Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

February 21, 2005

NATIONAL

Threats loom in AIDS fight

New York's alert that a gay man had become ill with a possible super strain of HIV has left experts eager for clues that could show whether the strain poses a threat to public health. But while some fear a repeat of the grim, early days of the AIDS epidemic and others say the strain is likely nothing new, nearly everyone agrees that the case has revealed the waning of safe-sex practices that were credited with curbing the epidemic. [Page 1a]

Fanning out on Social Security

Republicans and Democrats from Congress will fan out across the country this week to talk about overhauling Social Security. The lawmakers' preparations underscore the stakes as Congress takes a weeklong recess to talk to constituents about Social Security. [Page 3a]

Essay is part of changes for SAT

Although the essay has generated most of the buzz surrounding the debut of the new SAT on March 12, it is only one of several changes. The test boasts new kinds of grammar questions, more advanced math, more reading comprehension and less vocabulary. [Page 3a]

WORLD

Sharon OKs Gaza Strip pullout

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Cabinet began charting Israel's future borders in a historic session yesterday, giving final approval to a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and a revised route for the West Bank separation barrier that would move Israel's border closer to that of its original frontier. [Page 1a]

Bush arrives in Belgium

As Bush arrived in Belgium last night to begin four days of fence-mending visits with European leaders, the White House released excerpts of today's speech, which is intended to set a conciliatory tone for the presidents first foreign trip of his second term. [Page 7a]

U.N. refugee chief resigns

U.N. refugee chief Ruud Lubbers resigned yesterday over sexual harassment allegations, declaring his innocence. He indicated that Secretary-General Kofi Annan had left him little choice to leave. [Page 13a]

MARYLAND

Weather tool focuses on safety

Emergency managers, local police and fire officials across Maryland have acquired a tool to identify and sound the alert about dangerous weather conditions. The state is paying $300,000 a year to WeatherBug, a commercial weather service provider based in Gaithersburg, for access to data collected 24 hours a day at 300 reporting stations across the state. [Page 1b]

Lawmakers may probe firings

Maryland lawmakers are considering granting themselves potent tools to probe the Ehrlich administration's personnel practices -- stronger than those available to several fired state workers trying to accomplish the same goal through individual lawsuits. [Page 1b]

St. Paul's mourns slain dean

The chapel at St. Paul's School in Brooklandville overflowed with more than 450 mourners attending a prayer service yesterday for William A. Bassett, the dean of faculty slain Friday night at Towson Town Center. Meanwhile, colleagues remembered that his day on campus Friday was typically frenetic, but that he was characteristically unperturbed. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

J. Gordon takes Daytona 500

Jeff Gordon grabbed the lead from Dale Earnhardt Jr. three laps from the scheduled end, then held off Kurt Busch and Earnhardt in extra laps to become the fifth driver to win the Daytona 500 three times. One of the wildest finishes in the 47-year history of NASCAR's biggest race had four lead changes in the last nine laps. [Page 1d]

East wins NBA All-Star Game

Allen Iverson won the Most Valuable Player award at the NBA All-Star Game after accumulating 15 points, 10 assists and five steals in the Eastern Conference's 125-115 victory, but Shaquille O'Neal stole the show with a super-sized dose of personality -- striking a pose before taking a one-handed free throw and making an in-game cell phone call to rapper P. Diddy. [Page 1d]

Redick's 38 lead Duke, 102-92

J.J. Redick scored a career-high 38 points, helping the seventh-ranked Duke men's basketball team defeat No. 5 Wake Forest, 102-92, and avoid its first three-game losing streak in nine years. The host Blue Devils were coming off consecutive losses for only the fourth time in the past eight seasons. Chris Paul had 27 points for the Demon Deacons. [Page 5d]

TODAY

Revels project gets under way

The Revels is the name of the $3.5 million project under construction at 104 W. Madison St. in Baltimore's Mount Vernon historic district. Tower Hill Development and Consulting, a four-year-old company headed by Matthew Hoffman and Chris Regan, is recycling the building. [Page 1c]

Sandra Dee dies at 62

Sandra Dee, star of teen movies in the 1960s -- some of them with her former husband, Bobby Darin -- died yesterday of complications from kidney disease at a Thousand Oaks, Calif., hospital. She was 62. [Page 1c]

More spas are catering to males

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