Energized by a first-place finish in Iowa's Democratic caucuses, US Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts predicted, "We're going to continue to climb." Kerry spoke in Manchester, N.H., while campaigning for the state's first-in-the-nation presidential primary next Tuesday. Kerry drew 38 percent support at the caucuses Monday night, followed closely by Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, at 32 percent. Ex-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean came in third with 18 percent. But in a spirited speech to supporters, Dean vowed: "We will not quit now, or ever.

US Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri will withdraw from the race for the Democratic nomination, a party official confirmed, after a disappointing fourth-place finish in Iowa. Gephardt was scheduled to announce his decision at a speech in St. Louis as the Monitor went to press.

At the start of her federal trial in New York, home-decor diva Martha Stewart reaffirmed her "not guilty" plea. Lawyers for both sides then began quizzing potential jurors - in private, due to intense media interest. Stewart is charged with lying to investigators, with obstruction, and with securities fraud in connection with her sale of ImClone stock in December 2001, hours before it plummeted. Her former broker, Peter Bacanovic, also is charged in the case.

The Salvation Army said it is "thrilled, but genuinely humbled" by a $1.5 billion bequest from the widow of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc. Joan Kroc, who died in October, directed that her gift be used to develop a network of community centers across the country, the charitable group announced. Among her other beneficiaries are National Public Radio's endowment fund ($200 million) and the University of Notre Dame ($50 million), the news service reported.

Conservative Episcopalians were to adopt a framework for a "church within a church" as they wrapped up a two-day conference in Plano, Texas. One hundred bishops, priests, and lay members convened in response to the consecration last year of an open homosexual as bishop of New Hampshire. Attendees claim to represent 12 dioceses with 235,000 people, or one-tenth of the faith's US membership.

Negotiations to end a hostage standoff were continuing for a third day at a prison on the outskirts of Phoenix, corrections officials said. Two inmates overpowered a pair of guards Sunday, slightly injuring one of them in the process.

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