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The Baltimore Sun

U.S. diplomat shot to death in Sudan

NAIROBI, Kenya -- A U.S. diplomat and his driver were shot and killed early yesterday in Sudan as they were going home from a New Year's Eve party in Khartoum, the capital. In Washington, the Agency for International Development identified the diplomat as one of its officials, John Granville, 33. American officials said it was "too early to tell" whether the shooting had been random or planned, but Sudanese officials said the circumstances were suspicious, especially because gun crime is rare in Khartoum, considered one of the safer cities in Africa.

Tainted vodka kills 11 in Mongolia

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia --At least 11 people died and 21 more were hospitalized after drinking tainted vodka during New Year's Eve celebrations in Mongolia's capital, a government official said yesterday. Ganbold Khurlee of the governor's office said tests showed that the vodka was made with methanol spirits, normally used for nonfood purposes such as cleaning.

Man takes police dog in bridge leap

CORONADO, Calif. --A man being chased by authorities grabbed a police dog and leaped off the San Diego- Coronado Bridge, taking the animal with him into the frigid ocean water 200 feet below. The fall killed the dog. The fugitive survived and was hospitalized yesterday. The pursuit began Monday evening after an Oceanside police officer saw the man driving a GMC pickup erratically.

Wedding reception goes on at S.F. zoo

SAN FRANCISCO --A couple was allowed to hold their long-scheduled wedding reception at the San Francisco Zoo, even though the grounds have been closed since a tiger escaped on Christmas and mauled three people, killing one. Erica De Jesus and Mike Garcia went on their first date at the zoo 10 years ago. Because of the tiger attack, they and their 200 guests had to confine their celebration to a hall near the entrance gate, where a sign warned that lions and tigers would not be on display until further notice. The zoo is scheduled to reopen tomorrow.

N.Y. couch potatoes in a long recline

NEW YORK --Four people began putting their laziness to the test yesterday in the ESPN Zone Ultimate Couch Potato Competition, at the ESPN Zone restaurant in Times Square. The participants, sitting in recliners in front of a dozen 42-inch high-definition plasma televisions and a couple of 14-foot HD projection TVs, will try to watch the most continuous hours of televised sports. They can order unlimited food and drinks but can't sleep or leave their recliners except for restroom breaks once every eight hours. The winner will receive a prize package worth $5,000 that includes a high-definition TV and a cozy recliner.

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