USA

Four-term Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry effectively wrapped up the Democratic nomination for president with a "Super Tuesday" tour de force, sweeping all but one of 10 state primary and caucus elections and collecting a motherlode of delegates for this summer's party convention in Boston. Kerry improved his overall record during the six-week Democratic race to 28-of-30, easily capturing such populous states as California, New York, and Ohio. He lost only in Vermont, where ex-Gov. Howard Dean, who previously withdrew his candidacy, won. The results convinced North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Kerry's last remaining serious rival, to schedule a news conference as the Monitor went to press to quit the race. President Bush telephoned to congratulate Kerry as he prepared to fatten up his sizable $153-million reelection war chest with fundraising appearances in Texas and California.

In a resounding vote of confidence for Gov. Arnold Schwarze-negger (R) and his financial vision for their state, Californians overwhelmingly passed two propositions he'd pushed that for the first time will use bond financing to slash the state debt. Proposition 57 will allow the sale of $15 billion in bonds before June to refinance the existing $9 billion deficit and close future budget shortfalls. Passage of the measures was the first major test of Schwarzenegger's political clout since he assumed office after a recall election that removed Gray Davis (D) five months ago.

A GOP-sponsored bill that would have shielded gunmakers from liability in lawsuits stemming from the commission of crimes was scuttled by a 90-to-8 vote in the Senate. Republicans withdrew their support after Demo-crats succeeded in adding provisions that would have extended the assault-weapons ban and required background checks for gun show purchases, measures the National Rifle Association opposes. The vote basically eliminates any hope for passing gun legislation this year.

Jason West, the mayor of New Paltz, N.Y., was charged by his county's district attorney with 19 misdemeanor counts of marrying same-sex couples. The state's first elected Green Party municipal leader said he intends to go ahead with plans to facilitate more same-sex weddings this weekend.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson told an estimated 3,000 marchers at a rally outside Florida's Capitol in Tallahassee that the US bears partial responsibility for the ouster of democratically elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He accused the administration of not doing more to "protect" democracies.

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