Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

October 25, 2004

NATIONAL

Kerry gets personal in campaign

Sen. John Kerry tried to give undecided voters a more personal look at him yesterday, delivering a speech on his faith and values and how they influence the decisions he makes. With the campaign entering its last week, Kerry and President Bush are preparing final appeals to the voters and whirlwind tours of the handful of battleground states. [Page 1a]

Army agrees to Halliburton probe

The Army has agreed to a Pentagon investigation into claims by a top contracting official that a Halliburton subsidiary unfairly won no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars for work in Iraq and the Balkans, according to Army documents obtained yesterday. The complaint alleges that the award of contracts to KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary, without competition to restore Iraq's oil industry and to supply and feed U.S. troops in the Balkans puts at risk the integrity of the federal contracting program as it relates to a major defense contractor. [Page 3a]

Cardinal Hickey dies at 84

Cardinal James A. Hickey, former archbishop of Washington who led the Roman Catholic Church in the nation's capital for two decades, died yesterday. He was 84. One of 13 Americans in the College of Cardinals, Hickey led the Washington Diocese from 1980 to 2000. He died in a Washington nursing home after his health slowly deteriorated over the past year, said Susan Gibbs, the diocese spokeswoman. [Page 5a]

WORLD

Insurgents launch deadly ambush

In their boldest and deadliest ambush yet, insurgents in Iraq waylaid three minibuses carrying U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers heading home on leave and killed about 50 of them, officials said. Elsewhere, a U.S. diplomat was killed yesterday morning when a rocket or mortar shell crashed into the trailer where he was sleeping at an American base near the Baghdad airport, the U.S. Embassy announced. [Page 1a]

Israeli parliament debates plan

Debate gets under way in the Israeli parliament today on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's contentious proposal to evacuate all Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in the West Bank. The parliament is scheduled to vote tomorrow night. Though the issue has split his Likud Party, Sharon got a boost yesterday when his Cabinet approved his compensation plan for the more than 8,000 settlers. [Page 9a]

Karzai poised for victory

With nearly all votes counted in Afghanistan's recent presidential election, Hamid Karzai appeared poised to become the nation's first democratically elected leader. His main opponent said he was ready to concede, but only if irregularities in the vote were acknowledged by a panel of foreign investigators. [Page 9a]

MARYLAND

A call to ban guns-for-freedom

Baltimore police officers have regularly been offering to drop charges against suspects arrested on minor crimes, often involving drugs, if they turn in a gun. The propriety of the guns-for-freedom trades, which have been going on informally for years, has been questioned by prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and residents. Police officials say they have begun drafting a policy to ban such deals. [Page 1a]

DNR lays down bear hunt rules

More than 200 sportsmen preparing to participate today in the state's first hunt for black bears in 51 years met yesterday in Frostburg where Department of Natural Resources officials laid out the rules. Meanwhile, animal rights advocates opposed to the hunt said they would videotape and photograph dead bears as hunters bring them to state check-in stations. [Page 1b]

Deadline nears for youth center

Faced with a Nov. 15 deadline to submit a plan to save Oak Hill Youth Center in Laurel, District of Columbia officials say they are making progress with plans to improve conditions at the troubled juvenile detention facility and avert its shutdown. Critics, however, continue to push for the closure of the Anne Arundel County facility. [Page 1b]

Gas leak problem in Overlea

The number of homes and businesses affected by a combination water-main break and leaking gas line in Overlea grew to 1,600 yesterday after Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. officials discovered that water had gotten into a gas main along Belair Road. [Page 2b]

TODAY

Cracking the code for dialogue

Teachers, social workers and scholars filled the Walters Art Museum's auditorium to listen to a panel discuss The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown's fictional treatise that melds the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Catholicism, the Holy Grail, murder and secret societies. [Page 1c]

Harbor park plan takes shape

Baltimore's Urban Design and Architectural Review Panel approved preliminary plans last week for creating a public park on a 2.5 acre parcel along Light Street, between the Maryland Science Center and the Baltimore Visitors Center. City voters will decide whether to approve funds for the project. [Page 1c]

SPORTS

Sanders leads Ravens over Bills

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