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Married lesbian nominated to Massachusetts Supreme Court

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick on Monday nominated a lesbian who is married to her partner to serve on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

Barbara A. Lenk is the longest-serving justice on the state’s Court of Appeals. If confirmed, she would be the first openly gay member of the state’s highest court, which was the first in the nation to rule same-sex marriage legal in 2003.

Patrick, a Democrat who recently appointed the court’s first Asian-American justice and black chief justice, said it was “a nice coincidence” that Lenk was another history-making choice.

“I like the idea of firsts, as you know,” he said, “and I’m proud of this one. But first and foremost, this is a very well-prepared, highly qualified candidate.”

Lenk, 60, specialized in First Amendment cases as a lawyer in private practice before Gov. William F. Weld, a Republican, made her a Superior Court judge in 1993. Weld also put her on the Court of Appeals.

—Abby Goodnough, The New York Times

Popular singer wins presidency in Haiti in landslide election

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — One of Haiti’s most popular entertainers, a provocative Carnival singer previously best known for disrobing and swearing on stage, was elected president in a landslide, according to results announced Monday, placing him at the helm of a nation still struggling to recover from last year’s earthquake, a cholera epidemic, and chronic poverty.

The singer, Michel Martelly, 50, known as Sweet Micky or Tet Kale (bald head), won 68 percent of the vote in a runoff election two weeks ago that he nearly did not qualify for.

He defeated Mirlande Manigat, 70, a college professor and former first lady, who won 32 percent of the vote.

Election officials did not immediately disclose the election turnout.

If the results hold up, Martelly will take office in May, after President Rene Preval — who could not seek another term under the constitution — steps down. The final results, allowing for a period of appeals, are expected April 16.

—Randal C. Archibold, The New York Times

Despite rumors of leaving CBS, Katie Couric to venture to Iraq

As reports swirled about an impending departure from her anchor position at CBS News, Katie Couric was to embark Tuesday morning on a long-planned trip to Iraq to report on the military and political situation eight years after Baghdad fell to invading U.S. forces.

The trip, which CBS is expected to announce Tuesday, comes as CBS and representatives of Couric repeat their recent denials of an imminent resolution of her status at the network. Her contract with CBS ends June 4.

CBS would not confirm Couric’s plans for this week. But speculation about her future continues to center on an end to her tenure as the anchor of The CBS Evening News and a new career as host of a syndicated daytime talk show.

Several executives who have been involved in the negotiations about Couric’s future said Monday that no deal was in place for Couric’s exit, nor even a determination of her next television destination. Both CBS and NBC — among others — have offers out to Couric to syndicate a talk show with her as the star.

Those offers could include a continuing role in news away from the anchor chair. Two CBS news executives said that taking this kind of news-oriented trip to Iraq would be exactly the sort of thing Couric would be able to do under the terms of a new relationship with a network news division.

—Bill Carter, The New York Times

Security breach exposes email address of millions of people

SAN FRANCISCO — Security experts said Monday that millions of people were at increased risk of email swindles after a giant security breach at an online marketing firm.

The breach exposed the names and email addresses of customers of some of the nation’s largest companies, including JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Target, and Walgreens.

While the number of people affected is unknown, security experts say that based on the businesses involved, the breach may be among the largest ever. And it could lead to a surge in phishing attacks — emails that purport to be from a legitimate business but are intended to steal information like account numbers or passwords.

The marketing firm that suffered the breach, Epsilon, which handles email marketing lists for hundreds of clients, disclosed the problem in a brief statement Friday. But its sheer scale became clear over the weekend and Monday, as banks, retailers, and others began alerting their customers to be on the lookout for fraudulent emails.

The companies that alerted customers or acknowledged being affected also include Barclays Bank, U.S. Bancorp, Walt Disney, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Best Buy, L.L. Bean, Home Shopping Network, TiVo, and the College Board.

—Miguel Helft, The New York Times

September 11 suspects to be tried

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, ending more than a year of indecision with a major policy reversal, will prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other people accused of plotting the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks before a military commission and not a civilian court, as it once planned.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Monday that he has cleared military prosecutors at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to file war-crimes charges against the five detainees in the Sept. 11 case.

Holder had decided in November 2009 to move the case to a federal civilian courtroom in New York City, but the White House abandoned that plan amid a political backlash.

—Charlie Savage, The New York Times