The World

A massive underwater earthquake spawned a series of disastrous tsunamis that killed more than 100,000 across South Asia and left millions of others homeless in 12 countries on the rim of the Indian Ocean. Nations around the world pledged hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aid for a relief effort.


Iraq's shaky march toward national elections suffered another blow when the nation's most established Sunni Muslim political party announced that it is dropping out of national elections scheduled for Jan. 30.

The Ukraine Central Election Commission rejected Prime Minister Viktor F. Yanukovych's appeal of the presidential revote, saying he had not proved there were any mass violations, a commission member said. Results show opposition leader Viktor A. Yushchenko winning by 2.3 million votes.


Canada has found what may be a second case of mad cow disease, officials said Thursday, just a day after the United States said it planned to reopen its border to Canadian beef. The border was closed 19 months ago when a cow in northern Alberta tested positive for mad cow disease.

The Nation

Weather, short-staffing and a computer glitch caused delays and problems for holiday travelers, creating headaches at airports across the country. Comair, a regional carrier based near Cincinnati, canceled all its 1,100 flights because computer problems knocked out its system that manages flight assignments.

The head of the CIA's analytic division told her staff that she is resigning, becoming the latest high-level departure in a continuing shake-up of the agency's senior ranks by new director Porter J. Goss.

NASA took a major step toward returning astronauts to space, unveiling an improved rocket fuel tank that has been refitted to avoid the falling debris that caused the destruction of the shuttle Columbia and the death of seven astronauts.

A 55-year-old woman acting as a surrogate for her daughter, who is a resident physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, gave birth to triplets. Tina Cade delivered the two boys and one girl by Caesarean section at Bon Secours St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond, Va.

After three vote tallies and nearly two months of waiting, Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared Washington's governor-elect. But her Republican rival did not concede and wants a new election.

The Region


In a session lasting past 3 a.m., the Maryland legislature approved a bill to keep malpractice insurance costs for doctors in check, defying Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s pledge to veto the complex agreement.

Baltimore is hiring armed private security guards to protect a sprawling, vacant apartment complex in West Baltimore that is slated for redevelopment but has been a magnet for vandalism and fires.

Top wildlife officials in Delaware and New Jersey announced that they strongly oppose a plan the Ehrlich administration is considering to introduce Asian oysters into the Chesapeake Bay.

Baltimore's teen birth rate, although still much higher than the national average, has reached its lowest level since the city started keeping records more than 100 years ago.


"Nobody has to be a writer. Print culture may be under siege, but there has been an enormous inflation in the number of books printed, and very few of these could be considered part of literature."


Susan Sontag,a leading intellectual and activist of the past half century who died Tuesday. She was 71.