USA

In a move with major implications for all Democratic presidential contenders, ex-Vice President Gore formally endorsed Howard Dean for the party's 2004 nomination. Analysts said the endorsement from a leading Washington insider:

• Bolsters Dean's case that he represents more than an Internet-driven outsider;

• Should ease concerns about Dean's lack of foreign policy experience, testy temperament, and his antiestablishment message;

• Causes potentially serious damage to the hopes of the party's other presidential contenders, but especially to Gore's 2000 running mate, US Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who said the endorsement caught him "completely off-guard."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 10,000 for the first time in 18 months in early trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, as investors hedged on how long the Federal Reserve would keep interest rates low. The Dow fell back and US blue-chip stocks were close to unchanged by mid-morning, but market analysts said crossing the 10,000 mark could provide a psychological boost to the economy.

US Rep. Bill Janklow (R) of South Dakota said he'd end his 30-year political career after being convicted of manslaughter Monday in a case involving the Aug. 16 death of a motorcyclist. His resignation from the House will take effect Jan. 20. A special election to fill his seat will be held along with the state's June 1 presidential primary.

Boston will become the second US city to turn to Canada for prescription drugs for its employees and retirees, The Boston Globe reported. Mayor Thomas Menino (R) was expected to deliver remarks about the pilot program Tuesday at a City Council hearing. The program, like one already in place in Springfield, Mass., is projected to cut $1 million a year from Boston's $61 million prescription drug bill.

Blood found in the 2002 Mercury Sable of the man charged with kidnapping North Dakota college student Dru Sjodin matches her DNA, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, citing authorities. Bail for Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., a convicted rapist who was released from jail in May, was set at $5 million. But he has chosen to stay in jail out of concern for his safety and is scheduled for arraignment Feb. 6. Sjodin was last heard talking on a cellphone Nov. 22 as she left a Grand Forks, N.D., mall.

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