Gunfire kills 4 Haitians, journalist at protest

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti- Gunmen opened fire yesterday on thousands
of unarmed demonstrators calling for the prosecution of
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, killing four protesters and a foreign
journalist in the worst attack since the Haitian president’s

U.S. Marines returned fire — the first known armed action
by U.S. forces sent to stabilize the country — but angry
survivors accused the Marines and their French colleagues of not
doing enough to prevent the attack.

Blood slicked the floors of a hospital where victims were
rushed. Women screamed and men cried as the few doctors tried to
treat the injured with little medication.

A French Air Force helicopter made a dramatic landing on the
road in front of the private Canape Vert Hospital, and two men
descended to wheel a gurney of emergency medical supplies to the
gate. Most of the victims were in serious condition with wounds
from assault rifles, said surgeon Ronald Georges.

Several witnesses said they saw Aristide militants open fire
from across the vast Champs de Mars plaza as thousands gathered in
front of the presidential National Palace. U.S. Marine Maj. Richard
Crusan said it was unclear who the gunmen were.


Shiite leaders OK Iraqi interim constitution

BAGHDAD, Iraq- Iraq’s most powerful cleric signaled to
Shiite leaders that he won’t object to an interim
constitution, clearing the way for the charter to be signed today
without changes.

The agreement, key to U.S. plans to hand power to Iraqis, comes
after talks between Iraqi Governing Council members and Grand
Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, who had reservations about
giving Iraq’s Kurdish minority too much power.

Shiite politicians, who days earlier had refused to sign the
constitution because of al-Sistani’s opposition to certain
clauses, said after talks with the cleric yesterday that they would
sign the document unchanged.

Hours later, at least seven rockets exploded in central Baghdad,
five of them hitting the al-Rasheed Hotel which houses members of
the U.S.-led coalition. At least one person was injured, the U.S.
military said.

The hotel also is near the Baghdad Convention Center, where
Iraqi politicians had planned to sign the interim constitution on
Friday. It was unclear whether the attack was an attempt to disrupt
another signing ceremony.


Three still missing in water taxi accident

BALTIMORE- The Navy reservists whose quick work helped save 21
people aboard a water taxi that capsized described the horrific
scene in which they made their rescue: survivors clinging to the
overturned vessel in frigid, choppy water pounded by rain, telling
them more were trapped below.

A 60-year-old woman was killed in Saturday’s accident in
Baltimore Harbor and three people, including a 6-year-old boy, were
missing, but the reservists said yesterday they were relieved the
loss of life wasn’t even greater.

The sailors rushed to the scene after seeing the boat in
trouble. After passengers clinging to the water taxi told them
others were trapped underneath, the rescuers used a ramp on their
troop landing ship to lift the water taxi partly out of the water,
Petty Officer Jeffrey King said.


First gay Episcopal bishop takes office

CONCORD, N.H.- With three mighty thumps on the church door
yesterday, V. Gene Robinson knocked and was welcomed into St.
Paul’s sanctuary, where he officially became the Episcopal
Church’s first openly gay bishop.

Yesterday’s investiture ceremony does not carry the same
weight as Robinson’s consecration, which rocked the Episcopal
Church in November. But it gave a capacity crowd of more than 700
the chance to welcome the new leader of the Diocese of New
Hampshire with whoops, cheers and a standing ovation. Bells rang
out from the church tower.

“Journeys of faith, you know, are a risky business,”
Robinson said during his sermon. “God is always calling us
out of our comfort zones.”


Stewart’s attention to detail swayed jurors

NEW YORK- Jurors who convicted Martha Stewart of lying about a
stock sale said they believed the key prosecution witnesses against
the homemaking guru and were surprised that her team didn’t
mount a more aggressive defense.

They also said Stewart’s reputation as a stickler for
detail belied her claim that she didn’t remember receiving a
message from her broker warning her the price of a stock she held
was about to fall.

“That wasn’t really believable. ‘Cause this is
a woman who pays attention to details,” juror Rosemary
McMahon told Dateline NBC in an interview with six jurors scheduled
to air yesterday.


— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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