Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

July 21, 2004

NATIONAL

Fort Detrick labs closed

FBI anthrax investigators have closed some high-security laboratory suites at the Army's biodefense research center at Fort Detrick, apparently searching for scientific evidence as the third anniversary of the unsolved case approaches. [Page 1a]

$1 billion campaign seen

The amount of cash bankrolling the two presidential campaigns this year might exceed $1 billion, an eye-popping number that has shattered any hope that recent campaign finance reform would put a brake on spending. [Page 1a]

New hospital controls sought

A bipartisan group has introduced legislation to strip the nation's largest accreditor of hospitals of the special status it has had since Medicare was instituted in 1965. The action came after a report found the agency regularly missed serious problems that put patients at risk. [Page 1a]

WORLD

Filipino hostage freed in Iraq

Militants freed a Filipino hostage in Iraq after the Philippines government completed its withdrawal of troops from the country. Shortly after the hostage release, insurgents threatened to attack Japanese troops if they did not leave Iraq. [Page 11a]

Chinese release SARS dissenter

Chinese authorities have released from custody a military surgeon who exposed China's SARS cover-up and pressed state leaders to admit wrongdoings in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. [Page 12a]

MARYLAND

Schools panel faults city, state

Pressure to improve academic performance, along with a lack of strong leadership and internal controls, sent Baltimore's school system spinning toward financial disaster, a state panel reported. The state legislature was criticized as well because a law governing a city-state education partnership sidestepped difficult political questions of authority and responsibility, the report said. [Page 1a]

MdTA officer dies in crash

A Maryland Transportation Authority police officer honored by his department three times as Officer of the Year was killed after a pickup truck smashed into his cruiser as it sat on the shoulder of U.S. 50 near Annapolis. [Page 1b]

Steele to address GOP convention

Eager to broaden its appeal among minorities, the GOP will feature Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in a prominent speaking role at the Republican National Convention next month. Steele will probably speak about racial equality and economic empowerment, party leaders said. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

Garcia's 2 homers power O's

Karim Garcia, reacquired in a trade Monday, hit two home runs and drove in five runs in his first game back with the Orioles, a 12-3 rout of the Royals in Kansas City. The Orioles tied a club record with 11 extra-base hits. [Page 1c]

Armstrong takes lead in Tour

Lance Armstrong, the five-time Tour de France defending champion, flashed past Ivan Basso on a late turn to win the 15th stage, a seven-climb, 112-mile trek into the Alps, and reclaim the yellow jersey as the race leader. [Page 1c]

BUSINESS

Debt-counseling group questioned

Consumers for Responsible Credit Solutions, a new group that claims to be an advocate for consumers seeking credit counseling, was in fact created by players in the burgeoning debt-counseling industry. Consumer advocates said secrecy about the group's members raises questions about its credibility. [Page 1d]

House OKs stock option bill

The House voted in favor of a bill overriding a proposal by the Financial Accounting Standards Board that would require companies to count stock options against their profits. [Page 1d]

Balloon ride faces obstacles

If the helium balloon ride in Baltimore survives official scrutiny into why 16 passengers spent nearly two terrifying hours stuck in the air Saturday, it will face what could be a more daunting obstacle that other attractions have failed to overcome: lack of tourists. [Page 1d]

TODAY

Singer punished for Moore tribute

Linda Ronstadt was denied a hotel room after a gig in Las Vegas, backed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, angered the audience and management at the Aladdin. Ronstadt's encore Saturday night, dedicated to filmmaker Michael Moore, caused the ruckus. [Page 1e]

Lewis Museum opening delayed

Construction delays have pushed back the opening of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture to at least next March. Museum officials say the delay will also provide more time to install exhibits and promote the space. [Page 5e]

JCAHO REPORT

Read the report that prompted Congress to introduce a bill reducing the authority of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. www.baltimoresun.com/jcaho

RESCUE ME

See a video of television critic David Zurawik reviewing FX's new dramatic series, Rescue Me, starring Denis Leary. www.baltimoresun.com/rescueme

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The train was moving down the track and all of the conductors were standing at the station watching it go by."

Sanford V. Teplitsky, member of a panel investigating financial problems in the Baltimore school system. (Article, Page 1A)

MARKETS

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SUNINDEX -- UP

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264.75

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