Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

February 10, 2005

MARYLAND

O'Malleys denounce rumors

Mayor Martin O'Malley and his wife, Katie Curran O'Malley, stood outside City Hall to denounce "orchestrated" and "relentless" rumors about their marriage, while Democrats called for an independent investigation into the state employee who admitted spreading stories about the mayor on the Internet. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said he would consider asking the state prosecutor to probe the actions of Joseph Steffen, a longtime aide. [Page 1a]

Ex-priest proclaims innocence

Defrocked priest Maurice Blackwell, whose trial on sexual abuse charges begins today, publicly defended himself yesterday, saying that his accuser, Dontee Stokes, is mentally ill and that the Catholic church had abandoned him. Stokes, now 29, shot Blackwell several years ago but was acquitted of the most serious charges. [Page 1a]

Ehrlich slots bill gets hearing

Members of the state Senate Budget and Taxation Committee heard nearly three hours of testimony on Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s plan that would open Maryland to slot machines and give the state a projected $800 million a year. [Page 1b]

NATIONAL

Ruling on black chaplain reversed

An Army board reversed the 1894 dismissal of an African-American chaplain for conduct unbecoming an officer, saying the action against Henry Vinton Plummer, who was born a slave in Maryland, was unjust and tainted by discrimination. [Page 1a]

FAA had warnings before 9/11

In the months before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal aviation officials reviewed dozens of intelligence reports that warned about Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, some of which discussed airline hijackings and suicide operations, a report shows. [Page 1a]

Medicare reforms sought

Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill said that the Medicare law should be rewritten to require the government to negotiate for better deals from drug makers and to allow patients to buy drugs from Canada. [Page 3a]

WORLD

Televised trials seen for Iraqis

Televised trials for some of Saddam Husseins key henchmen are set to begin in several weeks before an Iraqi tribunal, which could hand down sentences of death by hanging or firing squad, a legal expert said. [Page 10a]

Skepticism over Mideast peace

Israeli and Palestinian declarations to end all violence between the two sides were major headlines in the Israeli and Arab media, but for many, skepticism was hard to shake. [Page 14a]

TODAY

Dime Museum looks at death

Richard Hoff's private collection of mortuary artifacts, from embalming shunts to Victorian-era animal-claw jewelry, are part of "Mourning in America," an exhibit at the American Dime Museum that casts an eye on the evolving business of death and grieving in America. [Page 1c]

Author to discuss steel industry

Mark Reutter's book, Making Steel, is out in a new expanded and updated edition. The original 1988 book was acclaimed as a definitive study of a giant American steelmaker. Reutter will talk about the book tonight at the Creative Alliance in Highlandtown, where many Sparrows Point steelworkers lived and died. [Page 1c]

BUSINESS

Towns seeks asbestos answers

As Libby, Mont. learns more about the asbestos spread from the W.R. Grace & Co. mine there, dozens of other communities across the country are waiting for answers about the extent of contamination and potential health risks in their own backyards. Federal officials are assessing 28 sites, including one in Beltsville. [Page 1d]

Fiorina ousted at HP

When news broke yesterday that Hewlett-Packard Co. had ousted its chief executive officer, Carly S. Fiorina, financial Internet message boards went wild, with the name-calling gender-based, at times even sexual and misogynistic. While few experts believed Fiorina was fired because she is a woman, her rise, her performance and ultimately her fall was watched closely because of that. [Page 1d]

City's west side shows vitality

Baltimore's long-struggling west side is outperforming the rest of downtown, even the waterfront, on jobs and some other measures of economic vitality, according to the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc.'s 2004 state of downtown report. [Page 1d]

SPORTS

Duke beats North Carolina

J.J. Redick scored 18 points, freshman DeMarcus Nelson added 16 and No. 7 Duke forced 23 turnovers to hold off the second-ranked Tar Heels, 71-70, in an Atlantic Coast Conference game in Durham, N.C. North Carolina squandered a chance to win in the final seconds, never getting a shot off after inbounding with 18 seconds left. [Page 1e]

U.S. men defeat Trinidad

Facing a determined Trinidad team, a composed United States men's soccer team rode a sparkling performance by goalkeeper Kasey Keller and goals by Eddie Johnson and Eddie Lewis to emerge a 2-1 victor in a World Cup qualifier. [Page 3e]

Wizards down Spurs

Antawn Jamison had a season-high 35 points and 11 rebounds, Gilbert Arenas scored 24, and the Washington Wizards took advantage of the injured Tim Duncan's absence in a 95-87 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. [Page 5e]

TODAY ONLINE

TAINTED RECORDS?

Accusations in Jose Canseco's new book add further suspicion to some of baseball's greatest moments. For archived coverage of the steroids scandal, go to: www.baltimoresun.com/steroids

NASCAR Q & A

Submit your questions about NASCAR and the coming Daytona 500 to The Sun's award-winning auto racing writer Sandy McKee at: www.baltimoresun.com/autoracing

QUOTE OF THE DAY

These are despicable lies. These are falsehoods. I have always been faithful to my wife, from our first date until this date."

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, responding to Web site postings (Article, Page 1A)

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