Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

February 04, 2005

NATIONAL

Bush pushes Social Security plan

One day after calling on Congress to help him strengthen and save Social Security, Bush focused on selling voters around the nation on his plan to add personal investment accounts to the program. Overhauling Social Security "is doable," Bush said in Great Falls, Mont. "It's just going to take some political will." [Page 1a]

Senate confirms Gonzales

The Senate confirmed Alberto R. Gonzales yesterday as the nation's first Hispanic attorney general after debate in which his role as an architect of Bush administration policy toward suspected terrorists overshadowed his rags-to-riches life story. He was approved, 60-36, with all the "no" votes coming from Democrats and the Senate's lone independent. [Page 1a]

WORLD

Iraqi forces seen as not trained

Top Pentagon officials told lawmakers yesterday that fewer than one-third of Iraq's 136,000 security forces have been adequately trained. [Page 1a]

Israel to release 900 Palestinians

In a goodwill gesture, Israel approved the release of 900 Palestinian prisoners yesterday, but Palestinian officials said the number was too low. [Page 14a]

MARYLAND

UM gets $60 million in donations

Two prominent alumni and longtime University of Maryland benefactors yesterday announced donations of $30 million each to the schools that bear their names, doubling their previous records with what officials say are the single largest donations to a Maryland state institution. University of Maryland President C.D. Mote Jr. called the combined $60 million in gifts from well-known developer Robert H. Smith and general contractor A. James Clark the most historic moment since the university's founding. [Page 1a]

Ehrlich says MBE program safe

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. scrambled to calm growing anger yesterday over his comments earlier this week about ending Maryland's program to increase minority participation in state contracts. In one closed-door meeting after another, Ehrlich tried to assure lawmakers, many of whom plan to voice their concerns at a noon news conference today, that he is committed to the state's Minority Business Enterprise program and has worked to expand it. [Page 1b]

Parents question prison bus death

Philip E. Parker Jr., the 20-year-old who died Wednesday aboard a prison bus staffed with five guards, was strangled in his seat by another inmate who was later found with blood on his wrists, Parker's parents said yesterday. Priscilla Doggett, the Correction Division spokeswoman, said the killing was under investigation by the department and that no charges had been filed. In the meantime, she said, the five correctional employees who were on the bus had been placed on leave and a complete review of the agency's transportation policies and procedures had been ordered. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

NFL great E. Smith retires

Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time rushing leader, announced his retirement at the age of 35 after a 15-year career. Smith played 13 years for Dallas and two for Arizona, winning three Super Bowl titles with the Cowboys. [Page 8c]

NHL season hangs in balance

One day after the NHL players association rejected the league's latest salary cap proposal, the sides met again in New York in what might have been the last chance to save the hockey season. The NHL declined to comment on what was being discussed, or if any progress was being made. [Page 8c]

Coming soon: Sosa jerseys

Majestic Athletic, the official supplier of uniforms to all 30 major league baseball teams, began production yesterday morning on Orioles jerseys bearing Sammy Sosa's name and No. 21. The Orioles, meanwhile, said they've seen a sharp increase in ticket sales since the Sosa acquisition. [Page 3c]

BUSINESS

GM plant accepts last orders

General Motors accepted final orders this week for the last vans to be made at its Baltimore plant, moving the 70-year-old Broening Highway factory another step closer to its shutdown later this year. [Page 1d]

Menswear chain to alter practice

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., the Hampstead menswear chain that has faced questions about its accounting methods, announced yesterday that it would alter how it calculates store sales. The retailer will adopt the practice common in its industry to compare sales in all stores open at least a year. Critics contended that Bank's previous system might have given its sales comparisons an artificial boost. [Page 1d]

HEALTH & SCIENCE

Laser sheds light on crime scenes

Police investigating the grisly killing of a young Texas mother have gotten an assist from a laser technology first developed to assay the quality of the enriched uranium made for America's nuclear bombs. Called laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, it produces precise chemical analyses that promise to help forensic detectives quickly match materials linking suspects to crime scenes. [Page 1e]

TODAY

Morgan sorority marks 40 years

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