Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

December 12, 2004

NATIONAL

Replacement sought for KerikThe White House is expected to move quickly to pick a new nominee for homeland security secretary after Bernard Kerik, a former New York police commissioner, withdrew his name from consideration Friday night. Kerik acknowledged failing to pay employment taxes for a nanny who cared for his children and apparently was in the country illegally. [Page 1A ]

Doctors pronounce Bush `fit'

Doctors said President Bush was in good health and pronounced him "fit for duty" after his annual physical yesterday, but Bush also conceded that he was, at 194 pounds, a little overweight. "I probably ate too many doughnuts," the president said. [Page 3a]

WORLD

Yushchenko poisoned, doctors say

Austrian doctors concluded yesterday that Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned with dioxin, most likely intentionally. Yushchenko has claimed since September that he was poisoned in an assassination attempt meant to eliminate a key critic of Ukraine's government. [Page 1a]

Taiwan voters reject ruling party

In a setback for Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, voters rejected his aggressive approach to relations with China by not giving his party and its allies a majority in legislative elections yesterday. The results are certain to please China's leaders, who distrust Chen's intentions. [Page 19a]

MARYLAND

Hackerman halts plans for tower

Construction magnate Willard Hackerman has backed away from plans to invest in the redevelopment of Baltimore's historic Bromo Seltzer tower. Hackerman had been negotiating to buy federal preservation tax credits as the last piece of a financing package that would allow the city to transform the vacant tower into artists' studios. [Page 1b]

Threats to witnesses pervasive

Witness intimidation is ingrained in Baltimore's judicial system, prosecutors and judges say, and the evidence goes beyond the Stop Snitching DVD. It can be found in recorded wiretap conversations, in interviews with petrified victims and sometimes even in the courtrooms themselves, where judges confiscate cell phones to keep courtroom observers from relaying witness testimony to people on the streets. [Page 1a]

Teen charged in Harford killing

A 17-year-old youth was charged yesterday in the shooting of a Harford County cabdriver and father of nine who was killed last week in his taxi a block from his home. Police, acting on tips, found Wayne Lavon Bond on Friday at a house in the 1700 block of Dearwood Court in Edgewood. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

O's seek to sign free agent Sexson

After losing out to the New York Yankees on free-agent pitcher Carl Pavano and sputtering in their attempts to sign first baseman Carlos Delgado and trade for pitcher Tim Hudson, the Orioles focused their efforts yesterday on trying to lure free-agent first baseman Richie Sexson. [Page 1d]

Leinart wins Heisman Trophy

Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart won the Heisman Trophy, college football's most prestigious award, beating out Oklahoma teammates Adrian Peterson and Jason White, last year's winner. In other news, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will be introduced as the new Notre Dame coach tomorrow, the Chicago Tribune reported. [Page 2d]

Wells, Red Sox agree to deal

The Boston Red Sox reached agreement with free-agent pitcher David Wells, who will reportedly receive $8 million guaranteed over two years. [Page 9d]

V. Klitschko keeps WBC belt

Vitali Klitschko retained his World Boxing Council heavyweight title, knocking Danny Williams down four times and giving him a savage beating before finally stopping him in the eighth round in Las Vegas. [Page 16d]

BUSINESS

Toy industry under pressure

The toy industry faces another grim year of sales. Kids are growing up faster and putting down dolls and action figures at an earlier age. The prime audience for toys has shrunk as the children of baby boomers grow into teens and beyond. And Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has stolen share from toy chains and squeezed some of the incentive to devise the next great toy. [Page 1a]

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"If you talk to kids, they want things like iPods. The role models they're looking up to are not sitting around playing Chutes and Ladders."

Chris Byrne, toy consultant in New York (Article, Page 1A)

TODAY ONLINE

SOCIAL SECURITY GAME

How would you fix the Social Security system? Play the game at www.baltimoresun.com/ssgame

AMBROSE ON FINANCE

See a video of The Sun's personal finance columnist Eileen Ambrose talking about Internet payday loans. www.baltimoresun.com/ambrose

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