Feature

The week at a glance ... United States

United States

ChicagoDaley won’t run: Mayor Richard M. Daley stunned the nation’s third-largest city this week by announcing that he would step down after 22 years in office. The so-called Mayor for Life broke the news that he wouldn’t seek re-election to a seventh term at a routine press conference, saying simply, “It’s time.” Daley is widely credited with helping to revitalize Chicago. Like his father, the late Richard J. Daley, who served 21 years as Chicago’s mayor, he was also known for political hardball. Speculation immediately swirled about potential successors. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, a native Chicagoan, said earlier this year that he was interested in the job.

New York CityImam vows to build: The leader of a proposed Muslim community center and mosque two blocks north of Ground Zero vowed this week that the project would move forward. In an opinion column published in The New York Times, Feisal Abdul Rauf wrote that he was “awed” by the heated national debate over the proposed Cordoba House. He promised the center would contain prayer spaces for Jews and Christians as well as for Muslims, and said the center’s financing would be completely transparent. Rauf said his work was devoted to “building bridges” between faiths. Jim Riches, whose firefighter son died in the 9/11 attacks, said he remained opposed to the planned center, calling Rauf “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.’’

New York CityMiracle landing: A suicidal man survived a 40-story fall from an apartment building last week when he broke his fall by landing on a car. Thomas Magill, 22, last week jumped from the roof of a Manhattan high rise, intending to end his life. Instead he found himself in the back seat of a Dodge Charger, having sustained two broken legs, a collapsed lung, and a shattered ankle. Doctors said he would survive. The car’s owner, Maria McCormack, said she was angry that Magill had destroyed her $14,000 car, and wanted to ask him “how he feels now that he made it. Does he feel like an idiot?”

Washington, D.C.Pentagon child porn: More than 250 Pentagon employees and contractors, including some with high-level security clearances, have viewed and purchased child pornography, sometimes with government computers, the Defense Department said this week. Yet only a handful of offenders have been prosecuted. The pornography use was discovered in the course of a 2006 federal investigation, which found that 264 Defense Department staffers and contractors, including nine with access to the nation’s most sensitive secrets, purchased child pornography online. The Defense Criminal Investigative Service investigated only 52 suspects, filing charges against 10 of them. DCIS says it lacked the resources to pursue additional cases.

Gainesville, Fla.Petraeus opposes Koran-burning: Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. military leader in Afghanistan, warned this week against plans by a small church in Florida to burn copies of the Islamic holy book to mark the anniversary of 9/11, saying it could endanger American soldiers. “It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems, not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community,” said Petraus, from Kabul. Terry Jones, pastor of the evangelical Dove Outreach Center, responded that he has no plans to cancel his “International Burn a Koran Day.” Said Jones: “We must send a clear message to the radical element of Islam.”

Gulf of Mexico BP details errors: In a long-awaited report on the largest oil spill in U.S. history, BP this week blamed an array of human errors and equipment failures, but stressed that “no single factor” was responsible. The April 20 blowout killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon and spewed nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. Facing possible criminal charges and countless lawsuits, BP said rig operator Transocean and the cementing company Halliburton were also at fault, and described the explosion on the drilling platform as the result of a misread pressure test, improper cementing of the well, and a badly maintained blowout preventer. The company denied that the oil well design, which has been widely criticized, was at fault. The blowout preventer was hauled from the ocean floor last week to undergo an “autopsy” by federal investigators.

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