Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

July 17, 2004

NATIONAL

Cholesterol conflict of interest

Most of the heart disease experts who have urged greater use of cholesterol-lowering drugs made money from companies selling them, consumer groups say. They criticized new cholesterol guidelines as tainted by the influence of pharmaceuticals. [Page 3a]

Wolves rebounding, Norton says

The gray wolf, which nearly disappeared in the lower 48 states in the 1950s, has made such a strong comeback that it should be removed from federal protection from Maine to the Dakotas, Interior Secretary Gale Norton proposed. Norton said she expects environmental groups will sue to block the change. [Page 3a]

WORLD

Fire kills 84 Indian children

Flames swept through a thatch-roofed school in Kumbakonam, India, trapping dozens of children who tried in vain to escape after many of their teachers fled. At least 84 children were killed and 22 injured. [Page 12a]

Palestinian security shake-up

Two senior Palestinian security officials resigned yesterday and the prime minister called an emergency session on the future of his government after a wave of kidnappings, including those of four French citizens and a Palestinian police chief. [Page 12a]

MARYLAND

Washington reprimands DiBiagio

Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey issued a rare public rebuke to Maryland U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio yesterday. In a letter released to the media, Comey told DiBiagio that all public corruption cases from his office must be reviewed and approved by Washington. The letter was written one day after The Sun published copies of DiBiagio's recent directives pressuring his prosecutors for convictions of elected officials and "front page" indictments by November. [Page 1a]

Indicted father was investigated

A Baltimore grand jury indicted a man yesterday in the death of his 2-month-old daughter in June. Acurtiss Grimes, 23, was investigated by Child Protective Services and police in the near-death of his infant son last year in Baltimore County, police documents show. But Grimes was not charged after the investigation into the broken ribs of his 5-month-old son in January 2003. [Page 1a]

Hubble advocate to resign

The director of the Space Telescope Science Institute said he will step down in September 2005 to avoid further trouble for the institute. Steven V.W. Beckwith, director of the institute since 1998, has waged a highly visible battle with NASA to extend the life of the Hubble Space Telescope. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

McAlister questions his future

Chris McAlister flew from California to speak with Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome in person about McAlister's contract dispute, and after the two went their separate ways in the team parking lot, the team's star cornerback questioned his future with the Ravens for the first time. McAlister also left up in the air whether he will report to training camp on time. [Page 1c]

O's fall, 2-0, to Tampa Bay

Fill-in left-handed starter John Halama held the Orioles to three hits over eight innings as the host Tampa Bay Devil Rays ended a five-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory. The Orioles fell to 9-20 against left-handed starters this season. [Page 1c]

BUSINESS

Stewart gets 5-month term

Apologizing to supporters for a "small personal matter" that became "an almost fatal circus event," Martha Stewart was sentenced yesterday to five months in prison and five months of home detention and fined $30,000 for the stock-trading cover-up that upended her life, her company and her finely groomed image. The prison sentence was stayed pending an expected appeal. [Page 1a]

PNC expands its reach

PNC Financial Services Group Inc.'s $779 million deal to buy the scandal-ridden Riggs National Corp. could signal a major shift in the mid-Atlantic region's competitive financial landscape. The deal gives the Pittsburgh-based banking company entry into the wealthy Washington area, including its Maryland suburbs. [Page 8c]

Western Md. projects urged

Viewing major investments as a solution to economic distress in Western Maryland, a state commission called yesterday for constructing a dam, a coal-fired power plant, a wind tower manufacturing facility and a major north-south highway to help boost Allegany and Garrett counties. [Page 8c]

TODAY

Unfinished U2 CD disappears

A CD of unreleased music from U2 disappeared this week while the Irish rock band was posing for the album cover near Nice, France. Police said it was unclear whether the CD had been stolen. The first new studio album from U2 since 2000 is scheduled for release this fall. [Page 2d]

Steinbeck's heirs sue

The son and granddaughter of author John Steinbeck filed suit Thursday, seeking greater ownership of his classic novels and at least $18 million in damages. The suit alleges a conspiracy by the estate of his third wife, Elaine Steinbeck, to cheat them of royalties and copyright control. [Page 2d]

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"We can never allow political considerations -- or the perception of such considerations -- to taint the work done by our dedicated investigators and prosecutors."

Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, in a written rebuke to Maryland U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio (Article, Page 1A)

MARKETS

DOW

-23.38

10,139.78

NASDAQ

-29.56

1,883.15

S&P

-5.30

1,101.39

SUNINDEX

-1.24

263.37

TODAY ONLINE

DIBIAGIO'S WOES

Read the letter from Deputy U.S. Attorney General James B. Comey to Maryland U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio commenting on fallout from a recently revealed meeting agenda and e-mails. www.baltimoresun.com/dibiagio

CRAB CITY

Find somewhere to crack a cold one and pick a crab at www.baltimoresun.com/crabs

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