The week at a glance...United States

United States

Columbus, Ohio

Coach resigns: Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel resigned this week in the face of allegations that he had repeatedly failed to report players for breaking NCAA rules. One of college football’s most successful and respected coaches, Tressel admitted that he had sat on information that at least six key players were trading Buckeyes’ memorabilia for tattoos and cash at a local tattoo parlor, a practice that would have disqualified them for the 2010 season. He and Ohio State are under an NCAA investigation into allegations that he turned a blind eye to illegal gifts and privileges for players throughout his decade as coach there, during which he compiled a 106–22 record. Tressel, the author of several books on the importance of integrity, wrote in his resignation letter, “We know that God has a plan for us and we will be fine.”

Oklahoma City

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Pharmacist convicted: A jury last week convicted pharmacist Jerome Ersland of first-degree murder for firing five bullets into a wounded teenager who had tried to rob his store. When unarmed Antwun Parker, 16, and a 14-year-old brandishing a pistol tried to rob his pharmacy in May 2009, Ersland fired a shot that hit Parker in the head, then chased the other boy out of the store. After Ersland returned, a video surveillance tape showed, he fetched a second gun and shot Parker five more times as he lay on the floor. The prosecution portrayed Ersland as an executioner, but Facebook sites have sprung up casting him as a hero who acted in self-defense. Ersland’s lawyers vowed to appeal as supporters gathered petitions urging that he be pardoned. Sentencing is scheduled for July 11.

Washington, D.C.

Debt ceiling vote: The U.S. House of Representatives this week overwhelmingly rejected a measure to raise the legal limit on government borrowing, demanding deeper spending cuts from President Obama. The measure, brought to the floor by Republicans, was defeated 318 to 97. Every Republican, and nearly half of all Democrats, voted no on the legislation. The largely symbolic vote demonstrated, as intended, the lack of political support in the House for raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling without further, deep cuts in federal spending. The measure was brought to the floor after hours so as not to roil the bond markets, but there was no reaction from the financial community, which viewed the vote as political theater. “Wall Street is in on the joke,” said R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland dismissed the vote as “a political stunt.”

Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Endeavour’s last landing: The space shuttle Endeavour and its six astronauts returned to Earth this week, completing their last flight and the second-to-last mission in NASA’s 30-year-old shuttle program. The spaceship touched down just as Atlantis, the last shuttle bound for space, arrived at the launchpad for its final flight, scheduled for July. Commander Mark Kelly—whose wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, remains in rehabilitation after being shot in January—brought Endeavour to a stop before hundreds of onlookers, including the four Atlantis astronauts. “Your landing ends a vibrant legacy for this amazing vehicle that will long be remembered. Welcome home, Endeavour,” Mission Control told Kelly and his crewmates. “It’s sad to see her land for the last time, but she really has a great legacy,” replied Kelly.

Cocoa Beach, Fla.

Jellyfish attack: In an attack that seemed straight from a horror film, swarms of jellyfish invaded beaches along Florida’s central coast this week, stinging 1,000 swimmers and sending tourists screaming out of the water. Strong winds and a freak current pushed thousands of mauve stinger jellyfish from the Gulf of Mexico around the tip of Florida and onto the heavily populated Atlantic beaches over the Memorial Day weekend. “If you walked out into the water, I almost guarantee a sting,” said Brevard County Ocean Rescue Assistant Chief Eisen Witcher. The jellyfish aren’t leaving anytime soon. Kevin B. Johnson, associate professor of oceanography at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, suspects the jellyfish could remain in the area for a few more weeks, until winds carry them back out to sea or they die off. Though no major health problems were reported, a few people were hospitalized for respiratory reactions to the stings.

New York City

Banker arrested: The former head of one of Egypt’s biggest banks was arrested this week and charged with sexually assaulting a maid at Manhattan’s luxury Pierre Hotel. Prosecutors say Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar grabbed the maid in a “bear hug” as she delivered tissues to his room. The former Bank of Alexandria chairman then allegedly kissed her on the neck and lips, and rubbed “his groin against her legs.” Omar, 74, who has been released on $25,000 cash bail, denies the charges. The alleged incident comes just two weeks after the now-former International Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged with trying to rape a chambermaid at Sofitel New York, another swank Manhattan hotel. The two cases have prompted the hotel industry to consider new safety measures, and both the Pierre and the Sofitel have said they will now supply hotel workers with panic buttons.

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