Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

September 28, 2004

NATIONAL

England to face court-martial

Pfc. Lynndie England, the Western Maryland reservist who gained worldwide notoriety for her role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, was ordered to face a military court-martial at Fort Bragg, N.C., in January on 19 charges of abuse and indecent acts. England, 21, posed in photographs, grinning and gesturing at naked detainees and giving a jaunty thumbs-up sign. [Page 3a]

Al-Qaida recordings erased

More than 120,000 hours of potentially valuable terrorism-related recordings have not yet been translated by FBI linguists, and computer problems may have led the bureau to systematically erase some al-Qaida recordings, according to a declassified summary of a Justice Department investigation. [Page 3a]

WORLD

Iraqi insurgents stay on offensive

Two American soldiers were killed outside Baghdad, car bombs killed seven Iraqi national guardsmen and a rocket barrage hit a police academy, as insurgents kept up their offensive to subdue Iraqs beleaguered security forces. American forces, meanwhile, attacked the capital's Sadr City neighborhood beginning before dawn. [Page 1a]

Israeli attacks kill 7 Palestinians

Israelis killed seven Palestinians in attacks, including a Gaza airstrike that killed one militant and wounded a militia commander. At nightfall, Palestinian gunmen kidnapped a producer for CNN at gunpoint, a network correspondent said. [Page 10a]

Judge drops case against Chalabi

A senior Iraqi judge said that he had closed a case brought against Ahmad Chalabi, the former exile once backed by the Pentagon, who had been suspected of involvement in a counterfeiting operation. The move appears to signify a minor victory by Chalabi over the interim government led by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, his longtime rival. [Page 14a]

MARYLAND

Education panel draws fire

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. signed an executive order creating a commission that he said would ensure that an infusion of new state cash for education is spent wisely. But the Governor's Commission on Quality Education in Maryland drew immediate criticism over its membership and mission. [Page 1a]

Power plants to cut pollution

Pressured by regulators, the owner of four major electric power plants in Maryland and Virginia announced plans for cutting air pollution linked to urban smog and "dead zones" in the Chesapeake Bay. The Mid-Atlantic branch of Atlanta-based Mirant Corp. filed a federal consent decree in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to avoid a threatened Virginia lawsuit for exceeding limits on nitrogen oxides last year. [Page 1a]

Police shoot robbery suspect

City police shot a robbery suspect several times last night after he apparently tried to shoot his way into a South Baltimore home occupied by a sleeping 2-year-old boy and the toddler's mother and grandmother. The suspect -- a man described as in his 20s -- was reported in stable condition early today at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. [Page 1b]

TODAY

`Ladder 49' gets high marks

The firefighters who attended last night's premiere of Ladder 49 at The Senator Theatre found plenty to like in the movie's realism. And having stars Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta around -- though an unreal experience -- didn't hurt. [Page 1a]

Leno to step down in 2009

NBC says Jay Leno will step down as host of The Tonight Show in 2009, replaced by Conan O'Brien. NBC made the early promise for fear of losing O'Brien to a competitor. Leno's contract pays him about $16 million a year. O'Brien reportedly makes $8 million a year. [Page 1c]

BUSINESS

Kaiser Permanente scores high

Kaiser Permanente posted the most top scores as the state released its eighth annual HMO report card. As the state has published its rankings, overall performance by HMOs have improved. [Page 1d]

Group to push drug import bills

On the heels of Montgomery County's efforts to sidestep a federal ban on importing cheaper medicine from Canada, a statewide coalition of health care advocates announced plans to push two bills through the General Assembly next year to give Marylanders access to discounted prescription drugs. Backers estimated that participants could save up to 40 percent on name-brand drugs. [Page 1d]

SPORTS

Jays beat Orioles' Ponson, 4-1

Toronto scored in three of the first four innings against Sidney Ponson and defeated the Orioles, 4-1, before a season-low 17,809 at Camden Yards. Melvin Mora homered for the Orioles, who fell to 1-6 against the Blue Jays at home, compared with 7-2 at SkyDome. The Orioles must win all seven remaining games to avoid their seventh straight losing season. [Page 1e]

Redskins fall to Cowboys, 21-18

A halfback-option touchdown pass gave Dallas an 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter and enough of a cushion to hold off host Washington, 21-18, in a renewal of the coaching rivalry between the Cowboys' Bill Parcells and Redskins' Joe Gibbs. [Page 1e]

TODAY ONLINE

COURT-MARTIAL FOR ENGLAND

Pfc. Lynndie England faces 19 charges in a general court-martial related to abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. Read our archived coverage of the abuse scandal. www.baltimoresun.com/prisonerabuse

HOME SALES

Sales of new homes rose by 9.4 percent in August. Find out what homes in your area sold for on our searchable database. www.baltimoresun.com/homesales

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"When I signed my new contract, I felt that the timing was right to plan for my successor, and there is no one more qualified than Conan [O'Brien]."

`Tonight Show' host Jay Leno on plans for leaving the show. (Article, Page 1C)

MARKETS

DOW -- DOWN

-58.70

9,988.54

NASDAQ -- DOWN

-19.60

1,859.88

S&P -- DOWN

-6.59

1,103.52

SUNINDEX -- DOWN

-2.57

264.73

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