By THOMAS HARGROVE
Scripps Howard News Service
June 11, 2006
Acting on tips from within the al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist group, the U.S. military located and killed the most wanted man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, by dropping two 500-pound precision bombs on his meeting place Wednesday night. "Now Zarqawi has met his end, and this violent man will never murder again," President Bush said. The terrorist group quickly put out a statement vowing to continue its insurgency, and five bombs were set off shortly after al-Zarqawi's death, killing at least 31 people. "Whenever there is a new al-Zarqawi, we will kill him," vowed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Wall Street tumbles after Bernanke promises inflation fight
A remark by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday that the Fed will remain vigilant in fighting inflation prompted a broad three-day sell-off on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial average fell more than 400 points before beginning a modest rally mid-day Thursday. Bernanke told an international monetary conference that core inflation has risen to an annual rate of 3.2 percent even as economic growth seems to be slowing. "These are unwelcome developments," he said. Investors fear the Fed will begin a new round of interest hikes to combat inflation.
Hamas vows to end truce with Israel
Hamas' military wing announced Friday it will end its truce with Israel after seven Palestinian civilians, including three children, were killed by an Israeli artillery strike. "The earthquake in the Zionist towns will start again," the group said in leaflets distributed around the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military said it had tried to fire upon suspected Palestinian rocket-launchers, but instead the artillery hit a family picnic along a Gaza beach instead. Israel and the Palestinians declared the truce in February 2005, and Hamas generally has abided by the cease-fire.
Congress hikes penalties for broadcast indecency
The next time a television network broadcasts a so-called "wardrobe malfunction" like Janet Jackson's performance at the 2004 Super Bowl, broadcasters will face fines of up to $325,000 per incident. Congress on Wednesday gave overwhelming final approval for a tenfold increase in penalties for indecency. The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act does not affect cable or satellite shows, however. President Bush praised the law because it "will make television and radio more family-friendly."
Senate questions FBI probe of Anderson's files
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday raised new questions about FBI attempts to obtain the files of the late columnist Jack Anderson. During his 50-year career as a Washington muckraker, Anderson broke significant stories, including details of the Iran-Contra scandal and the CIA's bungled attempts to assassinate Cuba's Fidel Castro. Attorney Kevin Anderson, the columnist's son, testified that the family is prepared to face contempt citations rather than yield 200 boxes of papers. The FBI maintains that some of the files contain classified material.
Tom DeLay takes parting shots in farewell House speech
Former House GOP leader Tom Delay lashed out at his liberal opponents during his farewell address to the House on Thursday in a fiery speech that prompted walkouts by two-dozen Democrats. He praised partisanship as a tool that "clarifies our debates," and criticized Democrats for seeking bigger government, greater taxation and more control of individual "lives and decisions and wallets." The 11-term Texas Republican is leaving Congress amid campaign-money-laundering charges back home and the widening Abramoff influence scandal in Washington.
Senate rejects gay-marriage ban, again
Amid complaints of election-year politics, the Senate on Wednesday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage on a 49-48 vote, well shy of the necessary two-thirds majority. The proposal received only one vote more than it got in 2004. President Bush called for the amendment as a necessary tool to stop state courts from legalizing such marriages. "We're not going to stop until marriage between a man and a woman is protected," said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
Iranians agree to nuclear discussions
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday his country would discuss "mutual concerns" with Western nations over Iran's nuclear-enrichment program. But he refused to suspend the program as a precursor to negotiations. The United States and its allies had called for a prolonged moratorium on uranium enrichment, a first step in the production of nuclear weapons, but later backed off on the requirement. Iranian officials this week praised the package of incentives offered if Iran shuts down the nuclear program.
European report says 14 nations aided secret prison program
A report to the Council of Europe on Wednesday accused 14 European nations of colluding with the CIA in a "spider's web" of human-rights violations through the abduction and secret imprisonment of suspected terrorists. Swiss senator Dick Marty reported that CIA-run aircraft apparently dropped off detainees in Romania and Poland, suspected sites for clandestine prisons. Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz called the report "slander" that is "not based on any facts."
Canadians arrest 17 in alleged plot against Parliament
Canadian authorities this week released details about an alleged plot by 17 Muslims to storm the Canadian Parliament, behead the prime minister and other officials, and seize control of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. One of the chief suspects is Steven Vikash Chand, 25, a restaurant worker from Toronto. Defense attorneys quickly accused the government of "fearmongering." The Muslims were arrested late last week, police said, after the group acquired 3 tons of ammonium nitrate, the same material used to build the fertilizer bomb that destroyed Oklahoma City's federal building in 1995.
Mixed-identity victim's remains exhumed in Michigan
The remains of Laura VanRyn, 22, were exhumed Tuesday so they could be reburied under a correct tombstone in a heart-rending case of mistaken identity. Medical authorities thought VanRyn's body was that of another young woman, Whitney Cerak, who bore a striking resemblance to her. Both were in an April 26 van crash in Indiana. Cerak actually survived, but Cerak's family was told she had perished and was given VanRyn's body for burial.
Expectant mothers worry about the 'mark of the beast'
Doctors were urged by expectant mothers around the country to prevent their children from being born on Tuesday - the sixth day in the sixth month in the sixth year of the 21st century, or 6-6-6. The Book of Revelations reports that 666 is the "mark of the beast," meaning the Antichrist. Since nearly a quarter of all U.S. births are performed by C-section and many others happen through artificial induction, doctors said births often could be delayed upon the mother's request.