5 Pounds of Media Hoopla

First Baby of '03 Has 2 Moms The first baby to arrive this year in the Washington area was 5-pound 2-ounce Liana Rubin Bare, who was born to two mothers: Helen Rubin, 33, who gave birth, and Joanna Bare, 35, Rubin's partner.

The baby, conceived by artificial insemination and born a minute into 2003, was greeted by all the usual media hoopla reserved for New Year's babies -- a news conference at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital and front-page coverage.

At the news conference, Rubin and Bare said that they have moved from Virginia to Maryland so that Bare can adopt Liana and have full parental rights. In Virginia, only a single person or a member of a married couple may adopt.

Rubin and Bare have been together for 12 years.

Homicides Rose During 2002

D.C., Pr. George's Bear Brunt

Nearly 500 people were killed in homicides in the Washington area in 2002, a 12 percent increase over the previous year's total. Most of the killings continued to take place in the urban areas of the District and Prince George's County. But in Fairfax County, the total went from 12 last year to 20 this year, police said.

Arlington also had an increase from three in 2001 to six last year. The higher numbers mirror a national trend.

In the region, the sniper killings accounted for 10 of the deaths.

Tuition Grant Program Faces Cuts

State Budget Shortfall Forces Review Virginia's private colleges are fighting to preserve a program that provides tuition subsidies to about 17,000 residents who attend private institutions in the state. The 30-year-old Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant program is considered a likely target for cuts as Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) and the General Assembly try to plug a $1.2 billion budget shortfall. Over the past year, the annual grants were sliced by more than 25 percent and come to about $2,217 per undergraduate.

Supporters say the program plays a crucial role in educating taxpaying Virginians. Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax) said that as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, he would block cuts to the program.

Malvo's Defense to See Statements

Sniper Suspect Talked to Police

A Fairfax judge ruled that prosecutors must provide John Lee Malvo's defense team with copies of statements the teenager made to police about the sniper shootings in Fairfax and Prince William counties.

Malvo's attorneys said the order, by Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Kimberly J. Daniel, was an important victory as they prepare for Jan. 14 hearing to determine whether Malvo's case should be transferred to adult court. There, if convicted, the 17-year-old could face the death penalty.

Daniel ruled that Malvo's attorneys are entitled to some -- but not all -- of the conversations their client had with authorities because of the "complexity and severity" of the case.

Mandatory Luggage Screening Begins

Reagan National, Dulles Report Few Delays

New security procedures requiring the screening of all checked luggage at the nation's airports for explosives began Wednesday. The date met a federally imposed Jan. 1 deadline. Passengers at Reagan National and Dulles International airports reported few problems and delays on the first day, which was a light one for travel.

At National, luggage is scanned in the lobby in full view of passengers. At Dulles, screening is done in lower-level baggage areas. Airport authorities said they will be watching closely should the screening cause delays as traffic volume builds.

Dilapidated Sites to Be Listed

New Arlington Official Seeks Changes

In Arlington, the new county board chairman, Charles P. Monroe (D) asked the county manager to assemble a list of the 50 most dilapidated properties. A public list would be the first step toward ridding the close-in suburb of run-down eyesores, Monroe said.

First of 2003: Liana Rubin Bare arrived at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital. Liana has two mothers, who have moved to Maryland because Virginia does not permit second-parent adoption.