USA

President Bush is "deeply troubled" by Israel's attempt to assassinate a Hamas leader via a helicopter strike, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said. Bush is concerned that targeting militants "will undermine efforts" by the Palestinian Authority to end terrorist attacks and "does not contribute to the security of Israel," Fleischer said. The incident came less than a week after Bush met with leaders of both sides in Jordan on the road map to peace. Hamas opposes the peace process.

Hoping to speed passage of a prescription drug benefit, the administration indicated it would accept equal benefits for those in traditional Medicare as well as for those who move to private health plans, The New York Times reported. Bush had wanted a more generous benefit for private plans to encourage enrollment, but faced opposition in the Senate, whose Finance Committee votes Thursday on the bill. In what the Times described as another apparent compromise with the Senate, the White House urged House Republicans to support extending the child tax credit to 6.5 million low-income families left out of the tax-relief package Bush signed last month.

At a sentencing hearing for ImClone founder and ex-chief Sam Waksal, under way as the Monitor went to press, prosecutors sought a tougher penalty than the seven years called for under federal sentencing guidelines. Waksal's lawyer argued for leniency, saying "this matter has already been taken wildly out of context" due to intense media exposure. Waksal pleaded guilty in October to securities and bank fraud, conspiracy, and perjury.

Two people were shot, one of them fatally, and several others were arrested in fighting that erupted after a concert in Chattanooga, Tenn., Monday night. Police in riot gear helped to quell the disturbance on Martin Luther King Blvd. following the Bessie Smith Strut, a concert that is part of the city's annual Riverbend Festival.

An early morning fire at an oil refinery in Chalmette, La., prompted evacuation of 100 residents in two trailer parks. One firefighter was slightly hurt at the Murphy Oil facility. A second fire broke out at an ExxonMobil refinery less than two miles away, but police said the blazes appeared unrelated.

The New Jersey Devils won the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup with a 3-0 victory over the Anaheim (Calif.) Mighty Ducks Monday night in East Rutherford, N.J. The Devils clinched the championship, their third in nine years, in Game 7 of the playoffs.

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