USA

Bernard Ebbers, the former chief of WorldCom, faced the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison after a jury found him guilty in a $11 billion fraud case. Sentencing is scheduled June 13. The verdict centered on who was more credible: Ebbers, who took the stand in his own defense and denied any involvement in WorldCom's counting, or former finance chief Scott Sullivan, who said Ebbers repeatedly encouraged him to cook the books. Ebbers did not speak to reporters as he left the courtroom Tuesday, but his lawyer vowed to appeal the conviction.

Paul Wolfowitz, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's top deputy and a lightning rod for criticism over US actions in Iraq, was named as President Bush's choice to take over as chief of the World Bank. An American traditionally serves as president of the bank, while a European leads the International Monetary Fund, its sister institution. James Wolfensohn, the current World Bank president, is stepping down June 1 after completing two five-year terms.

US investigators have concluded that 26 prisoner deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002 may be criminal homicides, The New York Times reported. Its story, which cites military officials, says the killings occurred both inside and outside detention areas, with only one taking place at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. The Pentagon has previously acknowledged only six abuse-related deaths.

Responding to what he called a street violence "crisis" of 18 murders in a week, Philadelphia Mayor John Street (D) urged a crackdown on gun ownership. Under state law, 28,000 people have permits to carry guns in Philadelphia, a city of 1.5 million people. That compares with 16,000 such permits in New York, a city more than four times larger. Street said he'd announce within days whether Philadelphia will implement a moratorium on gun permits.

An apparent anthrax discovery at two facilities that handle Pentagon-bound mail was a false alarm, officials concluded. They believe the scare, which temporarily closed the facilities, occurred because a sample of anthrax, kept for comparison purposes, was mixed up at a Defense Department laboratory.

Five sisters and the fiancee of Robert McCartney, a Belfast Catholic whose brutal murder is thought to be the work of Irish Republic Army members, are scheduled to meet Thursday, St. Patrick's Day, with President Bush at the White House.

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