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Briefs (left)

Google Posts
60 Percent Gain in Earnings

By Saul Hansell

Google returned to favor among investors Thursday as its profit for the first quarter increased 60 percent, well above expectations.

Three months ago, the company disappointed investors, even though its profit grew 82 percent, and its stock sagged. This time, Google’s ascent was enough to satisfy.

“Investors, surprisingly, acted rationally this quarter and had low expectations,” said Safa Rashtchy, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co.

Google’s stock rose about 8 percent in after-hours trading after the announcement, recouping its losses since the last earnings report.

Pointing to particulars behind its successful quarter, the company said its market share of searches continued to grow around the world, as did the money it earned from advertising for each search result displayed.

Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, said the market share increase might be related to the use of some of the company’s new products, like Google Video, Google Earth and Google Maps, as well as the introduction of Google News in several countries.

These services attract people to Google’s site, where they may also conduct searches, he said. “They drive the branding,” he said in an interview, referring to the new services that the company is steadily rolling out. “All of a sudden Google is top of mind again, over and over again.”

Security Concerns Raised
About Memorial at Ground Zero

By David W. Dunlap

Gov. George E. Pataki’s senior adviser for counterterrorism has concluded that the design for the memorial at ground zero leaves it vulnerable to a terrorist attack and has called on the architects to consider revising several critical aspects.

Calling the 9/11 memorial a potentially attractive target, the adviser, James K. Kallstrom, expressed concern in a recent letter about the threat of bombs or a chemical release on the ramps or in the two immense open-air voids at the heart of the memorial. Thousands of people are expected to gather every day within the tower footprints.

Kallstrom’s findings were laid out in a confidential letter to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., dated March 3. A copy of the six-page letter was mailed anonymously to The New York Times and received this week. There was no way to assess the sender’s motives.

“The memorial complex possesses an elevated level of risk and target attractiveness, as a result of its international stature and large public assembly capacity,” Kallstrom wrote.

Moussaoui Claim Acknowledged
As Bogus

By Neil A. Lewis

The prosecution acknowledged Thursday that even the government’s chief investigators do not believe the claim of Zacarias Moussaoui that Richard Reid, known as the shoe-bomber, was to help him fly a jetliner into the White House on Sept. 11.

The jury that is considering whether to order either the death penalty or life imprisonment for Moussaoui was presented a document saying that Federal Bureau of Investigation analysts agreed that Reid was never meant to be part of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The document, read to jurors by one of Moussaoui’s court-appointed lawyers, was a “substitution” agreed to by prosecutors rather than having Reid brought from prison in Colorado where he is serving a life sentence for his attempt to ignite a bomb in his shoe on American Flight 63 on Dec. 22, 2001.