Bad News for Elephants?

* Some African countries got permission yesterday to start selling ivory again.

The decision was made by a United Nations panel meeting in Chile to discuss endangered species.

Delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (known as CITES) voted to let Botswana and Namibia hold one-time sales of 30 tons of ivory from their stockpiles in 2004. South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia also might get permission to sell ivory, made from the tusks of elephants.

Ivory is highly prized for making ornaments and jewelry. The sale of ivory has been banned since 1989. Environmentalists warned that letting it be sold again would lead to more elephants being killed.

"This is a dangerous sign for the elephants of Africa," said Michael Wamithi of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. He predicted that an "avalanche of poachers . . . are going to get into our national parks and threaten our elephants."

The deal included conservation measures that will prevent poaching, said Joe Matlhare of the Botswana delegation.

Before the ban, the number of African elephants fell to 600,000, from about 1.2 million, in just over a decade.

Teenaged Sniper Victim Leaves Hospital

* The 13-year-old Bowie boy shot by a sniper as he walked to school was released from Children's Hospital on Monday.

The boy, whose name has not been reported because he is a considered a witness to a crime, was critically wounded after being shot in front of Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie.

The bullet was linked to the sniper suspects John Allen Muhammad, 41, and John Lee Malvo, 17. They are to be tried first in Virginia.

-- From staff and wire reports

Some elephant tusks, such as these in South Africa, may be sold in 2004.