Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

October 06, 2004

NATIONAL

Vice-presidential debate

Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic rival Sen. John Edwards squared off in a highly acrimonious sit-down debate on Iraq and domestic policy that featured sharp exchanges over the war, Halliburton, leadership and experience. The 90-minute face-off in Cleveland, the only one scheduled for the pair, mirrored the harshly negative tone of the tight presidential contest. [Page 1a]

Flu vaccine shortage

Americans' supply of flu vaccine was abruptly cut in half yesterday, prompting the government to ask most healthy adults to delay or skip flu shots so that the elderly and others most at risk from influenza can get them. The crisis was triggered by a decision by British regulators to shut down a major supplier of vaccine on the eve of the flu season. [Page 1a]

Bush plans Pa. speech today

President Bush, facing a new report on Saddam Hussein's weapons programs, criticism from the former civilian administrator for Iraq and new attacks from Sen. John Kerry, will aim to redirect the campaign debate today as he gives an abruptly scheduled speech in Pennsylvania on terrorism and the economy. The last-minute schedule change was made as Kerry has gained ground in some polls. [Page 3a]

WORLD

Refugees cling to rumor

News of the great victory over the Israeli military blared from mosque loudspeakers yesterday and quickly spread through the population of a besieged Palestinian refugee camp next to Gaza City. The only problem was it wasn't true. But they clung to the rumor, and to hope. [Page 1a]

Disarming Afghan militias

The Afghan government is slowly making progress in disarming thousands of militia members throughout the country. But in a land torn by decades of war, disarming the population is no small task. [Page 15a]

MARYLAND

Md. legislators enter oyster fray

Two members of Congress from Maryland are questioning the Ehrlich Administration's push to put Asian oysters into the Chesapeake Bay. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest will meet today with scientists doing the environmental impact study. And Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes is working with Virginia Sen. John Warner on legislation directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study ways to try to restore native oysters rather than turning to a foreign species. [Page 1a]

Public housing losing monitors

About half of Baltimore's public housing high-rises for the elderly and disabled do not have monitors - civilian employees of the housing authority's police department -for eight hours a day. Many monitors have quit because the department is being disbanded and the residents say they now fear for their safety. [Page 1b]

State workers' drug costs rising

Calling Maryland's drug benefit overly generous compared with those of nearby states and private businesses, the state's budget secretary said yesterday that nearly 100,000 state workers and retirees will soon pay more for prescriptions despite a General Assembly directive freezing health costs. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

Lewis suspension likely

Ravens running back Jamal Lewis likely will be suspended for two to four games by the NFL after his expected guilty plea tomorrow in a drug conspiracy case in Atlanta. Coach Brian Billick said he expects the punishment to be announced next week. [Page 1c]

Twins, Red Sox win openers

The Minnesota Twins used solid pitching from Johan Santana and got stellar defense, including five double plays, to defeat the New York Yankees, 2-0, in Game 1 of their American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium. In the other AL playoff opener, a seven-run outburst in the fourth inning propelled the Boston Red Sox over the Anaheim Angels, 9-3. [Pages 1c, 6c]

Earnhardt fined, loses points

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fined $10,000 and docked 25 points in the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings for using a vulgarity in a TV interview after his victory Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. His racing team said it will appeal the points penalty, which dropped him to second place. [Page 2c]

BUSINESS

MedImmune's outlook healthier

The disruption in the supply of flu vaccines that came to light yesterday would help Gaithersburg-based MedImmune Inc. win broader near-term acceptance of its troubled FluMist nasal-spray vaccine, analysts said. Its shares jumped nearly 6 percent on the news. [Page 1d]

$1 billion testing contract

Thomson Prometric, a Baltimore-based computer testing company, landed a $1 billion contract over 12 years to administer a massive transition to Internet-based testing by the New Jersey company that handles the SAT and Advanced Placement exams, among other major standardized tests. [Page 1d]

TODAY

Media bias everywhere?

Three more incidents of alleged media bias have news outlets chafing and raise the question of whether groups with ideological stances are seeing politics wherever they look. [Page 1e]

CBS, ABC new season winners

One month into the new season, the most successful networks are CBS and ABC - and both have done it the same way: by scheduling a now-traditional mix of reality shows, lots of drama and even a few sitcoms. [Page 1e]

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"This clearly was a 20-year-old young man ... that had a serious lapse in judgment, but not to the degree that people are portending right now."

Brian Billick, Ravens coach, on Jamal Lewis (Article, 1C)

TODAY ONLINE

DEBATING POINTS

Visit our Election 2004 gallery for in-depth coverage and analysis of last night's debate between Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. John Edwards at www.baltimoresun.com/election2004

BASEBALL PLAYOFFS

For the scoop on Boston's win, live scores, results, rosters and news go to www.baltimoresun.com/baseball

MARKETS

DOW - DOWN

-38.86

10,177.68

NASDAQ - UP

+3.10

1,955.50

S&P - DOWN

-0.69

1,134.48

SUN INDEX - DOWN

-0.41

272.38

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