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Torre Declines Yankees’ Offer, Ends an Era of Success

It was the longest-running and most successful show in the Bronx in decades, running from 1996 through 2007 and stretching into October every season. By the end, it was playing to sold-out crowds almost nightly, and there were moments of magic that may never be repeated.

But the curtain fell on the Joe Torre Era on Thursday when Torre, who will someday enter the Hall of Fame for his work as the Yankees’ manager, rejected the team’s one-year contract offer to stay. The Yankees said they would begin a search for a new manager.

Torre flew to Tampa, Fla., Thursday to meet with the team’s principal owner, George Steinbrenner, after two days of organizational meetings had ended with no announcement. The Yankees offered Torre $5 million, but he could have earned an additional $3 million — and a guaranteed $8 million salary in 2009 — if he had led the Yankees to the World Series next season.

The salary would have kept Torre as the highest-paid manager in the majors, but the guaranteed portion would have represented a cut from his present salary, which averaged $6.4 million over the last three seasons. In each year of that contract, the Yankees lost in the first round of the playoffs.

Trying to Decipher the Justices on the State of the Death Penalty

Is there a death penalty moratorium now in place, and how would we know?

The Supreme Court has granted two stays of execution and refused to vacate a third in the three weeks since it agreed to hear a challenge to Kentucky’s use of lethal injection.

On Thursday, the Georgia Supreme Court became the latest state court to interpret the justices’ actions as a signal to suspend at least some executions. It granted a stay to Jack Alderman, who had been scheduled to die by lethal injection on Friday night for murdering his wife 33 years ago.

The top criminal court in Texas, a state that accounts for 405 of the 1,099 executions carried out in this country since 1976, has indicated that it will permit no more executions until the Supreme Court rules, sometime next spring. The Nevada Supreme Court this week postponed all executions in that state. The governor of Alabama gave one inmate a 45-day reprieve. The country’s most recent execution took place in Texas on the night of Sept. 25, hours after the Supreme Court announced its review of the Kentucky case.

Panel Reviews Eavesdropping Compromise

The Senate Intelligence Committee met late Thursday to review proposed compromise legislation that would strengthen court oversight of eavesdropping on Americans while granting telephone and Internet companies legal immunity for their role in assisting government surveillance programs since 2001.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the Democratic chairman, and Sen. Christopher S. Bond of Missouri, the Republican vice chairman, reached a tentative agreement Wednesday on the compromise measure. But some Democrats on the committee, including Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, objected to the immunity and the fate of the proposal was uncertain.

House Democrats have also raised questions about the compromise, which emerged after the Bush administration agreed to share documents related to the secret eavesdropping program with the Senate committee.