Probe could limit hiring


When Democrat Martin O'Malley takes office as governor Wednesday, the scope of his patronage hiring could be hindered by the legislature's year-long investigation into the personnel practices of his Republican predecessor. pg 1a

Water trail eagerly awaited


Some Chesapeake Bay towns are hoping to capitalize on the newly created Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Water Trail to attract more tourists. The first national water trail traces the explorer's voyages 400 year ago from Jamestown, Va., to the mouth of the Susquehanna River. pg 1a

City pension change weighed

Incoming Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon has asked city retirement officials to examine whether they can invest more of the city's large pension reserve in minority-owned and local companies. pg 1b


Alzheimer's gene found

A huge international study has identified a gene that apparently can raise the risk of developing the most common form of Alzheimer's disease, a discovery that might help scientists develop treatments. The study was released yesterday on the Web site of the journal Nature Genetics. pg 3a

Cheney defends credit searches

Vice President Dick Cheney said yesterday that the Pentagon and CIA are not violating people's rights by examining the banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage in the United States. pg 3a



Patriots, Bears advance

The New England Patriots upset the AFC's top-seeded San Diego Chargers, 24-21, to move within one win of their fourth Super Bowl trip in six seasons. Robbie Gould kicked a 49-yard field goal 4:58 into overtime to lift the Chicago Bears over the Seattle Seahawks, 27-24, and into the NFC championship game. pgs 9-10e


Iraq war cost ballooning

The Iraq war is far smaller and narrower than World War II and the Vietnam War, and it has not extended beyond the tenure of a single president. But its cost is beginning to reach historic proportions. pg 1a


Rice pushes Middle East peace

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on a diplomatic push in the Middle East, met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday, but the idea of a two-state solution brought up differences between the officials. pg 7a


Annapolis: What's in, out

With the changing of the guard in the governor's mansion in Annapolis, we consider what's in and what's out. pg 1C

Golden Globes fashion


For many viewers of tonight's Golden Globe Awards, which films win will be less important than what the actors and actresses are wearing. . pg 1c