Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

May 05, 2004

WORLD

Afghan abuse allegations probed

Over the last nine months, two human rights groups released reports alleging abuse of U.S.-held prisoners in Afghanistan, but gained scant attention. Now amid an Iraqi prisoner scandal, the Army said it is investigating Afghan allegations as well. [Page 1a]

Scandal threatens U.S. treaty role

Concern is growing that a century of American leadership in building international treaties banning torture is unraveling amid the scandal over treatment of Iraqi prisoners. [Page 4a]

4 U.S. troops die in Iraq

Shiite fighters in Iraq hit coalition positions in Najaf and Karbala with mortar fire. No coalition casualties were reported, but four U.S. soldiers died when their vehicle overturned north of Baghdad. [Page 12a]

NATIONAL

Calif. wildfires force evacuations

Southern California's first wildfires of the season burned homes and brushland and forced thousands of people to evacuate, portending what could be an especially dangerous summer. A man was charged with negligently setting the largest blaze. [Page 3a]

Kerry inconsistent, Bush charges

President Bush, on the second day of his Yes, America Can campaign bus tour of the Midwest, continued to hammer away at Sen. John Kerry, accusing him of flip-flopping on issues. [Page 3a]

MEDICINE & SCIENCE

Babies to be stem-cell donors

Five healthy babies were born from embryos created in a Chicago laboratory so they could serve as stem-cell donors for seriously ill siblings. Ethicists see major issues as the science of genetic screening and trait selection advances.[Page 1a]

MARYLAND

$2 million pledged to Calvert Hall

The widow of football legend George B. Young has pledged $2 million to help build an academic building and provide scholarships at his alma mater, Calvert Hall College High School. It is the largest gift in the Towson prep school's history. Young, a 1948 graduate, coached there and for the NFL's Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins, but is best known for his 19 years as general manager of the New York Giants. [Page 1b]

BUSINESS

VA drug purchasing praised

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a muscular approach to drug purchasing that is the envy of private employers and insurers struggling with rocketing prescription prices that are the highest in the world. The VA, by contrast, pays roughly half of U.S. retail pharmacy prices. It is the model favored by consumer advocates for the new Medicare drug program. [Page 1c]

Blue Cross conversions studied

A decade ago, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association broke with tradition and said members could convert to for-profit businesses. A cascade of conversions followed, until last year when Maryland blocked a planned conversion by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. Since then, the conversions have virtually stopped and experts are debating whether the halt is likely to be permanent. [Page 1a]

No Fed action on short-term rates

Federal Reserve policy-makers held key short-term interest rates steady at a 46-year low yesterday, but, faced with a humming economy, said rates can rise at a measured pace. [Page 1c]

TODAY

Artists owed millions in royalties

The world's five largest record corporations agreed yesterday to track down and pay artists owed back royalties of about $50 million. Most are lesser-known artists, but David Bowie, Sean P. Diddy Combs and Dolly Parton are also due checks. [Page 1d]

`Nightline' not hurt by blackout

Nielsen Media Research reports that the Nightline telecast Friday of Ted Koppel reading the names of U.S. military killed in Iraq drew a bigger audience than usual despite the Sinclair Broadcast Group's refusal to air it on its seven ABC stations. [Page 2d]

SPORTS

Work pace frantic in Athens

The Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, will begin 100 days from today. Frantic work -- including on the main stadium -- continues around the clock in the city as organizers attempt to have all the venues finished by the end of June. [Page 1e]

O's end skid with 10-3 win

Second baseman Brian Roberts had three hits, tied a club record with four stolen bases and scored four runs to spark the Orioles to a 10-3 victory over the White Sox at Camden Yards. Rodrigo Lopez pitched four innings of one-hit relief to get the win for the Orioles, who ended a three-game losing streak.[Page 1e]

Telfair declares for NBA draft

Brooklyn basketball star Sebastian Telfair declared his eligibility for the NBA draft. The 18-year-old point guard, a projected first-round pick, had committed to play in college at Louisville, but signed with an agent and picked up a six-year, $15 million endorsement deal with Adidas. [Page 2e]

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"We never asked to be discovered. Undiscover us and let us alone."

Hope Marston, 77, of Locust Point, where redevelopment and gentrification are driving up property values and taxes. (Article, Page 1B)

COMPLETE IRAQ COVERAGE

The Web site offers daily updated coverage of the Iraqi prison abuse scandal along with all The Sun's stories on the scandal and the Iraq war, dating from its start. www.baltimoresun.com/iraq

SNAKEHEADS Q & A

How fast does a northern snakehead fish move on land? Find out in a Q & A by The Sun's Dennis O'Brien. All of The Sun's coverage of the fish is on the Web. www.baltimoresun.com/snakeheads

MARKETS

DOW -- UP

+3.20

10,317.20

NASDAQ -- UP

+11.76

1,950.48

S&P -- UP

+2.02

1,119.51

SUNINDEX -- UP

+1.01

268.66

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