Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

October 27, 2004

NATIONAL

Illicit gun trade flourishing

A three-year U.S. Justice Department initiative aimed at bolstering gun-crime prosecution statistics has resulted in fewer investigations of corrupt dealers and traffickers, records show. As a result, law enforcement officials say criminals are obtaining guns more easily, and America's cities and towns are awash in firearms. [Page 1a]

Bush, Kerry target Ohio

As the presidential race heads for the finish, both candidates are zeroing in on Ohio. The Buckeye State, a traditional bellwether, could be the most important swing state this year. [Page 1a]

Co-pilot faulted in '01 fatal crash

The co-pilot of American Airlines Flight 587 caused the November 2001 crash that claimed the lives of 265 people, the nation's airline safety agency reported. It said the co-pilot's response to turbulence, just seconds after the Airbus A300-600 took off from New York, was "unnecessary and aggressive." [Page 3a]

WORLD

Next president faces hostile Iran

Whomever wins the White House Nov. 2 will likely face a hostile Iran moving quickly toward developing nuclear weapons as American troops battle insurgents in neighboring Iraq. President Bush and Sen. John Kerry would have to work with a limited range of diplomatic tools and the knowledge that military strikes would merely delay Iran becoming a nuclear-weapons state, analysts say. [Page 1a]

Israel approves Gaza withdrawal

Israel's parliament approved Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to remove all Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip and several from the West Bank. It marks the first time that Israeli lawmakers have voted to relinquish land that Palestinians want for an independent state. [Page 1a]

MARYLAND

City population decline slows

The U.S. Census Bureau has revised its most recent estimate of Baltimore's population, boosting it by nearly 15,000 residents. The new figures suggest that the city's loss of people is at its slowest pace in decades. [Page 1a]

Driver in fatal crash fatigued

A tractor-trailer driver who barreled into cars at the Fort McHenry Tunnel toll booth last spring was fatigued, speeding and driving without his eyeglasses when he caused the fiery accident that killed three, according to a still-unreleased police investigation. [Page 1b]

Monitoring law may be needed

Concerned with a flaw in the home detention program for some pretrial defendants, state lawmakers said after a hearing that legislation may be necessary to plug the recently exposed hole in the criminal justice system. Officials learned recently that registering for court-ordered home monitoring is often left to the defendant, and many fail to report. [Page 2b]

SPORTS

Red Sox take 3-0 Series lead

Pedro Martinez pitched seven strong innings, allowing no runs and three hits, as the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-1, to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the World Series. The Red Sox will go for a sweep -- and their first Series title since 1918 -- in Game 4 tonight in St. Louis. [Page 1c]

Florida denies Spurrier report

University of Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley denied a report that school officials have contacted former Gators football coach Steve Spurrier about replacing Ron Zook, who was fired Monday after he posted a 20-13 record in two-plus seasons. [Page 2c]

Perlozzo staying with Orioles

The Orioles denied the Seattle Mariners permission to talk with bench coach Sam Perlozzo about a spot on Mike Hargrove's coaching staff. Executive Vice President Jim Beattie said Perlozzo wasn't interested in leaving the Orioles. [Page 3c]

BUSINESS

Malpractice reforms proposed

Trying to find a solution to Maryland's malpractice insurance problem, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. unveiled a plan to hold down rising costs by creating stricter standards to prove medical injury and limiting award payouts to injured patients. His proposal was immediately condemned by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. [Page 1d]

Rouse offices may be sold

General Growth Properties Inc., the Chicago mall owner buying The Rouse Co., suggested that it would sell Rouse's office properties, but not immediately. The issue is of great importance in Howard County's Columbia, where Rouse's headquarters and mid-rise office properties are dominant. [Page 1d]

Checks to clear days faster

Beginning tomorrow, a new law will make it possible for checks to be cleared days faster than they are now, which could mean bounced checks for consumers. The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, or Check 21, paves the way for banks to electronically transmit checks. An out-of-town check can now clear within 24 hours. [Page 1d]

TODAY

Sinclar show gets tepid ratings

The lackluster Baltimore ratings of A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media mirrored a national pattern for the controversial report on presidential politics by the Sinclair Broadcast Group last week. In 15 of the largest markets in which Sinclair aired the show, it averaged a 2.9 rating and 5 share, says Nielsen Media Research. [Page 4e]

TODAY ONLINE

POLITICS Q&A

Submit your questions on local races and issues to our Sun political reporters. www.baltimoresun.com/election2004

MALVO PLEADS GUILTY

Lee Boyd Malvo admitted his guilt yesterday in one of 10 killings in the October 2002 Washington-area sniper shootings as part of a plea agreement to spare him the death penalty. To read the article and archived coverage of the shootings, go to www.baltimoresun.com/sniper

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"No matter how you cut the numbers, we see a definite flattening out of the population loss."

Otis Rolley III, Baltimore planning director, on revised 2000 census figures (Article, Page 1A)

MARKETS

DOW -- UP

+ 138.49

9,888.48

NASDAQ -- UP

+14.75

1,928.79

S&P -- UP

+16.29

1,111.09

SUNINDEX -- UP

+2.00

269.59

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