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The week in review
Scripps Howard News Service


September 02, 2006

Kentucky plane crash kills 49

A Comair commuter jet crashed in Lexington, Ky., early Sunday morning when the pilot tried to take off on the wrong runway, killing 49 of the 50 people on board. The crash was the worst domestic aviation disaster in nearly five years. Federal investigators are looking into whether a number of factors, such as runway lights, markings and a repaving project, confused the pilots and caused the Atlanta-bound plane to attempt take-off on a short runway that is meant only for small planes. Investigators also said there was only one air-traffic controller in the control tower at the time of the crash, even though two are required under Federal Aviation Administration rules.








Iran ignores nuclear deadline

Iran stepped up its confrontation with the West on Thursday by defying a U.N. deadline to halt production of nuclear fuel. A resolution passed by the U.N. Security Council in July had given Iran until Thursday to stop the enrichment of uranium or face possible economic sanctions. But President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the country would never give up its nuclear program, setting the stage for a confrontation with the United States and its European allies. Diplomats plan to meet next week in Europe to begin work on sanctions.

Syria pledges to stop arms shipments to Hezbollah

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday that Syrian officials have promised to increase border patrols and cooperate with the Lebanese army to stop weapons shipments to Hezbollah. Annan said Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed to establish joint patrols with Syrian and Lebanese troops. The Aug. 11 U.N. resolution that established the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah requires Lebanon to "secure its borders and other entry points" and to stop any weapons shipments not authorized by the Lebanese government.

White House compares Iraqi insurgents to Hitler

Hoping for renewed support of an increasingly unpopular war, President Bush and members of his Cabinet this week compared the U.S. struggle in Iraq to World War II. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday accused anti-war critics of appeasing "a new type of fascism." Bush, in an appearance Thursday before an American Legion convention in Salt Lake City, said Americans "will face the terrorists in the streets of our own cities" if the United States gives up in Baghdad. "The security of the civilized world depends on victory in the war on terror, and that depends on victory in Iraq," Bush said.

Pentagon warns sectarian violence widens in Iraq

The Pentagon issued a gloomy report to Congress on Friday, warning that sectarian violence is spreading in Iraq as outlawed militia groups become entrenched. "Conditions that could lead to civil war exist in Iraq, specifically in and around Baghdad, and concern about civil war within the Iraqi civilian population has increased in recent months," the report said. More than 60 Iraqis died Thursday in a series of coordinated bombings and rocket-and-mortar attacks that also wounded nearly 300 in eastern Baghdad.

Hurricane Katrina anniversary observed

President Bush returned to Louisiana and Mississippi this week to mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and remember the hundreds who died in the nation's costliest natural disaster. In a speech in New Orleans on Tuesday, Bush accepted responsibility for the government's slow response to the disaster and promised to do whatever it takes to help the still heavily scarred city recover. Critics said the president also may have been trying to rehabilitate his own image as well: Polls show that nearly two-thirds of Americans still disapprove of how he handled the disaster.

Charges dropped against JonBenet suspect

What appeared to be an incredible break in the investigation into the killing of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey evaporated on Monday when prosecutors dropped their case against John Michael Karr. The former schoolteacher, arrested in Thailand on Aug. 16, had said he was with the 6-year-old Colorado girl when she died in 1996. But Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy said Karr's DNA did not match samples taken from the scene of the crime. Furthermore, Lacy said, family members provided "circumstantial evidence" that Karr was with them in Atlanta during Christmas in 1996, when JonBenet was killed. Karr still must face unrelated misdemeanor charges of possession of child pornography in California.

Hollywood legend dies

Actor Glenn Ford, whose rugged good looks graced the silver screen for more than a half-century, died Wednesday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 90. Though he was never nominated for an Academy Award, Ford was considered one of Hollywood's most versatile actors and starred in more than 80 films. Some of his best-known movies include "Gilda," "The Blackboard Jungle" and "Superman."

Storms lash coasts

Tropical Storm Ernesto sparked widespread flooding and at least one death along the East Coast on Friday just as Hurricane John forced evacuations on Mexico's Baja Peninsula. The unusual twin storms came at the same time Colorado State University meteorologists were downgrading their predictions for the 2006 Atlantic season to only five hurricanes instead of the seven forecast earlier. Ernesto's top sustained winds reached 70 mph, just slightly below hurricane strength, when it made landfall at Long Beach, N.C., at 11:30 p.m. EDT Thursday. States of emergency were called in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

NASA picks contractor for new manned lunar spacecraft

NASA announced Thursday that Lockheed Martin will construct eight Orion spacecraft. The vehicle is intended to replace the shuttles, to return humans to the moon and, possibly, to make the first flight to Mars. Lockheed Martin beat out bids from Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co.

Polygamist sect leader arrested

Warren Jeffs, leader of the 10,000-member Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was arrested Monday after a traffic stop outside Las Vegas. Jeffs agreed Thursday to extradition to Utah, where he faces two counts of rape by accomplice in cases of underage girls ordered to marry older men. He could receive a life sentence if convicted. Police had sought Jeffs, 50, for more than a year. His sect is based in Hildale, Utah, and neighboring Colorado City, Ariz.



E-mail Thomas Hargrove at hargrovet(at); e-mail Michael Collins at collinsm(at)
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Ketchikan, Alaska