Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

December 22, 2004

NATIONAL

Door opened to imported drugs

The Bush administration said that commercial importation of some low-cost prescription drugs from Canada might be feasible, but the savings to consumers would be small, and the federal government would have to spend several hundred million dollars a year to ensure the safety of imported products. [Page 3a]

Bush, Mfume meet

President Bush met for nearly an hour with Kweisi Mfume, the outgoing president of the NAACP, breaking four years of estrangement between the White House and the nation's oldest and largest civil rights group. [Page 3a]

FAA battles retirements

The Federal Aviation Administration intends to hire 12,500 new air traffic controllers and let some existing workers stay on the job longer than their mandatory retirement age to offset a tidal wave of looming retirements. [Page 9a]

WORLD

Blast kills up to 19 U.S. troops

In one of the most devastating attacks since the start of the war in Iraq, an explosion ripped apart a mess tent on a U.S. military base near Mosul, killing at as many as 19 American troops and several U.S. contractors and Iraqi workers. [Page 1a]

Insurgents strike with ease

A plentiful supply of mortars and rocket-propelled grenades - combined with a lack of American troops to patrol military bases - is allowing Iraqi insurgents to strike at American forces with relative ease, military officials and analysts say. [Page 1a]

Abbas praises Arafat's legacy

Mahmoud Abbas, who is expected to win the Jan. 9 elections to succeed Yasser Arafat as Palestinian president, praised Arafat's legacy in a speech yesterday marking the end of the 40-day mourning period for the former leader. [Page 15a]

MARYLAND

Arson tied to gang plot

One of the suspects in the arson that caused $10 million in damage to a Charles County subdivision told authorities that a local gang leader planned the blaze to increase notoriety for the group, known as the Unseen Cavaliers, according to an affidavit made public yesterday. [Page 1b]

Split over malpractice reforms

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and legislative leaders are on a collision course over how to pay the $70 million yearly cost of proposed medical malpractice reforms, meaning next week's scheduled special session of the General Assembly could result in a gubernatorial veto. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

Baseball in D.C. back on track

Given a second chance, the return of Major League Baseball to the nation's capital became a virtual certainty yesterday after the District of Columbia Council passed a stadium financing bill without a provision that had threatened to kill the move a week earlier. By a vote of 7-6, the council approved building a 41,000-seat stadium on the banks of the Anacostia River in southeast Washington. [Page 1a]

Dodgers pull out of Johnson deal

The Los Angeles Dodgers backed out of a three-team, 10-player trade that would have sent Randy Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Yankees. Still, most analysts predict Johnson will wind up with the Yankees. [Page 1c]

AP tells BCS to stop using its poll

Following the lead of one of its member newspapers, the Associated Press has informed those running the Bowl Championship Series that AP voters would no longer be part of determining the BCS national champion, beginning with the 2005 season. [Page 1c]

BUSINESS

Dow Jones hits 3 1/2 year high

The stock market barreled higher, sending the Dow Jones industrials to a new 3 1/2 year high. Stocks have climbed steadily since the presidential elections, with good economic data and positive profit forecasts for 2005. [Page 1d]

Tutoring, shopping under 1 roof

The Baltimore-based parent company of Sylvan Learning Centers plans to open tutoring centers in big-box stores and other retail locations with educational toymaker LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. The venture reflects a trend in retailing toward stores-within-a-store, where people can bank or get medical care or other services while running errands at the same time. [Page 1d]

Fannie Mae chairman ousted

Under heavy pressure from regulators, mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae ousted its chairman and chief executive, Franklin D. Raines, late yesterday. The move came days after the company was found to have violated accounting rules. [Page 1d]

TODAY

2005-2006 opera season set

The Baltimore Opera Company has announced its 2005-2006 season. Particularly noteworthy is the local premiere of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, based on Sister Helen Prejean's acclaimed book. It will be performed at the Lyric Opera House in March 2006. [Page 1e]

Big day for movie openings

It's a big day at the movie theaters as Meet the Fockers, starring Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman, opens at area cinemas. Other openings are Phantom of the Opera and A Very Long Engagement, with Jodie Foster. [Page 1e]

New Potter book on sale July 16

The sixth novel in J.K. Rowling's blockbuster Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, will go on sale in Britain and the United States on July 16, publishers said yesterday. [Page 3e]

TODAY ONLINE

IF I DIE

Read the final part of Diana K. Sugg's series on pediatric palliative care and see an expanded photo gallery and other multimedia extras. www.baltimoresun.com/angels

MIKE PRESTON ON THE RAVENS

Read Sun sports columnist Mike Preston's latest question and answer session about the Ravens. www.baltimoresun.com/prestonqa

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