Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

December 15, 2004

NATIONAL

Marines accused of detainee abuse

The Iraqi detainee abuse scandal has focused primarily on Army soldiers, but newly released records from the Navy document numerous abuses by U.S. Marines in Iraq as well. [Page 1a]

White House pressed on Kerik

As more details about Bernard Kerik's life become public -- connections to a company with possible mob ties, a third marriage he never disclosed, a 1998 warrant for his arrest over unpaid bills -- pressure builds on the White House to explain why President Bush nominated the former New York City police commissioner to head the Department of Homeland Security. [Page 1a]

Key in Social Security overhaul

Before they begin seriously discussing how to overhaul Social Security, President Bush and lawmakers supporting changes are focused on one thing: convincing senior citizens, a potent voting bloc that is fiercely protective of its retirement benfits, that they have nothing to lose. [Page 4a]

WORLD

Effect of Iraqi election questioned

Former British and U.S. officials who have worked as advisers in Iraq are warning that elections scheduled for Jan. 30 will likely do little to end the fighting in the country. [Page 14a]

Fighting with Israel called mistake

Interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview published yesterday that the armed struggle against Israel was a mistake and should end. [Page 14a]

MARYLAND

SHA official remains on the job

The State Highway Administration purchasing official who paid $26.99 a can for windshield de-icer that costs about 97 cents retail is still on the job and has a government-issued credit card, lawmakers learned. [Page 1a]

Lawmakers seek closure of plant

A medical waste incinerator near Curtis Bay has violated limits for mercury, soot and other air pollutants more than 400 times over the past two years, prompting three state legislators and a city councilman to demand that the state shut it down. [Page 1a]

SPORTS

D.C. stadium funding in peril

Baseball's plan to move the Expos to Washington might come apart after the District of Columbia Council voted last night to require private funding for at least half the cost of a new park. The council voted 7-6 to approve legislation to finance construction of a ballpark, but the bill contained an amendment on private financing that Major League Baseball seems likely to consider a deal-breaker. [Page 1c]

O's turn attention to Burnett

Unable to sign or acquire a front-line starting pitcher at the winter meetings that concluded Monday, the Orioles appear to be turning more of their attention toward Florida Marlins right-hander A.J. Burnett. Burnett was 7-6 with a 3.68 ERA in 20 games. [Page 1c]

NHL, union reject new proposals

The NHL moved a step closer to losing the season when the league and players' association rejected offers for a new collective bargaining agreement. The league turned down the union's offer from Thursday and presented a salary-cap-based counterproposal, which the union said it wouldn't accept. [Page 3c]

BUSINESS

U.S. trade deficit at record high

The U.S. trade deficit reached an all-time high of $55.5 billion in October. For the first 10 months of the year, the trade deficit topped $500 billion -- more than in all of last year. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve, as expected, raised the federal funds rate a quarter-point to 2.25 percent -- the fifth increase this year. [Page 1d]

Regional hiring tops national rate

A survey of employers found that hiring in the Baltimore region is likely to outpace national job growth. Forty-six percent of employers said they plan to hire in the first quarter, nearly double the national rate of 24 percent. The region continues to benefit from the federal government's boost in defense spending and the economic strength from Washington, economists said. [Page 1d]

Blockbuster to cut out late fees

In an effort to protect its business against online services such as Netflix, Blockbuster moved to cut out late fees. Still, the video rental giant said, it expects its rentals to continue to decline this year. [Page 1d]

TODAY

Peterson jurors now celebrities

Jurors in the Scott Peterson murder trial are the latest to experience going from everyday people to celebrities from their involvement in high-profile legal cases. Some seek the media glare, but others want no more attention. Some experts worry that public fascination with such jurors might undermine their effectiveness in court. [Page 1a]

Illegal nannies thriving all over

The illegal nannies who seem to be exposed only around Senate confirmation time are thriving in cities where affluent two-career couples raise children. Around Washington, people are aware of the political risks of employing an undocumented domestic worker, but that often doesn't stop them. [Page 1e]

Springsteen is Santa again in N.J.

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