Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

September 29, 2004

MARYLAND

State health-costs law bypassed

The Ehrlich administration is circumventing a law that freezes health costs and benefits for state employees, meaning 100,000 workers and retirees could soon pay more for doctors' visits, treatments and drugs. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and the Board of Public Works approved new health contracts this month. [Page 1a]

City's 29th youth homicide of year

Eric Rondell Williams, 16, became Baltimore's 29th juvenile homicide victim this year when he was fatally shot outside his Northeast Baltimore home. His mother, Kimberly Armstrong, is co-chairwoman of the Maryland Juvenile Justice Coalition and quit her job to spend more time with him. [Page 1a]

3 accused in fires at school site

Three Glen Burnie residents were taken into custody yesterday and charged with setting as many as nine fires in the future Marley Elementary School, causing an estimated $1.5 million in damage to the building under construction. [Page 1b]

WORLD

Blair battles criticism on Iraq role

British Prime Minister Tony Blair apologized yesterday to his Labor Party delegates for going to war in Iraq on faulty intelligence information but not for his role in "removing Saddam" Hussein from power. [Page 1a]

Kidnappers release seven in Iraq

Kidnappers released two Italian aid workers and five other hostages, but insurgents continued a campaign of violence, killing two British soldiers and five members of the Iraqi intelligence agency in Basra. [Page 12a]

2 arrested in killing of U.S. editor

Police in Moscow announced the arrest of two men yesterday in the killing of American journalist Paul Klebnikov, editor of the Russian edition of Forbes, but officials provided few details about the men or a known motive. [Page 12a]

NATIONAL

Lindh petitions for release

Attorneys for John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban, petitioned the government to release the California native in light of another American citizen recently set free. They argue that Lindh's case mirrors the facts and circumstances of Yaser Esam Hamdi, who also fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan. [Page 3a]

6.0 earthquake shakes California

An earthquake shook central California from Los Angeles to San Francisco, cracking pipes, breaking bottles of wine and knocking pictures off walls. No immediate reports of injuries were received from the 6.0-magnitude quake and more than 90 aftershocks. [Page 3a]

Rocket plane has $10 million goal

A test pilot in a stubby rocket plane will try to climb more than 60 miles over the Mojave Desert and punch through the atmosphere today in the first stage of a quest to win a $10 million prize meant to encourage space tourism. [Page 6a]

SPORTS

Washington, Expos on verge

As Major League Baseball appeared poised to announce a return to the nation's capital as early as today, six hours of negotiations between Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos and the sport's president resulted in significant progress on protecting the club from a rival 40 miles to the south. [Page 1a]

D.C. park would seat 41,000

Washington officials say their proposed baseball park off South Capitol Street would be smaller than 12-year-old Camden Yards, seating just 41,000 with 74 luxury suites and 2,000 club-level seats. The stadium's intimacy would be in line with that of its recent contemporaries, such as PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Minute Maid Park in Houston. [Page 1c]

TV network could be boon for O's

Baseball's offer to establish a regional sports network to help assuage the Orioles' concerns over a competing franchise in Washington could prove highly lucrative, but would face a number of practical obstacles, specialists in the field say. [Page 1c]

BUSINESS

Companies want to avoid debate

With the race between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry so contentious, many companies are urging employees to stay away from political discussions around the water cooler. With presidential debates set to begin tomorrow night, some companies fear that inviting the political debate into the workplace could be disruptive. [Page 1d]

Eminent-domain case to be heard

The Supreme Court agreed to decide a case that might eliminate Maryland's right to condemn property for business development alone. The justices will hear arguments on a suit by homeowners in an area of New London, Conn., targeted for a project. [Page 1d]

Google shares soar since IPO

Google Inc.'s shares have increased 41 percent since Aug. 19, when the Internet search titan held its initial public offering. Shares surged 7.2 percent yesterday to close at $126.78 after five underwriters rated it a buy. [Page 1d]

TODAY

Geoffrey Beene dead at age 77

Geoffrey Beene, a pre-med student turned pre-eminent fashion designer, died at age 77 of complications from pneumonia. Beene was regarded as one of the godfathers of American sportswear. [Page 1e]

Moderator can play debate role

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