Candles, prayers marka month since tsunami
GALLE, Sri Lanka -- Sri Lankans lighted candles and chanted prayers for the dead to mark one month since the tsunami Wednesday, and mourners on a Thai island launched two new fishing boats in a first step toward rebuilding the devastated local fleet. On the hardest-hit Indonesian island of Sumatra, there were no memorials, but children went back to school and the empty desks of dead classmates. A month after killer waves swept away more than 140,000 lives and ravaged coastlines around the Indian Ocean, survivors quietly remembered the tragedy and carried on with the struggle to rebuild their lives. Candles and multicolored Buddhist flags lined a highway hugging the coast of Sri Lanka, where nearly 31,000 people died and a million were displaced by the Dec. 26 tsunami.
Sharon, Abbas aides meet
JERUSALEM -- Top aides to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met Wednesday with senior advisers to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as Israel resumed diplomatic contacts with the Palestinian Authority. Negotiators said they were laying the foundation for a meeting soon between Sharon and Abbas. Israel, which had broken off contact two weeks ago to protest Palestinian violence, reopened talks after Abbas ordered Palestinian troops to the Gaza Strip border to prevent rocket fire into Israel.
hBeyond the call of duty
IOLA, Kan. -- Police officer Taylor Ryherd tries to help a skunk that got its nose stuck in an open soda can. Neighborhood residents called police to assist the animal. Police first attempted to coax the skunk into a live trap, but the tactic didn't work. Another officer used a snare to pull the can from the skunk's head. The skunk scurried away after the can was removed.
Gunk in outer space
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Leaving the international space station unattended while they stepped outside, the two crewmen hooked up a robotic arm Wednesday and found some kind of gunk on the spacecraft's vents that might explain the frequent breakdowns in its air-supply equipment. Spacewalkers Leroy Chiao and Salizhan Sharipov did not make all of the electrical connections on the experimental mini-arm tight enough and had to redo part of the job, but managed to get full power flowing with just minutes remaining in their 51/2-hour outing. During their 225-mile-high excursion, the spacewalkers also inspected the station's vents and found a large patch of dark, oily residue and a white, honeycombed substance. It was not immediately known what the substances were.
Radio host, N.J. officialtrade jabs over remark
TRENTON, N.J. -- Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey said Wednesday he threatened to take a radio show host outside after the shock jock made dismissive comments about postpartum depression, an ailment that has afflicted first lady Mary Jo Codey. Codey said NJ 101.5 should take action against the talk show host, Craig Carton, and defended Tuesday's aggressive rebuke at the station's Ewing Township studios. "Somebody made disparaging remarks about my wife. I defended my wife like any man or husband would," Codey said. "I have a right to defend my family, and I will." Codey denied an account in The Star-Ledger of Newark that said he told Carton during the feud: "I wish I weren't governor, I'd take you out." "I didn't say I would take him out," Codey said. "I said I would take him outside. When you're Irish you take them outside, not out."
Rudy Giuliani for Senate?
NEW YORK -- The New York State Republican Party chair said he plans to ask former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to challenge Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for her seat in 2006. "I think Rudy would be a great candidate for us," Stephen Minarik told the New York Times for Wednesday editions.
Combined dispatches
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