Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

August 12, 2004

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"This is an exercise in democracy. Let them exercise it twice!"

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, on reports that many Afghan voters have registered multiple times (Article, Page 15A)

NATIONAL

Iraq prison abuse report

A soon-to-be released Army investigative report will recommend disciplinary action for about two dozen U.S. soldiers accused of abusing prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, but for no one higher ranked than the colonel who headed the military intelligence unit there. Pentagon officials say the report also will detail abuses worse than previously identified. [Page 1a]

Bush defends handling of war

Campaigning in the Southwest, President Bush yesterday pushed back against Sen. John Kerry's criticism of his handling of Iraq, saying, "I know what I'm doing when it comes to winning this war." Bush used a re-election rally to sharply reject his Democratic challenger's proposal to begin to withdraw troops from Iraq within six months of taking office. [Page 3a]

WORLD

U.S. troops delay Najaf assault

U.S. forces massed in Najaf, Iraq, for an expected final assault on militants, but abruptly changed plans yesterday and delayed an all-out attack. [Page 1a]

Opium's rise in Afghanistan

Experts say that since the fall of the Taliban, opium production has exploded in Afghanistan, providing money to al-Qaida and threatening the country's stability. [Page 1a]

9/11 defendant plot role denied

The man being retried in Germany on charges of aiding the Sept. 11 hijackers knew nothing of the plot, two key suspected al-Qaida operatives told U.S. interrogators. But the U.S. Justice Department noted concerns about the pair's reliability. [Page 10a]

MARYLAND

Proposal to protect wells

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. proposed regulations aimed at preventing residential drinking water from being contaminated by gasoline additives that leak from pipes beneath service stations. The rules come after more than 100 wells in the Fallston area were tainted with the chemical MTBE. [Page 1a]

Chapman verdict expected

The federal jury deliberating the fate of Baltimore investment banker Nathan A. Chapman Jr. is expected to announce a verdict this morning, court officials said. Chapman, 46, is charged with defrauding the state employee pension system, stealing from his own publicly traded companies and lying on his income tax returns. [Page 1b]

Nitrous oxide, balloons seized

Police arrested three men traveling north on Interstate 95 yesterday and seized hundreds of balloons and three tanks of nitrous oxide. The three allegedly planned to sell gas-filled balloons at a rock concert in Boston last night. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

O's loss to Angels ends win streak

The Orioles' winning streak ended at eight games with a 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Angels. The Orioles were able to remain in third place in the American League East because the Tampa Bay Devil Rays also lost. The O's fell eight back in the wild-card race. [Page 1c]

Delay sought in Bryant case

Prosecutors have asked the judge in Kobe Bryant's sexual assault case to put the trial on hold indefinitely because it will be difficult to seat an unbiased jury and suggested that the accuser is not ready to testify against the NBA player. [Page 3c]

U.S. women top Greece in soccer

Mia Hamm set up a first-half goal with a stutter step that left a Greek defender sprawled on the turf and covering her head in shame. Hamm also scored on a solo run in the second half to lead the U.S. women's soccer team to a 3-0 victory over Greece on the first day of competition in the Olympic Games. [Page 9c]

BUSINESS

Toys `R' Us considers big shift

Toys `R' Us Inc., battered by price wars from discounters, particularly Wal-Mart, is considering getting out of the toy business. The company, one of the first to pioneer the "big-box" concept 30 years ago, is seeking a buyer for its toy stores and pursuing a possible spinoff of its fast-growing Babies `R' Us chain. [Page 1d]

Insurers revive cost-cut measures

Some unpopular money-saving measures, such as referrals for specialists and pre-authorizations for some medical services, that were scaled back after the backlash against managed care during the late 1990s are quietly reappearing in some health plans, according to a study in the policy journal Health Affairs. [Page 1d]

Md. cheers Vt. suit against FDA

Some state and Montgomery County lawmakers are cheering Vermont's decision yesterday to sue the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for denying its request to import prescription drugs from Canada, saying the move will raise the legal stakes as they battle to implement similar cost-saving programs in Maryland. [Page 1d]

TODAY

Let the Games begin ... on TV

Tomorrow, NBC begins rolling out more than 1,200 hours of carefully choreographed Olympic coverage on seven channels. But thanks to new technology and services, millions of viewers can watch the Games on their own terms and time schedule, without missing a moment. [Page 1a]

Poker's the big draw

Thanks in part to poker's popularity on television and online, Texas Hold 'Em is all the rage in Baltimore, and would-be players can find a game somewhere every day of the week. [Page 1e]

MARKETS

DOW - (down)

-6.35

9,938.32

-NASDAQ - (down)

-26.28

1,782.42

S&P - (down)

- 3.25

1,075.79

-SUN INDEX - (down)

- 1.34

253.75

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