Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

December 21, 2004

NATIONAL

President Bush acknowledged yesterday that efforts to put Iraqis in charge of security in Iraq has brought "mixed results" and that insurgents have been using violence successfully as a propaganda tool to derail Iraqi elections set for next month. [Page 1a]

FBI reported on detainee abuse

FBI agents working in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, tried repeatedly over the past two years to distance themselves from aggressive military interrogation tactics that they feared could damage future terrorism prosecutions, newly released documents show. [Page 3A]

Bush promises a strict budget

President Bush promised to send Congress a tough budget next year that maintains strict discipline on spending, in what budget experts and congressional sources said could be a commitment to deeply cutting some domestic programs and possibly eliminating others. [Page 10a]

WORLD

Labor Party poised to join Sharon

The center-left Labor Party of Shimon Peres yesterday will almost certainly join the government led by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the right-wing Likud. Several procedural hurdles remain before a new coalition is formed, but Peres has promised to support Sharon's plan to dismantle all Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. [Page 12a]

Ukrainian hopefuls to debate

Ukraine's two candidates in its Dec. 26 presidential runoff faced off yesterday in a televised debate, with Prime Minister Viktor F. Yanukovych pledging to form a national unity government if he won. He called on his rival, Viktor A. Yushchenko, to do the same. [Page 11a]

MARYLAND

National Aquarium set to buy land

The National Aquarium is set to purchase almost 20 acres in South Baltimore for a $110 million expansion project that could help transform the industrial waterfront along the Patapsco River's Middle Branch. The plan calls for the aquarium to pay as much as $8 million, which would help the city move its central garage to a new East Baltimore location. The land deal goes before the Board of Estimates tomorrow. [Page 1a]

Two more arrested in arson

The arsonists who burned a Charles County development of half-million-dollar homes met before dawn in the parking lot of a nearby Wendy's restaurant. Then they collected their gas cans and drove together to the site, kicking in doors and methodically setting houses ablaze, according to court documents released yesterday. Federal prosecutors announced two more arrests last night, bringing to six the number of men charged with setting the fires early on Dec. 6. [Page 1a]

No holiday for legislators

With legislators scrambling to change their holiday plans to be in Annapolis on Dec. 28 for the General Assembly's first special session in more than a decade, continued disagreement over plans to limit medical malpractice insurance increases could sink any hope for a solution before doctors must pay higher premiums. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

D.C. reaches baseball agreement

Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams and D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp reached an agreement that they expected to revive baseball's once-planned return to the city by altering the terms of a half-billion-dollar stadium-funding bill. The deal must be approved by the full council, which is meeting today. [Page 1c]

Owens likely to miss 5 weeks

Philadelphia Eagles receiver Terrell Owens likely will miss at least the next five weeks with a severe ankle sprain. The trauma from the injury was great enough that he also suffered a fracture of his fibula just below his knee. The fracture will heal itself, but the damage in his ankle will require surgery. The soonest he could return would be for the Super Bowl. [Page 1c]

O's sign Gibbons, Kline

In a day marked by a flurry of activity for the Orioles, the team signed right fielder Jay Gibbons to a one-year, $2.6 million contract, signed left-handed reliever Steve Kline to a two-year, $5.5 million deal and reacquired backup infielder Chris Gomez from the Phillies. [Page 1c]

BUSINESS

Calif. sues brokerage firm

California's attorney general filed a $300 million lawsuit against Edward Jones & Co., a brokerage that caters to individual investors, over claims that it failed to tell investors that it received $300 million from mutual fund companies in exchange for promoting their funds. The suit came the same day the firm agreed to a $75 million settlement with federal regulators. [Page 1d]

T. Rowe Price wins settlement

Service Corp. International, which bills itself as the world's largest funeral and cemetery services company, says it will pay $14.8 million to 12 T. Rowe Price mutual funds to settle a lawsuit stemming from a surprise revenue shortfall disclosed in 1999. [Page 1d]

TODAY

DiPod mini is a big item this season

The iPod mini MP3 player is proving to be one of the season's hottest gift items. Some major retailers are reportedly putting shoppers on waiting lists. [Page 1e]

Kennedy honors airs tonight

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