Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

February 14, 2005

NATIONAL

Hearing restored in mammals

Michigan researchers have restored hearing in deaf mammals for the first time, a feat that represents a major step toward the treatment of the 27 million Americans with acquired hearing loss. [Page a]

Ore. man charged in suicide pact

A man who used an Internet chat room to try to set up a mass suicide on Valentine's Day had been trying to persuade women for at least five years to engage in sex with him and then kill themselves, a sheriff said. Gerald Krein, 26, is charged with solicitation to commit murder. [Page 3a]

Biden seeks joint talks on Iran

Democratic Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware has urged the Bush administration to join three European allies in negotiating with Iran to get it to abandon its nuclear programs, saying a failure to do so could lead to the need to invade. [Page 6a]

WORLD

Shiites win most votes in Iraq

Iraq's long-downtrodden Shiites won the largest share of the vote in Iraq's landmark election, according to a final count released yesterday, though they failed to score the outright majority they had been expecting. The country's equally oppressed Kurds came in second. [Page 1a]

Abbas says war virtually over

The new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, said in an interview that the war with the Israelis was effectively over and that the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, was speaking a different language to the Palestinians. [Page 1a]

China to press N. Korea on talks

China pledged that it would pressure North Korea to return to six-party talks despite North Korea's statement late last week that it would abandon talks and build up its nuclear weapons arsenal. [Page 8a]

MARYLAND

New questions on MTBE

When Maryland lawmakers sit down this week to consider what to do about the use of methyl tertiarly butyl ether (MTBE), a toxic gasoline additive contaminating hundreds of wells across the state, they'll be torn between appeals to protect the public's drinking water or its air. But some environmental experts have suggested that this is a false choice. Advances in refining technology, they contend, have resulted in fuels that burn cleaner without any additive. [Page 1a)

Scholarships to aid Poly students

A $5 million gift from Baltimore contractor Willard Hackerman will provide full scholarships for three Baltimore Polytechnic Institute students a year, for 25 years, to attend the Johns Hopkins University. Hopkins officials plan to announce the establishment of the Hackerman Polytechnic Scholarships today. [Page 1b]

Mirant event raises eyebrows

The Mirant power company is in bankruptcy, unable to pay taxes or creditors. But it didn't look broke last week hosting a private dinner party for state lawmakers at an Annapolis waterfront hotel. The event is routine and perfectly legal. But some environmentalists questioned the company's priorities. [Page 1b]

TODAY

Mansion to undergo upgrade

An open air courtyard off Mount Vernon Place will be enclosed under a glass and steel skylight as part of a $5 million plan to increase and upgrade the meeting space at Baltimore's historic Garrett-Jacobs Mansion. The Engineering Society of Baltimore, which owns and operates the mansion, also wants to restore several of its "period" rooms, build an addition, and possibly add a bed-and-breakfast on an upper floor. [Page 1c]

Anti-Nazi movie premieres

A German movie about an iconic Nazi resistance heroine premiered yesterday at the Berlin Film Festival. Sophie Scholl - The Final Days draws on preserved transcripts of Gestapo interrogations and Scholl's show trial to paint an intense portrait of the six days from her arrest with her brother Hans to their beheading on Feb. 22, 1943. [Page 2C]

`Hitch' on top at box office

Will Smith usually brings audiences in at gunpoint. This time, he did it with hugs and kisses. Starring in his first romantic comedy, the action hero scored a No. 1 debut with Hitch, which took in $45.3 million over Valentine's Day weekend, according to studio estimates. [Page 3c]

SPORTS

Terps women fall to Duke

The No. 19 Maryland women lost to No. 3 Duke, 60-49, at Comcast Center before 17,243, breaking the previous ACC women's single-game attendance record of 14,500 set when Virginia visited the Terps in 1992. [Page 1d]

Tejada: Sosa is dream come true

Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada, who said one of the highlights of his first season in Baltimore was getting to play with Rafael Palmeiro, said, "Being on the same team with Sammy Sosa is a dream come true. Now, I'm going to be playing with two guys with more than 500 home runs." [Page 3d]

Sanctioning idles TC's Williams

Towson Catholic sophomore Devon Williams has had to sit out some high-profile out-of-state indoor track meets this year because her school is affiliated with an athletic governing body that isn't recognized by some jurisdictions. Most of the potential Olympian's missed meets are in New York state, which is at the center of the issue known as sanctioning. [Page 1d]

MARYLAND WEATHER

What's the forecast for the work week? Find out and get current conditions, weather-related stories and Sun science writer Frank Roylance's daily blog at www.marylandweather.com

MARYLAND POLITICS

For state political developments and archived coverage of issues such as slots, medical malpractice and the 2006 budget, go to www.baltimoresun.com/politics

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"He's like a lot of Poly grads. ... They know it was Poly that made the difference and they're now in a position to come back and say thank you."

- Baltimore Polytechnic Institute Principal Barney J. Wilson on contractor Willard Hackerman's $5 million gift to establish scholarships (Article, Page 1B)

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