Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

August 09, 2004

NATIONAL

Al-Qaida trying for major attackBush administration officials said recent arrests and intelligence discoveries have helped disrupt al-Qaida's plans for a pre-election attack on the United States. But they said the targets may be only a piece of a broader plot and that Osama bin Laden's terror group is trying to plan "something bigger than 9/11." [Page 1a]

Keyes to seek Ill. seat in Senate

Alan Keyes, conservative Maryland political commentator and two-time Republican presidential hopeful, announced that he would run against rising Democratic star Barack Obama for an Illinois seat in the U.S. Senate. The race would be the first U.S. Senate election with two black candidates representing the major parties. [Page 3a]

4 charged in Fla. home killings

Investigators have arrested four suspects and charged them with first-degree murder in the vicious stabbing and beating deaths of six people in a home in Florida. Officials said an ex-convict blamed a young woman for taking his clothes and video game system and then recruited three teens to kill her and the five people with whom she shared a house. [Page 3a]

MEDICINE & SCIENCE

Dig site yields tantalizing hints

Bob Wall, a Towson University archaeologist, has been digging in an Allegany County soybean field for more than a decade and now has found hints that someone camped there as early as 16,000 years ago. If his findings are confirmed, the field could be one of the oldest and most important archaeological sites in the Americas. [Page 8a]

Genetic code for acne found

Reporting in the journal Science, German researchers say they have the genetic code of a microbe that contributes to one of the great torments of adolescence -- acne. Scientists hope the genetic blueprint could lead to better drugs with fewer side effects. [Page 9a]

WORLD

Najaf meeting ends in failure

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and top U.S. military officials made an emergency visit to Najaf hoping to end the Shiite insurrection, but their efforts failed and they had to be hustled out of town amid renewed attacks by followers of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. [Page 1a]

Agreement on Gaza withdrawal

Coalition talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the opposition Labor Party made progress, with officials saying negotiators have agreed on the terms of a planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The two sides, however, remained at odds on many domestic issues. [Page 7a]

Russian bill ends longtime benefits

The upper house of Russia's parliament approved a social reform bill, sending a measure that ends an array of Soviet-era benefits for more than 30 million people to President Vladimir V. Putin. The bill replaces benefits, such as free transportation and medicine, for the elderly, disabled and World War II veterans with monthly payments ranging from $5.10 to $53. [Page 7a]

MARYLAND

Mussel makes Magothy sparkle

A mysterious mussel no bigger than a fingernail is flourishing in the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County, clinging to boat lines, crab pots, most anything it can find. Nobody is complaining, however, as the creature's filtering powers have evidently turned the waters about as clear as an aquarium. [Page 1a]

Recycling plant put on hold

Baltimore County officials have rescinded their approval for an oil recycling plant in the North Point area, bringing at least a temporary halt to the project. The county acted after discovering that plans for the plant amounted to refining oil, which is not necessarily allowed under zoning for the property[Page 1b]

Engineer takes marbles title

A 36-year-old computer engineer from Frederick claimed the $500 top prize in the two-day U.S. Marbles Championship in Middletown. Jeff Kimmell beat 18-year-old Ralphie Dillon, an up-and-comer in the world of competitive marbles, in the finals. [Page 1b]

TODAY

Arts center draws 200,000

The France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, which includes the Hippodrome, is halfway to its goal of drawing 400,000 people to the west side during its first year of operation, said Marks Chowning, vice president of Clear Channel Entertainment's theater-management division. [Page 1c]

`Collateral' tops box office

Collateral, starring Tom Cruise as a hitman and Jamie Foxx as a cabby who drives him around to his targets, is No. 1 at the box office over the weekend, with an estimated gross of $24.4 million. [Page 3c]

SPORTS

Orioles win sixth straight

The Orioles extended their winning streak to six with an 11-5 triumph over the Rangers. Sidney Ponson won his seventh game and Melvin Mora had four RBIs as the Orioles moved within five games of .500. The Orioles (52-57) have a chance today to finish 7-0 on a home stand for the first time in 35 years. [Page 1d]

Oakland wins in 18 innings

Jermaine Dye's tie-breaking RBI single keyed a three-run 18th inning as the Oakland Athletics beat the Minnesota Twins, 6-5. It was the second-longest game in the 23-year history of the Metrodome. It also matched the longest game in the major leagues this season. [Page 3d]

Gordon takes Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon won NASCAR's Brickyard 400 and gained his fourth victory at Indianapolis. He joined open-wheel racers A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time winners at the track. It was Gordon's fifth win of the season and the 69th of his NASCAR career. [Page 8d]

HEALTH AND SCIENCE

For the latest health, medicine and science news, plus archived stories, go to www.baltimoresun.com/health

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

"They want a catastrophic attack."

Frances Fragos Townsend, a top homeland security adviser to President Bush, speaking about al-Qaida. (Article, Page 1A)

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