The world at a glance . . . United States
NashvilleFootball star slain: Former National Football League star Steve McNair was found shot to death last week in a Nashville condominium, along with the body of a young woman, who died of a single shot to the head. The coroner said the evidence was consistent with a murder-suicide. Relatives of the dead woman, Sahel Kazemi, 20, say that she and McNair, who was married with four children, were romantically involved. Kazemi purchased the pistol found near her body two days before the shooting, but police would not confirm the gun was the murder weapon. McNair, 36, a standout quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, led the team to the Super Bowl following the 1999 season.
Los AngelesJackson death inquiry: While mourners packed the Staples Center this week to memorialize Michael Jackson and hundreds of millions more watched on television and the Internet, police stepped up an investigation into the entertainer’s death. Police are looking into whether Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, or other doctors improperly prescribed narcotics to Jackson, who often complained of sleeplessness. They also want to know why 911 was not called until more than 30 minutes after Jackson was found unconscious. A nasty court fight is brewing, meanwhile, over Jackson’s will and custody of his three children. Judge Mitchell Beckloff removed Jackson’s mother, Katherine, as administrator of some of the estate, replacing her with two of Jackson’s lawyers.
Washington, D.C.Saddam’s WMD bluff: Saddam Hussein let the world think he had weapons of mass destruction because he didn’t want to appear weak to Iran, according to newly released summaries of his 2004 interviews with the FBI. The summaries confirm foreign-policy analysts’ theories that Saddam had a deep-seated fear of Iran, with which Iraq waged a bloody, eight-year war. The transcripts detail 25 sessions with the deposed Iraqi dictator during the summer of 2004, after his capture by American forces; he was executed that December. Saddam also denied ever meeting Osama bin Laden, saying he did not share “the same belief or vision” as the al Qaida chief.
Corpus Christi, Texas‘Fight club’ trial: Four employees of a state school for the developmentally disabled went on trial this week on charges that they orchestrated late-night brawls between patients. Much of the evidence against them consists of about 20 grainy mobile-phone videos of the fights, some dating to 2007. Prosecutors allege that the defendants arranged the brawls, during which some patients were injured, for their amusement. The defendants can be seen on the videos, cheering and urging the mentally disabled combatants to fight. The trial is the latest black eye for Texas’ schools for the developmentally disabled. The state recently paid $112 million to settle federal charges of widespread mistreatment of school residents.
Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.Obama’s vacation plans: The White House hasn’t made it official, but it appears the First Family will spend their first White House vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, the quaint island retreat off Cape Cod, Mass., to which Bill and Hillary Clinton often escaped. Locals say that the Secret Service has booked numerous hotel rooms, and The Boston Globe quoted sources saying that the Obamas have rented a place in Oak Bluffs, known as an enclave for affluent blacks, including Harvard law professor and Obama mentor Charles Ogletree. The White House says the president’s vacation will last only a week, though the rest of his family will stay longer. Residents plan a low-key welcome. “Vineyarders pride themselves on kind of ignoring celebrities,” said Nancy Gardella of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Gastonia, N.C.Serial-murder suspect killed: Police this week shot and killed a man suspected of a string of murders in South Carolina, after trading shots with him at a house just across the border in North Carolina. Patrick Burris, 41, a convicted armed robber who was released from prison in April, is suspected of killing five people in late June and July. The victims include a 63-year-old farmer; an 83-year-old woman and her daughter, 50; and a man and his 15-year-old daughter. Police say they are still looking for links, if any, between Burris and the murder victims. Local residents expressed relief that the killer had been found. “You never knew who he was targeting,” said Denise Bonner. “Thank God this has come to an end.”