Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

September 21, 2004

NATIONAL

Kerry blasts Iraq policy

John Kerry charged yesterday that President Bush's "stubborn incompetence" has weakened national security and left the country less safe than when Saddam Hussein was in power. He warned that Bush's re-election would mean "more of the same" in Iraq, but stopped short of offering a new strategy for ending the war. [Page 1a]

Tobacco trial goes forward

The most striking aspect to observers on all sides of the nation's long-running tobacco wars is that the case - brought late in former President Clinton's last term and widely expected to be quickly scuttled under a Republican administration - has made it to opening arguments at all. [Page 1a]

Campaign finance ruling

A federal judge yesterday struck down several government rules on campaign fund raising, ordering tougher restrictions on big political money in the long term while creating uncertainty about how candidates, parties and interest groups should proceed in the current elections' final weeks. [Page 3a]

WORLD

New era, old ways in China

The transfer of military power in China from Jiang Zemin to President Hu Jintao, may have signaled the end of an era, but it also illustrated the workings of a political system in which all key decisions continue to be made behind an impenetrable shroud. [Page 14a]

2 U.S. soldiers die in Afghanistan

Two U.S. soldiers and several militants were killed in firefights in southeastern Afghanistan, while one of the country's four vice presidents escaped a roadside bombing. [Page 14a]

MARYLAND

Baltimore power outage

Hundreds of municipal employees got an unexpected day off yesterday, many businesses closed, and morning-rush motorists were caught in gridlock after an underground fire near Baltimore's City Hall left a 25-square-block swath of downtown without electricity - and knocked out many key traffic lights, as well as the system synchronizing their timing. [Page 1a]

Md. high court rules for Nader

Maryland's highest court cleared the path to the Nov. 2 ballot for independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Reversing a ruling by an Anne Arundel circuit judge, the Court of Appeals ordered state elections officials to accept 542 voter signatures gathered by the Nader campaign, which would help him meet the 10,000 he needed for ballot access. [Page 1b]

TODAY

CBS, Rather retract Bush story

CBS News retracted much of a report on President Bush's military service, saying it had been deceived by a retired Texas Air National Guard official who presented now-disavowed documents seeming to show Bush had received preferential treatment to avoid fulfilling his Vietnam War-era obligations. Anchor Dan Rather expressed regret and took responsibility for lapses in judgment regarding the story. [Page 1a]

BSO's second home

A tour of the soon-to-be-finished, $100 million Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda - a future home-away-from-home for the Baltimore Symphony - reveals an ideal location and suggests an appealing, welcoming design. [Page 1c]

American Indian museum opens

The Museum of the American Indian opens today, with large crowds expected on the National Mall in Washington to celebrate the heritage of native peoples. [Page 1c]

BUSINESS

Fighting high drug costs

Faced with huge increases in prescription drug costs, a majority on the Montgomery County Council say they are ready to join a growing nationwide rebellion against the FDA's ban on reimported drugs by giving county employees a chance to buy cheaper medicines from Canada. The council is expected to pass a resolution tonight that will lead to the establishment of a voluntary drug import plan that could save the county as much as $16 million annually. [Page 1d]

Biotech firm's founder retiring

Human Genome Sciences Inc., the Rockville biotech firm whose model to battle the worst maladies using the human genetic map captivated and then disappointed investors, announced a changing of the guard as its founder , a leader in the industry, retires. [Page 1d]

Fannie Mae irregularities

Federal regulators have found evidence suggesting that mortgage giant Fannie Mae manipulated earnings to facilitate bigger bonuses to executives, according to a lawmaker familiar with the findings. The agency that supervises Fannie Mae found a pattern of manipulation aimed at smoothing out volatility in profits from quarter to quarter similar to the one at rival Freddie Mac, whose understatement of billions in profits prompted a management shake-up and a $125 million fine. [Page 1d]

SPORTS

Ravens' Heap to miss 2-4 weeks

The Ravens, ranked next-to-last in the NFL in passing offense, will be without two-time Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap for two to four weeks. Heap suffered a severely sprained right ankle during Sunday's 30-13 victory over the Steelers. [Page 1e]

McNabb, Eagles beat Vikings

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