USA

Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged co-conspirator and would-be 20th hijacker in the 2001 terrorist attacks, is expected to plead guilty to the six federal charges against him - perhaps as soon as week's end, The Washington Post reported. It said the move is contingent on his being declared mentally competent by US District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Washington. Citing unnamed sources, the Post said Moussaoui, who holds French citizenship, has written in recent letters that he is willing to accept a death sentence. He tried to plead guilty three years ago but later changed his mind.

Inflation rose 0.7 percent last month, largely because of a surge in the prices of crude oil and gasoline, the Labor Department reported. Energy costs also were blamed for a smaller-than-expected growth in retail sales for the month. Meanwhile, housing starts fell by 17.6 percent in March, their steepest decline in more than 14 years, the Commerce Department said.

By a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court refused to relax the standard by which plaintiffs must prove securities fraud in lawsuits. The justices sided with a pharmaceutical company that was sued for damages by shareholders after its stock value plunged when it failed to win federal approval in 1999 for an asthma drug dispenser. Analysts said the decision could affect pending or future suits against companies such as Enron.

US Rep. Henry Hyde (R) of Illinois announced he will not seek reelection when his term ends next year. Hyde, who represents a suburban Chicago district, has served in Congress since 1974. He chairs the House International Relations Committee and was the House manager in the 1998 impeachment case against President Clinton.

"Monday Night Football," the most-watched weekly sports programing on TV since 1970, will shift next year from ABC to its cable network sibling, ESPN, the companies and the National Football League announced Monday. The move will be for eight years, informed sources said. ABC and ESPN are owned by the Walt Disney Co. At the same time, NFL Sunday night games, now carried by ESPN, will move to NBC-TV.

Fans of distance running were calling Catherine Ndereba of Kenya "Catherine the Great" after she won the women's division of the annual Boston Marathon Monday for a record fourth time, finishing in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 13 seconds. Hailu Negussie of Ethiopia won the men's division in 2:11:45. Alan Culpepper of Lafayette, Colo., placed fourth, the highest finish by an American since 1987. Unseasonable temperatures soared into the 80 degree F. range for the field of 20,453 runners.

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