Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

October 29, 2004

NATIONAL

Halliburton contracts probed

The FBI has begun investigating whether the Pentagon improperly awarded no-bid contracts to Halliburton Co. The line of inquiry expands an FBI investigation into whether Halliburton overcharged taxpayers for fuel in Iraq. [Page 3a]

Seeking flu vaccine imports

The Bush administration said yesterday that it is working to buy 5 million doses of flu vaccine from manufacturers in Canada and Germany, mixing the issue of prescription drug imports with the flu shot shortage. [Page 3a]

Candidates' personal approach

Approaching the end of their campaigns, President Bush and Sen. John Kerry tried yesterday to strike more personal chords to woo undecided voters in battleground states. Kerry, who has struggled to shed his patrician image, wore a baseball cap and spoke at large rallies that rocked to Bruce Springsteen. Bush tried to buff his image as commander in chief in a speech in Saginaw, Mich., that reflected on the Sept. 11 attacks.[Page 10a]

WORLD

Arafat to be treated in Paris

Ailing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was expected to fly to Paris today for treatment. The exact nature of Arafat's illness is unclear, but officials said that he has been disoriented and weak and that blood tests showed a low platelet count. [Page 12a]

Militants say they hold 11 Iraqis

Militants said they had killed 11 Iraqi security officers who were being held hostage, while a new video showed a kidnapped Polish woman and called for Poland to remove its forces from the country. [Page 14a]

MARYLAND

NAACP's tax status examined

The Internal Revenue Service is auditing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after its chairman criticized President Bush in a speech this summer. A letter from the IRS to the organization says it is questioning whether the group has intervened in a political campaign, jeopardizing its tax-exempt status. [Page 1a]

Voter registration at record high

A late burst of registrations has pushed the number of registered voters in the state past 3 million for the first time. Anxious voters are jamming phone lines at election boards across Maryland, waiting in long lines for emergency absentee ballots and leaving officials worried that next week's election could bring record crowds, lengthy waits and hot tempers. [Page 1a]

BUSINESS

FluMist company gets boost

A government advisory committee voted yesterday to include FluMist nasal-spray vaccine in the federal Vaccines for Children program for the flu season next year -- the latest development to boost the once-troubled product of Gaithersburg-based MedImmune Inc. [Page 1c]

Temporary layoffs at GM plant

Workers at the General Motors plant in Southeast Baltimore will return to work a week later than planned from their winter holiday, joining five other GM plants putting employees on temporary layoff status early next year. [Page 1c]

Ehrlich malpractice bill decried

Thomas V. Mike Miller said yesterday that he will craft his own plan to hold down medical malpractice insurance rates if the governor doesn't draft a more "moderate" bill. Speaking at a rally of malpractice victims and others, the state Senate president criticized Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s plan to prevent rate increases as favoring big business over victims. [Page 1c]

SPORTS

1st Balto. golfer wins state title

Wilbert Lynn III of City College became the first Baltimore City golfer and first African-American to win a state golf title. Lynn closed his round with four consecutive birdies that brought him back from a six-stroke deficit at the turn for a one-shot victory.[Page 1d]

Ogden re-signs with Ravens

Jonathan Ogden signed a new, seven-year contract with the Ravens. The deal for the seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle will pay him a total of $50 million, including a guaranteed $20 million in the first two years of his contract, a league source said. [Page 4d]

Redskins rookie arrested

Washington Redskins rookie safety Sean Taylor was arrested yesterday morning on a charge of drunken driving. Taylor will be inactive for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers, the Redskins announced. [Page 4d]

TODAY

Movie about Ray Charles opens

Jamie Foxx turns out a superb performance in Ray, the film about musician Ray Charles, which opens in area movie theaters today. Other movies opening are Vera Drake, Birth, Saw, Around the Bend and Primer. [Page 1e]

O'Reilly, ex-producer to settle

Fox News Channel television host Bill O'Reilly and a former producer of his talk show have agreed to settle their legal dispute over her allegations of sexual harassment, O'Reilly's lawyer announced yesterday. All parties have agreed to keep all information related to their cases confidential. [Page 1e]

Election predictors abound

Including the Redskins game this weekend and the results of Weekly Reader children's magazine poll, predictors of the winner of Tuesday's presidential election are everywhere. [Page 1e]

TODAY ONLINE

THE BALTIMORE SUN POLL

Read more about public support of Comptroller William Donald Schaefer and other results from The Sun poll. www.baltimoresun.com/election2004

NEW MOVIES

Read Chris Kaltenbach's reviews of Ray and Vera Drake, then check our searchable database of theaters and showtimes. www.baltimoresun.com/movies

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Everybody knows, even school children, that there is pressure [for a trial] from George Bush and his slave John Howard."

Abu Bakar Bashir, Muslim cleric accused of leading the group blamed for the Bali bombings, proclaiming his innocence at his trial. (Article, Page 18A)

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