Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

May 12, 2004

NATIONAL

U.S. contractor beheaded in Iraq

The decapitation of a U.S. contractor orchestrated by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi marks a new phase in the terrorist campaign by al-Qaida-related forces in Iraq. The execution was shown on a Web site used for al-Qaida and Islamic extremist groups' statements and tapes. [Page 1a]

Leadership faulted by general

Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba said that "a failure of leadership" at Abu Ghraib prison allowed the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers. Taguba, author of an Army report on the abuse, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. [Page 1a]

A `C' on first health report card

The first national report card on the quality of U.S. health care, based on the largest study of health care quality, concludes that American adults receive about half of the recommended care that they should. [Page 3a]

WORLD

Israeli troop-carrier blast kills 6

Palestinian fighters blew up an Israeli troop carrier in the Gaza Strip yesterday, killing six soldiers and making off with some of the body parts. [Page 10a]

Bush bans most exports to Syria

President Bush banned all U.S. exports to Syria, except food and medicine, amid lengthy complaints that the country was not supporting the war on terrorism and was undermining U.S. efforts in Iraq. [Page 10a]

MARYLAND

Poole and Kent gets target letter

Poole and Kent Co., a Baltimore contracting company with close ties to former state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell and his wife, was sent a target letter by federal prosecutors saying it is the subject of a federal probe. [Page 1a]

Three killed in accident on I-95

Three people were killed and two were injured yesterday afternoon in a five-vehicle accident on Interstate 95 just north of the Fort McHenry Tunnel toll plaza. [Page 1b]

Democrats OK with slots session

Democratic leaders in the House of Delegates met privately and said they would support a summer General Assembly session to authorize a referendum legalizing slot machines if the governor backs the plan. [Page 1b]

O'Malley rebuts in espanol

Mayor Martin O'Malley delivered a rebuttal - in Spanish - to recent remarks by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Comptroller William Donald Schaefer deriding multiculturalism and people who don't speak English. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

White Sox batter Orioles, 15-0

The Orioles were routed by the White Sox, 15-0, ending a three-game winning streak. Shortstop Miguel Tejada suffered a shin injury that could jeopardize his consecutive-games streak, and pitcher Sidney Ponson was pounded for seven runs in six innings. [Page 1c]

Bryant pleads not guilty of rape

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped a woman at a resort hotel near Vail, Colo., in June last year. A trial date has not been set for Bryant, who has said he had consensual sex with the 19-year-old woman. [Page 2c]

No charges against Colo. players

Colorado's attorney general declined to file charges in nine alleged sexual assaults involving Colorado University football players, noting concerns about evidence and the reluctance of women to pursue the cases. [Page 7c]

BUSINESS

Tethered balloon could be gone

The tethered balloon that has floated over Baltimore will rise again Memorial Day. Because the company that started it wasn't able to pay its bills, the Abell Foundation stepped in to help the balloon through the season. After that, it could be gone. [Page 1d]

11th in social, economic health

Maryland ranks 11th in the nation in key categories that measure the social and economic health of areas, according to a guide by the National Policy Research Council, a Washington think tank. Baltimore was 42nd in an overall ranking of 50 cities. [Page 1d]

Crude-oil price highest since '90

The price of crude oil roared past $40 a barrel in New York, to the highest finish since October 1990, as supply fears returned, stirred by strong demand and tension in the Middle East. [Page 2d]

TODAY

Injuries sideline Nelson, Dion

Willie Nelson and Celine Dion canceled concerts for injuries. Nelson needs surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. and will miss two months. . Dion is off three nights in Las Vegas for a neck sprain. [Page 2e]

Workers back off Cannes protests

Cannes Film Festival will open today uninterrupted as organizers agree to let French entertainment workers air grievances over unemployment benefits. Protests had threatened to ruin the party, expected to generate as much as $155 million. [Page 3e]

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Few of us would be here if our non-English speaking relatives hadn't struggled for a few years - or decades - to learn English."

Mayor Martin O'Malley, on Comptroller William Donald Schaefer's complaints about a McDonald's cashier who couldn't speak English. (Article, Page 1B)

Today Online

PRISON ABUSE Q&A

Read a Q&A on the abuse of inmates at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison by The Sun's Pentagon reporter, Tom Bowman. www.baltimoresun.com/iraq

SEE A CICADA MOLT

See a cicada emerge from its shell in a time-lapse film by Sun photographer Jerry Jackson. Also, read a Q&A about cicadas by Sun reporters Frank Roylance and Michael Stroh. www.baltimoresun.com/cicadas

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