USA

Former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling, a codefendant in one of the most scandalous business collapses in history, resumed testifying Tuesday in the 11-week-old fraud and conspiracy trial in Houston. Under questioning by his lawyer the day before, Skilling declared himself "absolutely innocent" of lying about the energy-trading giant's finances to investors and employees. "Not in my wildest dreams," he said, did he envision the disintegration of the company. Prosecutors are expected to cross-examine Skilling, who stands accused with Enron founder Kenneth Lay, later in the week.

NASA announced plans for an unmanned mission to the moon in 2008 that is "going to give us a real definitive understanding of what we have up there," an agency spokesman said. In tag-team fashion, the plan calls for a two-ton probe to crash into a lunar crater, creating a hole 16 feet deep. A monitoring satellite will then fly through a resulting plume of debris to collect data.

With forecasters calling for rain to continue through the weekend, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) of California declared a state of emergency in seven northern and central counties where reservoirs are at capacity. "There's great vulnerability in the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Valley," he said. Officials are keeping a close eye on aging levees, some of which have broken in recent weeks.

Prosecutors in the death-penalty trial of Zacarias Moussaoui said they intend to close their case Wednesday in Alexandria, Va., after calling more than 40 victim-impact witnesses to share emotional testimony about losing loved ones during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Moussaoui was convicted of lying to federal agents about his knowledge of the planned attacks. His lawyers claim Moussaoui is mentally ill and stands to become a martyr to terrorists if he is executed.

Outlet stores generally sell high-quality goods but not always at rock-bottom prices, according to Consumer Reports. In a survey of outlet shoppers for the magazine's May issue, 77 percent said merchandise was up to the quality they bought at full-price stores. Only a third, however, said that the prices were substantially lower than sale-priced goods in regular stores.

Merck & Co. said it would appeal a jury's award of $9 million in punitive damages Tuesday to John McDarby, who blamed his heart attack on misrepresentations about the risks of taking Merck's Vioxxx arthritis drug.

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