LOOKING FOWARD/ LOOKING BACK

THE BALTIMORE SUN

LOOKING FOWARD

MONDAY

The Supreme Court issues orders in Washington. The court has about two weeks until it wraps up its current term. The most widely anticipated of the cases still to be decided is a Charlton Heston-style blockbuster about whether governments can post the Ten Commandments on public property. The court also has yet to rule in cases involving public taking of property for private development and file-sharing networks that allow Internet swapping of music and movies. Then there is the most closely watched question of the term: Will it end with a retirement announcement from Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist?

Bernard J. Ebbers, former chief executive officer of WorldCom, convicted in March of engineering the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history, is scheduled to be sentenced in New York City. On Friday, Ebbers, 63, asked a federal judge for a lighter sentence than the "draconian life sentence" recommended by the U.S. government. Lawyers for Alberta native Ebbers cited his good character, age, poor health and low risk of a repeat offense as reasons for a lighter sentence. He was convicted of nine counts of fraud, conspiracy and making false filings with regulators.

A trial opens in Philadelphia, Miss., for Edgar Killen, a former Ku Klux Klan leader charged in the 1964 killings of civil rights workers James Cheney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. Killen was charged in 1967 with 18 others in the killings. He was acquitted in federal court in the famed "Mississippi burning" case and was freed until recharged in state court this year.

A California jury continues its consideration of sexual misconduct charges against Michael Jackson. Jackson is charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy in 2003, plying him with wine and conspiring to hold him and his family captive to get them to rebut the TV documentary Living With Michael Jackson. The documentary showed the boy holding hands with Jackson, who said he let children into his bed for innocent sleepovers.

TUESDAY

A preliminary hearing is scheduled in Mangum, Okla., for Randolph Dial, who was captured in Texas nearly 11 years after escaping from a prison in Granite, Okla., with an assistant warden's wife. Dial was serving a life sentence for the 1981 killing of Kelly Hogan in Broken Arrow, Okla.

WEDNESDAY

President Bush discusses the importance of energy issues to the nation's future in a speech to the 16th annual Energy Efficiency Forum at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington. Bush has been urging Congress in recent weeks to take action on a long-delayed energy bill.

Detailed plans for a Flight 93 National Memorial are expected to be offered in Somerset, Pa., where the plane crashed after being hijacked by 9/11 conspirators. Congress passed legislation creating a new National Park unit at the site of the crash to "commemorate the passengers and crew of Flight 93 who, on Sept. 11, 2001, courageously gave their lives thereby thwarting a planned attack on our nation's Capitol."

THURSDAY

The House Ways and Means Committee's Social Security subcommittee holds the sixth in a series of subcommittee hearings on protecting and strengthening Social Security with a look at international experiences with Social Security reform. Last week, President Bush said his plan to restructure Social Security would improve the program's long-term stability without shrinking the retirement income of older Americans. But recent polls indicate that a clear majority of the public does not believe that.

LOOKING BACK

The World

Two U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan when rockets struck troops unloading supplies from a helicopter in Shkin, four miles from the border with Pakistan. Eight were wounded in the attack that came after the Afghan government warned that Taliban and al-Qaida fighters are waging a campaign of violence aimed at undermining legislative elections in September.

On one day in Iraq, four U.S. soldiers died three incidents north of Baghdad - one in a roadside bombing near Andwar, another when a bomb went off just north of the capital and two Army officers in what was originally ruled a mortar attack on a Tikrit base, though the military later said it was opening a criminal inquiry into those deaths. On another day, a roadside bomb killed five Marines in western Iraq. The bodies of 21 Iraqis, dressed in civilian clothes, some with their hands tied, were found near the Syrian border the day after that number of Iraqi soldiers disappeared after leaving their base in two minibuses to go on leave.

An Iraqi government spokesman said the Special Tribunal that will try former dictator Saddam Hussein will likely center on 12 charges of crimes against humanity, including a 1988 gas attack that left scores dead in a Kurdish town near Iran. The charges were chosen from more than 500 that could have been included, the spokesman said. Expediting the trial brings the Iraqi prosecutors into conflict with U.S. advisers who advocate trying lower-level aides first, delaying Hussein's trial until next year.

Even as Swiss voters gave a boost to the European Union by approving participation in the EU's passport-free zone - though Switzerland has never joined the 25-nation bloc - the British government postponed indefinitely plans to hold a referendum on a proposed EU constitution, effectively killing the document that was rejected by French and Dutch voters.

The Nation

A Washington state judge ruled that Democrat Christine Gregoire's victory in last fall's governor's election was valid, agreeing with defeated GOP candidate Dino Rossi that there were irregularities, but saying that there was no way to determine how these would have affected the final vote. Rossi, who lost by 129 votes out of 2.9 million cast, said he would not appeal the decision.

In a blow to advocates of medical marijuana use and states' rights, the Supreme Court ruled that federal laws against marijuana can trump state statutes making medical use legal. The 6-3 ruling did not contest medical claims of two seriously ill California women, but upheld a New Deal-era ruling that said the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution allows the federal government to regulate any commodity traded across state lines.

General Motors Corp. - faced with a $1 billion first-quarter loss, its bonds reduced to junk status, and a plummeting stock price - announced plans to cut 25,000 jobs.

As part of a deal worked out by the "gang of 14" senators that preserved the right of the minority party to filibuster judicial nominees, the Senate approved two more of President Bush's long-delayed nominees to federal circuit courts - California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown and former Alabama Attorney General William H. Pryor Jr.

Quote

"This has become the greatest propaganda tool that exists for recruiting of terrorists around the world."

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Delaware Democrat, calling for closing the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay

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