Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

August 21, 2004

NATIONAL

Democrats respond to war ads

Anti-Kerry veterans unveiled a second ad denouncing Sen. John Kerry's 1971 stance against the Vietnam War, Kerry filed an official complaint against them, and Democrats aired a new ad featuring a former Air Force chief lauding Kerry as ready to command. So went yesterday's skirmish in the "war over the war" ads that are dominating the presidential campaign. [Page 3a]

Three accused of aiding Hamas

A Hamas leader and two other suspected members of the Palestinian militant group were indicted on charges they participated in a lengthy racketeering conspiracy to provide money for terrorist acts in Israel, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced yesterday. The three activists allegedly used U.S. bank accounts to launder millions of dollars for Hamas. [Page 3a]

Support for Iraq war falling

Sixty-nine percent of Americans say they believe the Bush administration launched the Iraq war based on incorrect assumptions, according to a new University of Maryland-based poll. A year ago, 63 percent said the decision to go to war was correct. [Page 11a]

WORLD

In Najaf, militia retains hold

Confusion surrounded efforts to remove militants from the sacred Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf yesterday. The Iraqi government reported erroneously that fighters had been kicked out of the shrine. But yesterday evening, rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia still controlled the mosque. [Page 11a]

MARYLAND

Judge rules for school funding

Baltimore Circuit Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan ruled yesterday that Maryland is still underfunding city schools by hundreds of millions of dollars. He ordered a variety of actions to ensure that an additional $30 million to $45 million is spent on the city's classrooms this year. [Page 1a]

Panel to find DSS director

The city and state announced yesterday the formation of a six-member committee to find someone to lead Baltimore's social services agency -- less than a week before a court-ordered deadline. Mayor Martin O'Malley and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. have fought over the appointment for a year. [Page 1b]

Officer charged in teen's death

An off-duty police officer with the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene was charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy who he said was breaking into his storage shed yesterday, Baltimore police said. Ronald Johnson Sr. is accused of shooting the teen from a second-floor window. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

Phelps wins 7th medal, yields spot

Michael Phelps of Rodgers Forge matched Mark Spitz's record of four individual gold medals in swimming, then gave up a coveted spot on the 400-meter medley relay team to Ian Crocker -- whom Phelps had just beaten. With five gold medals and two bronze overall, Phelps is content to win a historic eighth medal while sitting in the stands tonight. [Page 1a]

14-4 blowout extends O's skid

Josh Towers (9-4) beat his former teammates for the second time in a week, pitching the Blue Jays to a 14-4 victory at Camden Yards and lengthening the Orioles' losing streak to four games. Loser Dave Borkowski gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings. [Page 1c]

Eagles top Ravens; Owens scores

Star receiver Terrell Owens, who fought a trade to the Ravens during the offseason, scored on an 81-yard touchdown pass early in the Eagles' 26-17 preseason victory last night in Philadelphia, but his reluctance to battle for a pass over the middle led to a Ravens interception for a touchdown. [Page 1c]

BUSINESS

Rouse sold for $12.6 billion

The Rouse Co. of Columbia, which helped redefine the face of American suburban development and urban renewal, agreed yesterday to sell itself to a Chicago mall operator in a deal valued at $12.6 billion. The agreement promises an abrupt end to a distinguished corporate history begun 65 years ago by visionary developer James W. Rouse. [Page 1a]

REIT an aggressive bidder

General Growth Properties has been gobbling up $13.2 billion worth of assets and climbing into the No. 2 spot among shopping center owners since going public for the second time in 1993. The Chicago-based real estate investment trust's purchase of Rouse Co. is the biggest in the firm's history. [Page 1a]

Oil retreats from record high

Oil prices reached a new high yesterday before retreating to close below Thursday's record level, after the Iraqi insurgency increased its pressure on the country's oil infrastructure and traders feared that growing unrest might interrupt crude exports. Oil has gained 57 percent this year. [Page 14c]

TODAY

Would-be Idols try their luck

The 117 contestants remaining for a spot on the next American Idol returned to Washington yesterday, this time to perform for the TV show's notably tough judges. About 9,500 people showed up to audition Wednesday in D.C., the third stop on American Idol's eight-city audition tour. [Page 1d]

Gore ticketed for speeding

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