Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

December 20, 2004

NATIONAL

Giuliani image tarnished

Rudolph W. Giuliani's heroic image after the Sept. 11 attacks has brought his consulting firm colossal business contracts and fueled speculation that New York's former mayor could become the country's next president. But the scandal surrounding Giuliani's ally Bernard Kerik -- whose nomination to head the Department of Homeland Security imploded this month -- has put the first bit of tarnish on Giuliani's post-9/11 halo. [Page 1a]

Officials support Rumsfeld

While acknowledging mistakes in Iraq by the Bush administration, leading Republicans were reluctant yesterday to recommend that the White House replace Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who has lost the confidence of some GOP lawmakers over the conduct of the war. [Page 3a ]

Manufacturer defends Celebrex

The head of the pharmaceutical company that produces the controversial arthritis painkiller Celebrex argued that the drug still had an important role to play in medical treatment despite a federal warning that its use could promote heart attacks. [Page 5a]

WORLD

Iraq bombings kill at least 60

Car bombs tore through a Najaf funeral procession and Karbala's main bus station yesterday, killing at least 60 people and wounding more than 120 in the two Shiite holy cities. In Baghdad, gunmen launched a bold ambush, executing three election officials, in their campaign to disrupt next month's parliamentary ballot. [Page 1a]

Single bidder for Yukos unit

An unknown group made the only bid for the main production unit of Russia's largest oil producer, Yukos, agreeing to pay $9.3 billion and gaining control of one of Russia's most prized assets for half of what foreign auditors say it was worth. [Page 8a]

Israel OKs Palestinians' release

Israel has approved the release of 170 Palestinian prisoners in a goodwill gesture to Egypt and encouragement to interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in hopes for future negotiations. [Page 8a]

MARYLAND

East-side project has developer

A partnership between a Cleveland company and a group that includes three prominent local minority builders has been selected to develop the first phase of a major East Baltimore redevelopment project centered around a biotech park. A group that includes Forest City Enterprises and builders Ronald H. Lipscomb, Dean Harrison and Kenneth Banks was picked to turn a blighted, 30-acre swath north of the Johns Hopkins medical complex into a community with life sciences buildings, retail space and new rowhouses and apartments. [Page 1a]

Cecil joins rape reporting effort

In an effort to encourage rape victims to disclose the notoriously underreported crime, Cecil County has joined a handful of localities nationwide that allow people to provide police with physical evidence and details about the offense without filing a formal report that would trigger prosecution. [Page 1a]

Md. campuses delay repairs

At campuses throughout Maryland's public university system, vital classroom and building renovations are being put off because officials haven't set aside enough money for repairs. The state's 11 campuses are supposed to have $96 million for work such as replacing roofs and windows and overhauling heating systems, but only about $30 million is available, officials say. [Page 1b]

Motive sought in Charles Co. fires

Federal investigators are still trying to piece together a motive in the fires that roared through a Charles County housing development in the worst residential arson in state history. Four men have been arrested -- three of them Saturday -- on federal arson charges in the fires set at Indian Head two weeks ago. [Page 1b]

TODAY

Ex-police station up for sale

The former Canton Police Station, on South Baylis Street just blocks from Brewers Hill and the Canton waterfront, is on the market for $400,000, part of an aggressive effort by the city to sell off surplus properties in residential areas. [Page 1c]

Answering letters to Santa

At the Baltimore Post Office, as at most post offices around the country, letters to Santa arrive this time of year. Here, the writers of some of the 1,000-plus letters asking for everything from Barbie dolls to help for sick siblings, are connected with people who can offer real answers. [Page 1c]

SPORTS

Terps top Fla. State in OT

John Gilchrist made two free throws with 6.6 seconds left in overtime to lead No. 23 Maryland over Florida State, 90-88, in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener at Comcast Center. Gilchrist finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds. [Page 1d]

Baseball free-spending returns

Rising attendance figures and television ratings have made baseball teams more active in the free-agent market. After a two-year downturn in the market, many have returned to their free-spending ways. [Page 1d]

GAMEDAY

Colts defeat Ravens, 20-10

The Ravens kept the Colts' Peyton Manning from the NFL season touchdown record, but Indianapolis defeated the Ravens, 20-10. The Ravens' third loss in four games dropped them to 8-6 and into a four-way tie for the final AFC playoff spot with the Broncos, Jaguars and Bills. [Page 1e]

TODAY ONLINE

SPECIAL SERIES

Read part two of Diana K. Sugg's series on pediatric palliative care and find online resources and multimedia extras. www.baltimoresun.com/angels

MONDAY BUSINESS

Start your work week online with our special Monday Business gallery. www.baltimoresun.com/mondaybiz

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