Blacks May Boycott

Georgia Flag Vote

ATLANTA -- Civil rights leaders warned yesterday that blacks would boycott a statewide referendum on bringing back the old Georgia flag with its large Confederate emblem.

Black leaders said it would be insulting to even ask blacks to consider the question.

"Would you expect the Jewish community to participate in a campaign to raise the swastika?" said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, former head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) has proposed a statewide vote in 2004 on whether to bring back the flag that flew from 1956 to 2001. In 2001, in hopes of avoiding racial turmoil, the Legislature changed the flag to reduce the large Confederate emblem to a small insignia.

It is up to the Legislature to decide whether to hold the referendum, which as proposed by the governor would be nonbinding.

2 Marines Charged

In Parachute Sabotage

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Two Marines have been charged with attempted murder in the sabotage of more than a dozen parachutes that left three soldiers slightly injured last fall, the military said.

Lance Cpl. Antoine Boykins, 21, of Baltimore and Lance Cpl. Julian Ramirez, 25, of Los Angeles were charged Feb. 12. They have been jailed since January.

A base spokesman, Staff Sgt. Jay Connolly, declined comment on a possible motive for the sabotage and said he did not know what sentences the charges carry.

* NEWARK -- A dog stranded on a chunk of ice in the middle of the Passaic River was brought ashore by rescuers in a rowboat who spent three hours fighting the current and dodging ice floes to reach the animal. An animal shelter worker and a fire captain set out in the 8-foot boat after somebody reported seeing the 40-pound Rottweiler mix.

* KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Circuit Judge Lee Wells upheld a verdict in favor of a cancer patient who received watered-down drugs from a pharmacist, but cut damages from $2.2 billion to $330 million. Wells ruled Tuesday in the case against Robert Courtney, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison in December after pleading guilty to diluting two cancer medications.

-- From News Services