Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, make amends for remarks he made during a New York Conservative Party dinner Wednesday night. Rove said, among other things, that while conservatives "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war," liberals "wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Rove hasn't apologized.
No timetable offered
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a Senate committee on Thursday that Iraq has "a way to go" before it is prepared to take over military responsibilities from U.S. forces. The secretary also said he opposes congressional calls for a timetable for withdrawing American troops.
Meanwhile, President Bush met Friday with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and told him "there are not going to be any timetables." Bush added, "The enemy's goal is to drive us out of Iraq before the Iraqis have established a secure, democratic government. They will not succeed. Our goal is clear: a democratic and peaceful Iraq that represents all Iraqis."
Fires hit California
Things are a little tense in California, where officials warn that this year's fire season could be the worst in recent memory, aggravated by an infestation of bark beetles that have left millions of trees brittle and dry.
Former Ku Klux Klansman Ray Killen was convicted of manslaughter in a Mississippi court Tuesday for his participation in the killings of three civil-rights workers 41 years ago. The judge sentenced Killen to 60 years in prison. If he serves the entire term, Killen will be 140 years old upon his release.
Boy Scout found
Brennan Hawkins, an 11-year-old Boy Scout, was discovered dazed but unhurt Tuesday after wandering around the Utah wilderness for four days.
Theater chains merge
AMC Entertainment, the nation's No. 2 theater chain, announced plans to merge with its competitor, No. 3 Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp. The company will offer 5,900 screens in 30 states, but it will still trail industry leader Regal Entertainment Group, which has 6,200 screens.
China wants Unocal
The China National Offshore Oil Corp., one of that country's biggest state-run oil firms, has offered $18.5 billion to purchase Unocal, America's ninth-largest producer, based in El Segundo, Calif. The bid marks the first big effort by a Chinese firm to take over an American corporation.
New Zealander prevails
Michael Campbell of New Zealand held off a hard-charging Tiger Woods on Sunday to claim victory in the 105th U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina by two strokes, finishing with an even-par 280.
Spurs take title
Tim Duncan came up big in the second half and Manu Ginobli poured in 23 points Thursday night as the San Antonio Spurs outlasted the Detroit Pistons 81-74 in the seventh and deciding game of the NBA championship. Duncan was selected the series MVP.
J.J. Pickle, a longtime Texas congressman and protege of President Lyndon Johnson, died Sunday at age 91.
Jack Kirby, a Nobel laureate who invented the integrated circuit, leading to the development of the personal computer and launching what has become known as the Information Age, died in Dallas on Monday. He was 81.
Shana Alexander, the first female editor at McCall's and first female staff writer for Life magazine who gained notoriety for her verbal skirmishes with conservative James J. Kilpatrick during the early years of "60 Minutes" on CBS, died of cancer Thursday. She was 79.
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