Best & Worst 2004

UPDATED 12/27/2004 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 12/27/2004 at 01:00 AM EST

Case Dismissed

After more than a year of bitter accusations, courthouse leaks and a cost of nearly $400,000 to Colorado taxpayers, Kobe Bryant's accuser dropped the rape case against him. The Lakers star, whose team was drubbed by Detroit in the NBA finals, apologized for "the consequences [the woman] has suffered." A civil suit is pending.

PROFILE IN COURAGE

She was vice presidential candidate John Edwards's rock during a tumultuous and bitter campaign. Since the day after the election, Elizabeth Edwards has displayed that same steely resolve in her battle against breast cancer, expressing the hope that her diagnosis will spur women to care for their health. After 16 weeks of chemotherapy, the mother of three will likely undergo surgery, followed by radiation treatment. "We're just doing what most American families do," she says. "We're facing whatever comes our way."

THE SCREAMS

Noisemakers:
A. Creating sparks at the GOP Convention.
B. Sparring with Taiwan photogs.
C. The politically ruinous rebel yell.
D. A masterpiece goes missing from Oslo's Munch Museum.

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