USA

Former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay is expected to say little today at his long-anticipated hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee - or when he appears before a House panel Thursday. A spokeswoman said that on the advice of his lawyer, Lay will invoke his right not to incriminate himself. Four other former Enron officials did the same last week at hearings on the energy giant's collapse. Jeff Skilling, Lay's successor, did testify, but some lawmakers have questioned his truthfulness and hinted he could face perjury charges. (Related story, page 1; editorial, page 8.)

Enron officials appear likely to be bumped off a panel that oversees their company's 401(k) retirement plans. The Labor Department wants to replace them with an independent representative, by court order if necessary. Thousands of Enron workers, encouraged to invest in the company, saw their savings disappear as it went bankrupt.

The US has "no reason to believe" India was involved in the kidnaping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, Deputy Treasury Secretary Kenneth Dam said on a visit to New Delhi. Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has alleged Indian intelligence agencies might have orchestrated the abduction. The case is a source of embarrassment for Musharraf, who is scheduled to meet with President Bush tomorrow. Bush is expected to praise Musharraf's efforts in cracking down on Islamic militants, including Pearl's suspected kidnapers.

The US team struck gold for the first time at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Snowboarder Kelly Clark (above, c.) took the top medal for the women's halfpipe. Silver went to France's Doriane Vidal (l.) and Fabienne Tueteler (r.) of Switzerland took the bronze. As the Monitor went to press, ace American skier Picabo Street had yet to race in her last women's downhill. The day's other events included pairs figure skating.

While overall teen drug use held steady last year, use of ecstasy rose 20 percent, according to a study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Experimentation with the synthetic stimulant now is equal to, or greater than, that of crack cocaine, heroin, and other substances the advocacy group said, with many teens wrongly considering the popular dance-party drug to be relatively harmless. "We must do everything in our power to turn current trends around," said John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Charged in the death of one of their 13 children and the mistreatmentof the rest, a man and the four women he lived with in an upscale San Francisco suburb were awaiting arraignment before a California court. Authorities began investigating the family in November after the women brought a 19-month-old boy, described as severely malnourished, to a hospital, where he later died. The remaining children are in foster care.

Jack Henry Abbott, who died Sunday in a New York prison, was famous for his bestseller "In the Belly of the Beast," composed of his letters from jail to author Norman Mailer. Authorities said his death appeared to be a suicide.

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