Scripps Howard News Service
October 22, 2005
Hurricane Wilma exploded into the most intense Atlantic storm ever recorded and built winds of 175 mph in the western Caribbean. Wilma killed at least 13 people in Haiti and Jamaica before plowing into Cancun, Mexico, on Friday. Wilma was expected to come ashore by Monday in southwestern Florida as a Category 3 or weaker.
Trial of Hussein begins
The mass-murder trial of Saddam Hussein began, and the former Iraqi leader pleaded innocent after defiantly refusing to identify himself and scuffling with security guards. The trial was then adjourned until Nov. 28. Hussein is charged with crimes against humanity stemming from the execution of 143 men and boys from Dujail, 35 miles north of Baghdad.
Inflation jumps in September
Energy prices caused soaring inflation in September, the Labor Department reported. Wholesale prices jumped 1.9 percent, the highest monthly surge in 15 years. Prices for energy-related goods went up 7.1 percent, compared with a 3.7 percent increase in August. The price of natural gas led the way with a 9 percent rise.
Greenspan predicts slower economic growth
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said the increase in energy prices caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita will slow global economic growth. "Although the global economic expansion appears to have been on a reasonably firm path through the summer months, the recent surge in energy prices will undoubtedly be a drag from now on," Greenspan said in his first public comments about the storms' economic effects. Greenspan was speaking to Japanese executives in Tokyo.
Aftershocks shake South Asia
The death toll rose to 79,000 in South Asia's earthquake, making it one of the deadliest in modern times. Two strong aftershocks shook the region and caused landslides. Officials said an estimated half-million survivors, many of them in Pakistan's portion of Kashmir, have yet to receive any help since the 7.6-magnitude quake.
DeLay appears in court
Rep. Tom DeLay appeared in court for the first time to face campaign money-laundering charges in Austin, Texas. But his arraignment was delayed until a hearing on whether the judge should excuse himself from the case because he's a Democrat. "I will absolutely be exonerated," DeLay said afterward. The judge in the case, Bob Perkins, has donated money to MoveOn.org, a liberal organization.
Congress adopts NRA's top priority
The House joined the Senate in voting to shield firearms manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits. The bill went to President Bush, who has promised to sign it. It has for years been the top legislative priority of the National Rifle Association. With significant Democratic support, the House passed the bill by a vote of 283 to 144.
Dog bites man
The author of a New Mexico state law allowing felony charges against owners of dangerous dogs was attacked by his own dog and hospitalized. Bob Schwartz, the crime adviser to Gov. Bill Richardson, suffered bites on both arms.
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