The world at a glance . . . United States
Portland, Ore.Heat sparks wildfires: As a rare heat wave bakes the Pacific Northwest, hot, dry conditions are feeding a rash of wildfires. Temperatures in normally temperate Portland hit 106 this week, and a local Home Depot reported selling out its stock of air conditioners in three hours. “Fans are even getting hard to find,” said store employee Cliff Baker. In Washington state, authorities in Chelan County urged residents to evacuate their homes after a wildfire burned more than 600 acres. Officials say the summer is one of the driest on record, turning forests into tinderboxes. King County, where Seattle is located, has already seen more brush fires this year than in the previous three years.
Las VegasJackson’s doctor eyed: Michael Jackson’s personal physician allegedly gave the entertainer a powerful anesthetic in the hours before he died, and police believe the drug is what killed him, the Associated Press reported this week. An unnamed police official said that Dr. Conrad Murray, 51, admitted administering propofol to Jackson to help him sleep, but Murray’s lawyer refused to comment on “rumors, innuendo, or unnamed sources.” The allegation, if true, could leave Murray open to a manslaughter charge. Police have not named Murray as a suspect, but this week they searched his Las Vegas home and office. Propofol, which is normally used only during surgery, can depress breathing and lower the heart rate and blood pressure.
Lackawanna, N.Y.Cheney wanted troops: Former Vice President Dick Cheney recommended sending the U.S. Army to a Buffalo suburb in 2002 to arrest six suspected terrorists, a possible violation of federal law, The New York Times reported. Cheney wanted to make a statement that the nation was at war, but President Bush said no. Instead, federal and local law-enforcement officers arrested the six men, all of Yemeni ancestry, who had attended an al Qaida training camp in Afghanistan in 2001. They pleaded guilty to various charges and were imprisoned. Local law-enforcement officials strongly objected to Cheney’s proposal, which might have violated the federal Posse Comitatus Act, which bars the military from performing law-enforcement duties on U.S. soil. “If you bring in the military,” said Lackawanna Police Capt. Ronald Miller, “you create a panic.”
Raleigh, N.C.Suspected jihadists busted: Federal agents this week arrested seven North Carolina men and were searching for an eighth on charges of plotting terrorist attacks overseas. Authorities alleged that Daniel Boyd, 39, had recruited six young men, including his two sons, to wage “violent jihad” abroad. Authorities allege that Boyd and his recruits, one of them a Kosovo native, conspired to carry out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, and discussed other plots aimed at Pakistan, Jordan, and Kosovo. There is no indication in the indictment that they were planning attacks in the U.S. or that they were affiliated with al Qaida or other militant groups. Prosecutors said that Boyd, a Muslim convert, had traveled to Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight the occupying Soviets.
Jersey CityPols, rabbis rounded up: In a corruption case whose scale was stunning even by New Jersey standards, federal authorities last week arrested 44 people—including several mayors and a state assemblyman, along with some Orthodox rabbis—on bribery and money-laundering charges. At the center of the case is informant Solomon Dwek, who started cooperating with police after being arrested for bank fraud. Investigators taped Dwek, posing as a real estate developer, giving out bribes to win building approvals. The investigation also ensnared rabbis and other members of a tight-knit Syrian Jewish community who allegedly agreed to launder money for Dwek—and even sell him a kidney from a donor in Israel. One person netted in the sweep, Democratic consultant Jack Shaw, 61, was found dead this week in his Jersey City apartment. The death was being treated as a possible suicide.
Hampton, Va.Vick can play: The National Football League this week ruled that former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, released from custody last week, could return to professional football. Vick, who was incarcerated for 23 months for his involvement in a dogfighting ring at his Virginia farm, can play by the sixth week of the league’s 17-week season—provided he stays out of trouble and finds a team willing to sign him. “I’m trying to give Michael the opportunity to prove himself,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Vick, 29, once the highest paid player in the NFL, acknowledged that he’d made “terrible mistakes.”