At least 67 people have died in Jordan after three suicide attacks targeted hotels in the capital of Amman Wednesday night. As many as 300 people were wounded. At the Radisson Hotel, a suicide bomber entered a wedding reception in the hotel ballroom and blew himself up. Also targeted were the Grand Hyatt and Days Inn hotels. The group Al-Qaida in Iraq has reportedly claimed responsibility.
In Iraq, two suicide bombers struck a Baghdad restaurant frequented by Iraqi security forces today, killing at least 33 people and wounding 19 others. Meanwhile a car bombing in the town of Tikkrit killed seven army recruits. In other Iraq news, the US military admitted Wednesday it caused civilian casualties during this week’s assault on the town of Husaybah, close to the Syrian border. US forces launched an invasion of the town Saturday, claiming it has become a hotbed for foreign insurgents. The New York Times is reporting Marine aircraft destroyed one home where insurgents were allegedly hiding, killing at least five civilians inside.
The New York Times has announced the retirement of reporter Judith Miller. Miller spent 85 days in jail this year for refusing to testify before the grand jury in the CIA leak case. She was released after receiving a waiver from her source, indicted White House aide Lewis Libby. Initially praised as a champion of press freedom, Miller drew criticism when her editors accused her of misleading them on her contacts with the White House. Miller’s work has also come under question for her reporting in the lead-up to the Iraq war. Miller wrote a series of articles alleging Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, allegations that turned out to be false. In a letter to the editor printed in today’s New York Times, Miller wrote: “I have chosen to resign because over the last few months, I have become the news, something a New York Times reporter never wants to be.” A Times spokesperson said “it had been made clear to Ms. Miller that she would not be able to continue as a reporter of any kind” at the newspaper.
This news from France — the French government has announced it will deport all foreigners convicted of rioting in the urban uprisings that began two weeks ago. The new rule includes foreigners living in the country legally. French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said 120 foreigners have been convicted so far. He announced Wednesday he’s asked officials “to deport them from our national territory without delay, including those who have a residency visa.”
In Liberia, soccer legend George Weah is charging electoral fraud after polls show him trailing far behind in a run-off poll in the country’s Presidential race. If elected, Weah’s opponent, former finance minister Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, would become the first woman to lead an African country. Weah was the favored candidate after winning the first round of voting.
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi is in Washington this week. At an appearance at the American Enterprise Institute Wednesday, Chalabi was asked about faulty intelligence he passed the Bush administration on Iraq’s weapons capabilities. This was his response: “We are sorry for every American life that is lost in Iraq, and I regret ever loss of American lives that happen in Iraq, subsequent to the end of fighting with Saddam. As for the fact that I deliberately misled the American government–this is an urban myth.”
In London, the British Parliament rejected an anti-terrorism proposal that would allow the detention of terror suspect for up to 90 days without charge. The defeat is a major blow for Prime Minister Tony Blair, who campaigned heavily for the measure. It was his first major loss in the House of Commons since taking office eight years ago. The defeat comes during a week when Blair suffered major embarrassment over his handling of the invasion of Iraq. In an excerpt of his memoirs released Tuesday, former British Ambassador to Washington Christopher Meyer described the Blair government as “a crowd of pygmies” who bowed to the Bush administration’s rush to war.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is preparing to introduce legislation that would deny foreign terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay the right to challenge their detentions in court. Graham said the proposal could be introduced as early as today. Several human rights groups criticized the legislation. The Center For Constitutional Rights said it “will only serve to reinforce the growing perception that the United States has become an enemy of human rights.”
In New York, nearly 1,000 graduate assistants at New York University have gone on strike. The students say they’re striking over the university’s refusal to negotiate with or recognize their union. The Graduate Students Organizing Committee said the strike will continue until university administrators agree to negotiate “in good faith.”
And in Washington, legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom Wednesday. Ali is considered the greatest boxer in the history of the sport. In his prime he was an outspoken advocate of the Black Muslim movement and a critic of the Vietnam War. In 1967, he was stripped of his heavyweight title for refusing to fight in Vietnam. This is from When We Were Kings, the documentary about Ali’s 1974 championship bout with George Foreman in Kinshasa that came to be known as “the Rumble in the Jungle”: “Yeah, I’m in Africa. Yeah, Africa is my home. Damn America and what America thinks. Yeah, I live in America, but Africa is the home of the black man, and I was a slave 400 years ago, and I’m going back home to fight among my brothers.”