Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

December 19, 2004

NATIONAL

Afghan deaths draw less note

In the shadow of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, the deaths of detainees in U.S. custody in Afghanistan have drawn less attention and lesser punishments. [Page 1a

Conservative Christmas campaign

Christian conservatives, contending that secularists and nonbelievers have tried to obliterate the the religious meaning of Christmas, are targeting stores and organizations that they believe are diminishing holiday's import. [Page 7a

WORLD

U.S. food aid low

An increase in emergency food demands, a soaring deficit and budget restrictions are making it impossible for the United States to fulfill its global agricultural aid commitments. [Page 1a

Turks celebrate EU progress

Thousands of supporters showered Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with ticker tape yesterday as he returned to Ankara from a European summit, vowing to press forward with reforms and the country's bid to join the European Union. The EU offered Friday to begin talks aimed at bringing Turkey into the organization. [Page 23a

MARYLAND

3 arrested in arson probe

Three 20-year-old men from Southern Maryland, one a rookie firefighter, were arrested yesterday as federal officials continued their arson investigation of the fires that destroyed on Dec. 6 a housing development being constructed in Charles County. The men charged with arson reportedly are acquaintances of 21-year-old Aaron Speed, who was arrested Thursday. Authorities said the three new arrests did not conclude their investigation and more arrests are possible. [Page 1a

Stem cell research push

Fearful that California's investment in stem cell science will sap Maryland's biotech industry, Del. Sandy Rosenberg and Sen. Paula C. Hollinger are proposing legislation to dedicate $25 million a year to helping the state's scientists pursue the promising but controversial research. The initiatives could put Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in a difficult position. He supports the biotech industry, but the initiatives would fund types of research that Ehrlich opposed when he was in Congress. [Page 1b

Rules won't let wife cross border

Larry and Lisa Davis were married in March and planned to spend their first Christmas together in their Baltimore home - but there's a hitch. Lisa, a Canadian, crossed the border to visit her dying father two weeks ago. Now she's stuck in Toronto, the victim of strict, post 9/11 border regulations and a minor crime she committed six years ago. [Page 1b

BUSINESS

The more airlines change ...

Unable to differentiate themselves on price alone anymore with competitors matching every sale, some of the nation's rising discount carriers have begun offering satellite radio, television and leather seats - niceties that passengers usually associate with the traditional airlines. As they change, the results are leaving airlines looking more and more alike. [Page 1c

SPORTS

A's send Mulder to Cardinals

The Athletics traded their second top starting pitcher in three days, sending left-hander Mark Mulder to the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals for three young players. Mulder follows Tim Hudson out of Oakland, leaving Barry Zito as the only remaining member of the team's vaunted "Big Three" pitchers. [Page 3d

Majerus backs out on USC deal

Three days after being hired as the new men's basketball coach at Southern California, Rick Majerus changed his mind and will stay at ESPN as a college basketball analyst. Majerus, who cited health reasons when he retired in January after 15 seasons as Utah's coach, was announced as the Trojans' incoming coach Wednesday. [Page 6d

Declan's Moon wins `Futurity'

Maryland-bred Declan's Moon clinched the Eclipse Award as outstanding 2-year-old male with an impressive victory in the $449,500, Grade I Hollywood Futurity at Hollywood Park. The gelded son of Malibu Moon and the 8-year-old mare Vee Vee Star won for the fourth time in as many starts. [Page 15d

ARTS & SOCIETY

Debating `The Wire'

As the Baltimore-based crime drama The Wire completes its third season on HBO tonight, debate over just how the show depicts its hometown - and about how "real" the show's plots and characters are - continues to rage. [Page 3e

HOME & FAMILY

Child care goes online

The Internet has become the latest place for parents and baby-sitters to meet. For a fee, sites like sittercity.com, mynannycalledinsick.com and phoneababysitter.com allow parents to peruse lists of sitters by age, location and attributes like CPR training and proficiency in a foreign language. [Page 1n

A look inside QVC

Shopping channel QVC - the letters stand for Quality, Value and Convenience - began broadcasting outside Philadelphia in 1986. After 18 years, it now reaches about 96 percent of homes with cable television, and airs nearly 1,500 product demonstrations a week, 200 of them never seen before, giving hope to hordes of hopefuls with stuff to sell. [Page 1n

TRAVEL

Going to the dogs

Mushing, or dog sledding, may conjure up images of Alaska's Iditarod race, or Robert Peary crossing the Arctic to reach the North Pole. These days, however, mushing is as much for the tourist looking for a change from the usual winter sports of skiing, snowshoeing or snowmobiling. [Page 6r

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Why do they all come to Skidmore to do this? I'm going to move out of this town."

Pauline Dragoo, 91, commenting on the Missouri town's history of grisly crimes, including the killing last week of a pregnant woman whose 8-month-old fetus was cut from her womb. (Article, Page 18A)

TODAY ONLINE

SPECIAL SERIES

Read part one of Diana K. Sugg's series on the care of dying children and see a video of Michelle Voigt talking about her son, R.J. www.baltimoresun.com/angels

MARYLAND WEATHER

Get the latest conditions and forecasts, plus Sun science writer Frank Roylance's daily blog at www.marylandweather.com

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