Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

February 11, 2005

NATIONAL

Congress OKs suit limits

Congress took its first big step to implement President Bush's plan to overhaul the nation's legal system, approving a measure long sought by business to impose new restrictions on class-action lawsuits. [Page 1a]

3 guilty in terror case

In a case with broad implications for civil liberties and America's war on terrorism, an outspoken civil rights lawyer and two colleagues were convicted of conspiring to smuggle information to an imprisoned Egyptian cleric and helping him communicate incendiary messages to terrorists around the world. [Page 3a]

Thousands wrongly convicted

Thousands of suspects unable to afford lawyers are wrongly convicted each year because they are pressured to accept guilty pleas or have incompetent attorneys, the American Bar Association says in a report. [Page 3b]

WORLD

U.S. rethinks N. Korea strategy

With its declaration yesterday that it had manufactured nuclear weapons, North Korea left its neighbors and the Bush administration scrambling to rethink their strategies for containing the isolated nation. [Page 1a]

Prince Charles, Camilla to wed

Prince Charles surprised the United Kingdom yesterday by announcing his plans to marry his longtime mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles. [Page 1a]

Abbas removes 3 top chiefs

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas fired three of his top security chiefs after Hamas militants defied a truce he had declared with Israel by launching dozens of mortar rounds and homemade rockets at Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. [Page 8a]

MARYLAND

O'Malleys receive an apology

The state employee forced to resign this week for spreading rumors about Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's personal life has sent an e-mail apologizing to the mayor and his family. While Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s staff is investigating, some Democratic lawmakers continued to press yesterday for an independent probe. [Page 1a]

Details of inmate killing offered

Correctional officers riding a nighttime transport in the back of a pitch-black prison bus last week saw a commotion among the inmates, but broken interior lights kept them from seeing 20-year-old prisoner Philip E. Parker Jr. being strangled a few feet from them, according to union officials. [Page 1a]

Bay Bridge work slows

Maryland's transportation secretary said that he is slowing down the Bay Bridge reconstruction project to take a fresh approach, in light of a highly critical report on problems with work on the westbound span - a move that will delay its completion until 2007, but keep the span free of major roadwork this fall and in spring 2006. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

Giambi apologizes, won't say why

In his first public appearance since it was revealed late last year that he admitted that he took steroids, slugger Jason Giambi apologized to fans, teammates and the New York Yankees' organization. But when he was pressed to explain what he was sorry for, Giambi said he was advised not to go into detail, citing his continuing legal matters. [Page 1c]

Ravens, Baxter discuss corner job

The Ravens are still negotiating with Gary Baxter, the team's biggest offseason priority, and though the sides may not have agreed on a contract yet, they are in accord on at least one issue: Baxter won't be switching from cornerback to safety. [Page 7c]

BUSINESS

City home prices jumped 18%

Home prices leaped 18 percent in the Baltimore area last month, in what real estate experts see as a sign of the continuing strength of the local housing market. Homes sold relatively quickly as buyers continued to outnumber sellers and bid up property values. [Page 1d]

Minimum wage boost sought

In what promises to be a bruising political fight, state Democrats and worker advocates fired the opening salvos in their push to raise Maryland's minimum wage, now $5.15 an hour. More than a dozen state legislators are sponsoring bills calling for $6.15 an hour, while a third bill proposes $7 an hour. [Page 1d]

Riggs Bank deal revived

Salvaging a deal that appeared dead earlier this week, regional bank PNC Financial Services Group Inc. struck an agreement to pay about $642 million in cash and stock for Riggs Bank, an old-line Washington institution that ran into legal trouble over its role in helping foreign leaders hide hundreds of millions of dollars. [Page 1d]

TODAY

Fashion trends for fall

Fuller skirts, details and sweaters were among the trends at New York's Fashion Week for fall. As the big event wraps up today, other similarities among designs for the fall collections are revealed: for example, there is a recurring theme of Russian influence. [Page 1f]

Monarchs and mistresses

Eleanor Herman is the Baltimore-born author of Sex With Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry and Revenge, a spicy social history published in June. The book will be published in Great Britain just weeks before Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles are married on April 8. [Page 1f ]

THE MARYLAND POLL

See the results of our poll on what voters think are the top issues facing the state as the 2005 General Assembly gets underway in Annapolis. www.baltimoresun.com/politics

RASHOD REVIEWS

Sun pop music critic reviews Rahsaan Patterson's latest album, After Hours. www.baltimoresun.com/rashodvideos

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"We ... have manufactured nukes for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration's evermore undisguised policy to isolate and stifle the [North]."

North Korean government, via Korean Central News Agency (Article, Page 1A)

MARKETS

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+0.5, 2,053.10

S&P -- UP

+5.02

1,197.01

SUNINDEX -- UP

+0.32

306.85

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