Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

July 18, 2004

NATIONAL

Los Alamos lab shut down

Prompted by security lapses and safety accidents, the director of Los Alamos National Laboratory has halted nearly all operations at the nuclear weapons facility. "In no case will I authorize a restart until I'm absolutely convinced that each organization will not risk further compromise of safety, security and environment," G. Peter Nanos wrote in a memo to employees Friday. [Page 6a]

Cabinet-level spy chief sought

The commission investigating the Sept. 11 terror attacks will recommend a new Cabinet-level post to oversee the nation's 15 intelligence agencies and control their budgets, according to sources familiar with the panel's final report, which will be released Thursday. Putting in place a Cabinet official for intelligence would be the most drastic step in structuring the intelligence agencies since the CIA was created after World War II. [Page 7a]

Wages lag behind inflation

Even though the U.S. economy has been adding hundreds of thousands of jobs almost every month this year, stagnant wages could put a dent in the prospects for economic growth, some economists say. If incomes continue to lag behind the increase in inflation, it might hinder the ability of ordinary workers to spend money at a healthy clip, undermining one of the pillars of the economy's expansion. [Page 8a]

WORLD

Palestinian leader resigns

Citing a state of chaos in Gaza and in the fractious Palestinian security services, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia submitted his resignation yesterday to Yasser Arafat, who refused to accept it. Qureia's decision, which he insists will stand, was triggered by a particularly lawless day in Gaza on Friday and by his unsuccessful attempts to persuade Arafat to accept reforms in the Palestinian Authority. [Page 16a]

Iraqi minister survives bomb

A suicide car bomber hit the Iraqi justice minister's convoy as he left home yesterday, killing five bodyguards but leaving Malik Dohan al-Hassan unharmed. Three people, including a police chief, died in other attacks throughout the country. A U.S. soldier was killed when his convoy was struck by a roadside bomb, according to a military statement. Three other soldiers were wounded. [Page 16a]

Darfur negotiations collapse

Talks to end violence that has killed tens of thousands of people in Sudan's western Darfur region collapsed yesterday, with two rebel groups charging that the government had not kept its end of the bargain. The rebels, insisting that the government fulfill a list of previous commitments first, walked out yesterday without meeting the Sudanese government delegation. [Page 20a]

MARYLAND

Balloon strands tourists midair

As thousands looked on nervously from below, the Port Discovery tourist balloon stalled during a wind squall over downtown Baltimore yesterday afternoon, leaving its 17 scared occupants stranded 200 feet above ground and buffeted about by high gusts until they were lowered to safety after nearly two hours in the air. Four sightseers were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. [Page 1a]

Residents divided on additions

Some property owners in the booming neighborhoods of South and Southeast Baltimore who want to enlarge narrow, two-story rowhouses by constructing third-story additions are facing opposition. The city planning department has scheduled a workshop Tuesday on the requests. [Page 1a]

Bay's oxygen at average levels

Scientists monitoring the Chesapeake Bay say dissolved oxygen appears to be at average levels so far this summer, which suggests the bay may be stabilizing after last summer's surge in the low-oxygen areas known as dead zones. Oxygen in the water is necessary to sustain marine life. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

Armstrong heads for victory

Lance Armstrong cleared his path to a record sixth straight Tour de France crown, overpowering rivals to win the 127.7-mile 13th stage. In two days in the Pyrenees, Armstrong has cut Thomas Voeckler's lead from nearly 10 minutes to 22 seconds, and with the Alps looming next week, Voeckler isn't considered a threat. Jan Ullrich, considered the American's toughest rival, conceded defeat as he fell 6:39 behind Armstrong. [Page 1e]

Tejada 3-for-4 as O's prevail

After going hitless for the previous two days against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, shortstop Miguel Tejada went 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored the tying run as the visiting Orioles prevailed, 3-2. Rodrigo Lopez allowed one run on five hits to get the win, and Jason Grimsley got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning. [Page 1e]

Jones withdraws from event

Exhausted Olympic champion Marion Jones, under investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, pulled out of the women's 200 meters at the U.S. track and field trials in Sacramento, Calif., to focus on the long jump and the relays. Baltimore's Bernard Williams qualified for the men's 200 final. [Page 2e]

ARTS & SOCIETY

Bengies plots a survival course

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