Sun News Digest

May 25, 2004

NATIONAL Supreme Court rules for inmate

The Supreme Court ruled for the first time yesterday that a death row inmate can pursue a last-ditch claim that lethal injection is unconstitutionally cruel. A convicted Alabama killer claims his veins are so damaged from drug abuse that executioners might have to cut deeply into his flesh to administer the deadly drugs. [Page 3a]

Nader calls for Iraq withdrawal

Ralph Nader delivered a strong call for America to withdraw from Iraq in a speech yesterday before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. The presidential candidate could force Democrat John Kerry to depart from his "stay the course" policy on Iraq if Nader's approach resonates with a significant portion of the Democratic Party's base, as experts say is likely. [Page 3a]

WORLD

U.S., Britain offer Iraq plan

Struggling to build international support for their Iraq strategy, the United States and Britain offered a draft Security Council resolution yesterday in which the new Iraqi government will have an effective veto over the presence of U.S. troops in the country. [Page 1a]

Abuse alleged in Malaysia

Alleged abuse of terrorist suspects in Malaysia included telling them they would be handed over to U.S authorities at Guantanamo Bay, where they would face torture, a Human Rights Watch report says. [Page 9a]

New cracks at Paris airport

More than 30 people were evacuated from part of Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport when new cracking sounds and fissures appeared one day after a roof collapse in a terminal killed four travelers. [Page 9a]

MARYLAND

Murder charges upgraded

Prosecutors played a recording yesterday allegedly made by retired Loyola College professor Donald B. Hofler in which he discusses plans to kill his estranged wife and her 17-year-old son. The tape was played at a hearing in Shrewsbury, Penn., in which the judge agreed to upgrade the charges against Hofler from criminal homicide to first-degree murder. [Page 1b]

Insurance official, leaders meet

State insurance commissioner Alfred W. Redmer Jr. told a hand-picked gathering of industry leaders yesterday that he wanted them to play a role in streamlining laws that govern their business. The meeting had raised criticism about the appearance of a close relationship between Maryland's top insurance regulator and the companies he oversees. [Page 1b]

TODAY

Voting flaws irk `Idol' fans

As the No. 1 Fox show American Idol begins its two-part finale tonight, the chorus of unhappy viewer-voters is growing. In recent weeks, the telephone voting process, touted as proof of American Idol's ultimate respect for its audience, has been exposed as riddled with flaws. [Page 1c]

WWII pilot's remains returned

While the nation focuses on casualties returning from Iraq, soldiers slain in every U.S. conflict since World War II continue a quiet journey home. Tomorrow in Cheltenham, Md., 2nd Lt. John R. Dyer, shot down over Luxembourg in the winter of 1944, will finally get his funeral. [Page 1c]

BUSINESS

Former NYSE chief sued

New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer filed a civil lawsuit yesterday against the former chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard A. Grasso, claiming that the $187.5 million pay package awarded by the Big Board was wholly inappropriate and illegal. [Page 1a]

Projections rise for price index

The National Association for Business Economics said yesterday it now expects the Consumer Price Index - the government's inflation measuring stick - to rise by 2.3 percent this year and by the same percentage next year, well above earlier projections. [Page 1d]

Stock price for pharmacy soars

A $1.5-billion bid for NeighborCare Inc., the Baltimore-based institutional pharmacy, drove up its stock price almost 58 percent yesterday, the largest percentage-gainer on the Nasdaq stock market. [Page 1d]

SPORTS

Agassi loses first round

Andre Agassi lost in the first round of the French Open to a qualifier from France ranked 271st - an upset that rivals the biggest in tennis' Grand Slam history. Jerome Haehnel, playing his first tour-level match at age 23, beat Agassi 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-3. [Page 1e]

Ravens QB needs time to heal

Surgery on Ravens backup quarterback Anthony Wright's shoulder was successful, but he will be unable to throw a football for the next four months, meaning the team will have to sign a backup quarterback. The Ravens will likely place Wright on the physically-unable-to-perform list, which would put the sixth-year veteran out the first six weeks of the season. [Page 1e]

Pistons top Pacers, 72-67

Tayshaun Prince sprinted downcourt to block a breakaway layup by Reggie Miller that would have tied the game, and the Detroit Pistons put on another dominant display of defense to defeat the Indiana Pacers, 72-67. The Pistons evened the Eastern Conference finals at one game apiece. [Page 3e]

TODAY ONLINE

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

"While I am the insurance industry regulator, at heart I am a business guy."

State Insurance Commissioner Alfred W. Redmer Jr., speaking to a group of insurance industry leaders.

MARKETS

DOW -- DOWN

-8.31

9,958.43

NASDAQ -- UP

+1098

1,922.98

S&P -- UP

+1.85

1,095.41

SUN INDEX -- UP

+2.87

263.97

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