Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

August 16, 2004

NATIONAL

Fla. starts Charley's cleanup

As residents hardest hit by Hurricane Charley's devastating wallop began to clean up amid sweltering heat, President Bush flew to Punta Gorda, Fla., yesterday to assure storm victims that federal assistance is coming. As the storm weakened off the coast of New England, the president surveyed the devastation in Florida, which resulted in billions of dollars in damage and killed at least 16 people. [Page 3A]

Hearings called on CIA nominee

Top intelligence lawmakers called yesterday for quick hearings to evaluate Rep. Porter J. Goss' nomination to lead the CIA. Despite sweeping reforms under consideration to change the agency and the 14 other members of the intelligence community - including a likely overhaul of the leadership structure and budgeting process -several congressional leaders said yesterday that the CIA needs a new director as soon as possible. [Page 5A]

WORLD

Venezuelans vote on recall

Millions of Venezuelans voted in a referendum yesterday on whether President Hugo Chavez should step down with two years left in his term. Lines snaked for blocks in neighborhoods of the wealthy and in the slums, where Chavez has a huge following because of his "revolution for the poor." [Page 1A]

A resurgence of violence in Najaf

U.S. tanks and troops rolled back into the center of Najaf yesterday to confront Shiite militants, sparking gunfights and explosions again in the holy Iraqi city. The resurgent violence threatens to overshadow the start of Iraq's national conference, an unprecedented gathering of hundreds of prominent Iraqis meant to start the country on the road to democracy. [Page 6A]

Inmates on hunger strike in Israel

Demanding more visits with family members, an end to strip searches and better overall conditions, about 1,500 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons launched a hunger strike yesterday. It was shaping up to be the biggest showdown between thousands of inmates and the Israeli authorities since the outbreak of Mideast fighting in 2000. The demonstration began in three prisons, and advocates said they expected it to grow to include hundreds more Palestinian inmates. [Page 7A]

Pope speaks to miracle seekers

Pope John Paul II struggled through Mass yesterday near the shrine in Lourdes, France, which draws desperate people seeking miracle cures. The pope trembled, gasped and asked for help during the nearly three-hour service marked by cheers of encouragement and support from hundreds of thousands of worshipers. [Page 6A]

MARYLAND

City, developer at odds over deal

A Baltimore developer could reap a six-figure windfall by selling a vacant Mount Vernon building that the city gave her company nine years ago for free - even though she never carried out the promised apartment conversion that was a condition of the deal. City officials say safeguards would prevent a similar situation from happening again. [Page 1A]

MTA to close its print shop

The Maryland Transit Administration's decision to close a decades-old in-house printing shop in Baltimore and to outsource printing jobs is being questioned. The state contends that contracting with the private sector for bus schedules, signs and brochures would save money, but a union official and state senator say they doubt a private company could do the work cheaper. [Page 1B]

Teen recovering from coma

Shannon Pierre-Jerome, a 17-year-old former honor student and cheerleading captain at Lansdowne High School, planned to begin her freshman year at college this month. Instead, she is at a rehabilitation center, determined to regain her ability to move and to speak. She is recovering from a beating in May that left her in a coma for a month. [Page 1B]

TODAY

Breco condos have design on city

The Breco Building condominiums planned for 234 Holliday St. offer one of the more intriguing designs to be proposed this year for a local building conversion. Instead of creating residences entirely within the shell of the old manufacturing plant, the development team is building penthouses that will appear to be bursting from its roof. [Page 1C]

Album salutes folk songwriter

Nearly two dozen singers, including Alison Krauss, Mavis Staples, Roger McGuinn and Michelle Shocked, appear on a new tribute album to an almost forgotten American songwriter. Beautiful Dreamer - The Songs of Stephen Foster, aims to raise the 19th-century composer's profile among pop, country, folk and rock listeners. [Page 5C]

SPORTS

Phelps' medal dream dashed

Michael Phelps' hopes of winning eight gold medals in swimming at the Olympic Games were dashed when the men's 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay team, with Phelps swimming the second leg, finished third. Now the best Phelps can hope for is to tie Mark Spitz, who won seven golds in Munich in 1972.[Page 1A]

`Prime Time' nesting a comeback?

Deion Sanders is contemplating whether to make a comeback as the Ravens' fifth defensive back, a league source has told The Sun. Sanders, who turned 37 this month, has been out of football for three seasons. [Page 1D]

Singh wins PGA Championship

Vijay Singh won the PGA Championship, beating Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco in a three-hole playoff at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. The three finished 72 holes tied at 8-under par.

[Page 10D]

TODAY ONLINE

PHELPS TRACKER

Keep track of Michael Phelps' quest for Olympic gold. For results of his races, archives stories and photos, and multimedia, go to www.baltimoresun.com/phelps

MONDAY BUSINESS

Get your back-to-work business news at www.baltimoresun.com/mondaybiz

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"As far as I'm concerned, the security prisoners can go on strike for a day, or a month, or even starve to death."

Israeli Public Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, on a prison hunger strike launched by an estimated 1,500 Palestinians(Article, Page 7A)

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