Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

May 17, 2004

NATIONAL

Gay couples get marriage forms

Same-sex couples began receiving applications for marriage licenses early today at Cambridge's City Hall in Massachusetts, making the state the first to sanction same-sex unions. Across the state, gay-rights advocates held parties yesterday to celebrate the impending nuptials while opponents planned protests. [Page 3a]

Kerry hits Bush on trade deals

Saying President Bush has turned his back on the American worker by allowing other countries to break trade deals negotiated with the United States, John Kerry told thousands of cheering Teamsters Union leaders at their annual convention that he would strengthen bargaining on and enforcement of trade agreements if elected. [Page 9a]

MEDICINE & SCIENCE

Rare Venus transit nears

One June 8, Maryland and most of the inhabited world will witness one of the rarest spectacles in nature, as the planet Venus moves in silhouette between the sun and the Earth. The Transit of Venus is the most infrequent of so-called "eclipses," having last occurred in 1882. [Page 13a]

WORLD

Arabs slow to react, says Powell

Speaking from Jordan during talks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell expressed disappointment that Arab leaders have been slow to condemn the beheading of American civilian Nick Berg in Iraq. Berg's killers said his execution was revenge for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. [Page 1a]

Israel to raze more Gaza homes

Israel is continuing with plans to demolish hundreds more homes near the Egyptian border in the Gaza Strip to prevent weapons smuggling, despite U.S. opposition. Meanwhile, Israeli gunships fired on an office run by Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, part of the military's plan to expand the use of air strikes. [Page 11a]

U.S. to speed drug approvals

The Bush administration plans to speed the approval process for generic and combination anti-retroviral drugs so they can be bought at lower prices by millions of infected people in Africa and the Caribbean. The shift in policy aims to encourage manufacturers to produce fixed-dose combinations to ease delivery of drugs in remote areas. [Page 16a]

MARYLAND

2 charged in twins' deaths

A 17-year-old girl and a 24-year-old man living in an abandoned Northeast Baltimore rowhouse were arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the deaths last week of their 1-month-old twin girls. Autopsies disclosed the girls were badly beaten. City Health Commissioner Dr. Peter L. Beilenson said the couple has another child who was taken from them by Child Protective Services because of abuse. [Page 1a]

Fears arise on historic block

A stretch of Wilkens Avenue in Southwest Baltimore has the distinction of being the city's longest unbroken residential block - 52 rowhouses and two end storefronts. But neighbors are concerned that a handful of boarded and unoccupied buildings on the 2600 block of Wilkens might catch fire or deteriorate to the point of collapse, leaving gaps along the street. [Page 1b]

Hearing to probe lab tests

A congressional hearing tomorrow will examine issues arising from the laboratory breakdowns at Maryland General Hospital that sent patients more than 450 questionable HIV and hepatitis test results. Rep. Elijah Cummings, whose district includes the Baltimore hospital, arranged for the hearing. [Page 1b]

TODAY

Kerrey seen as empathetic

Those who know former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey aren't surprised by the questions he raises as a member of the Sept. 11 Commission. And, knowing he has seen the dark side of the human heart, they might not be surprised that he has empathy for Lynndie England, a key figure in the Iraqi prison abuse photographs. [Page 1c]

SPORTS

Ponson shuts out Angels

Sidney Ponson's pitches a five-hitter, leading the Orioles to a 4-0 win over the Angels. The Orioles avoided a three-game sweep as Ponson turned in his third career shutout and second complete game of the season. [Page 1d]

Navy advances in lacrosse

The No. 2 Navy men's lacrosse team routs Pennsylvania, 11-5, in a first-round NCAA tournament game. It was the Mids' first tournament victory since 1989. Navy travels to Ithaca, N.Y., on Sunday to face sixth-seeded Cornell. [Page 1d]

Olympian Jones threatens suit

Olympic track athlete Marion Jones threatened legal action if the United States Olympic Committee attempts to keep her out of the Summer Games by using testimony from the grand jury investigation into BALCO, a company accused of trafficking in designer steroids and other banned substances. "To keep an athlete out of the Olympic Games because of something that's not been tested for, that's totally unfair," Jones said at the Olympic Committee's Media Summit in New York. [Page 1d]

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"There is anger in the Arab world about some of our actions, but that is no excuse for any silence on the part of any Arab leader for this kind of murder."

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on the execution of American civilian Nick Berg. (Article, Page 1A)

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