That was the week that was

Bin Laden re-emerges in audiotape

bin Laden broke a yearlong silence and threatened new attacks against
the United States in an audiotape broadcast by the Arab network
al-Jazeera. On the tape _ which was authenticated by the CIA as the
first public communication from bin Laden since December 2004 _ the
terrorist leader also offered the possibility of a truce under
unspecified conditions. The Bush administration dismissed the
suggestion as propaganda.

Supreme Court upholds assisted suicide

The Supreme Court backed Oregon’s physician-assisted-suicide law,
refusing to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die. The
justices ruled 6-3 that the Bush administration improperly tried to use
a drug law to prosecute Oregon doctors who prescribe overdoses under
the 1997 state law.

Lawsuits challenge eavesdropping program

Two leading civil-rights groups sued the Bush administration to stop
its domestic spying program. The two lawsuits, filed by the American
Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights, were
the first major court challenges to the eavesdropping. The groups said
they want to learn whether the operation was used to monitor defense
lawyers, journalists, scholars, political activists and other Americans
with ties to the Middle East. The Justice Department said it would
fight the lawsuits on national-security grounds.

Gore calls for special counsel

Former Vice President Al Gore urged the appointment of a special
counsel to investigate President Bush’s authorization of domestic
surveillance by the National Security Agency. In a speech on the
holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., Gore charged that Bush’s
record on civil liberties posed a “grave danger” to America’s
constitutional freedoms. Gore said that “what we do know” about the
spying program “virtually compels the conclusion that the president of
the United States has been breaking the law, repeatedly and

First mission to Pluto

fastest spacecraft ever launched took off on the first mission to Pluto
_ a 3 billion-mile trip to study the planet and examine mysterious
objects at the outer edges of the planetary system. The New Horizons
probe was expected to reach Jupiter in just over a year and make it to
Pluto by 2015. Pluto is the solar system’s last unexplored planet.

Congress considers ethics reform

Fearing a voter backlash from the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal,
Republicans in the House and Senate backed stronger laws governing
ethics. Democrats made their own proposals in an attempt to exploit the
scandal for their own political gain. Among the ideas: Tightening the
limits on free travel, meals and gifts.