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The Week in Review
Scripps Howard News Service


September 03, 2005

Katrina devastates Gulf Coast

Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast with shrieking 145 mph winds and a storm surge that obliterated hundreds of waterfront homes and businesses. More than 100 people were killed in Mississippi. The mayor of New Orleans said possibly thousands of people were dead in his city. Levees broke in New Orleans and swamped the streets. Eighty percent of the below-sea-level city was inundated and rendered uninhabitable for weeks or months. Thousands of people, many trapped on rooftops, were rescued by boat or helicopter. Looters ransacked businesses all along the coast.

Gas prices skyrocket

With the flow of oil disrupted by Katrina, gasoline prices soared past $3 a gallon for the first time in many states. Gas stations, swamped by panicked motorists hoping to top off their tanks, ran out, and "out of gas" signs went up in Atlanta, North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Arizona. For the first time in decades, gas lines appeared in the United States - drivers lined up in Arkansas, Georgia and North Carolina. The federal government tapped the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and suspended clean-air regulations that mandated different blends of gasoline for different states.

Katrina may be most costly natural disaster

Economists said the disaster could cost $25 billion in insured losses plus as much as $50 billion more that wouldn't be covered by insurance. The forecasts, if accurate, would make Katrina one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. Some economists said the catastrophe has the potential to be a tipping point that heads the economy toward recession because the storm smashed the nation's most active port facilities.

Iraq stampede kills 1,000

In Iraq, about 1,000 pilgrims in a religious procession were killed in a stampede on a bridge over the Tigris River. The stampede was triggered by rumors that a suicide bomber was about to attack. Most of the dead were women and children. Many were crushed by the crowd, but others jumped or were pushed to their deaths in the Tigris 30 feet below. It was the single biggest loss of life in Iraq since the March 2003 U.S. invasion.

FDA approves new flu shot

The Food and Drug Administration approved a new flu shot to try to prevent another shortage this winter. The vaccine Fluarix was approved for those 18 and older. Made in Germany by a subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline, the shots have been available in other countries for years. The company expects to make 8 million doses for sale in the United States.

Sheehan ends protest at Bush ranch

Cindy Sheehan ended her 26-day vigil outside President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch and went on the road to spread her anti-war message. Her followers plan to stop in 25 states before a march in the nation's capital on Sept. 24. Sheehan, the mother of a soldier who died in Iraq, had vowed to stay in Crawford until Bush's monthlong vacation ended or until she could question him about the war. The president never talked to her.

Four indicted in terrorist plot

Four men were indicted in Southern California in connection with a conspiracy to attack synagogues, American military installations and Israeli officials. The men - three American citizens and a Pakistani - had weapons and "were well on the way" to carrying out the attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller said. According to the indictment, the plot was hatched in a California state prison in Sacramento.

California Senate approves gay marriage

The California Senate voted to allow gay couples to marry. If the bill becomes law, it would make California the first state to approve same-sex weddings without a court order. The California Assembly narrowly rejected similar legislation in June, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't said whether he would veto such a bill.

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