Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

March 01, 2005

WORLD

Suicide bomber kills scores in Iraq

A suicide bomber drove a sedan full of explosives into a crowd of police and army recruits in Hillah, Iraq, set off the bomb and killed at least 122 in the deadliest single bombing since the American invasion. [Page 1a]

Lebanese leader, Cabinet resign

More than 25,000 protesters massed outside Parliament yesterday in Beirut in a display of defiance that forced the resignation of Lebanon's prime minister and Cabinet, setting the stage for what could be a change in the relationship between Syria and Lebanon. [Page 1a]

NATIONAL

Two views emerge on Jackson

Jurors were given opposing images of Michael Jackson as the pop star's trial opened yesterday in California -- the prosecution portraying him as a perverted child molester and the defense saying he was the victim of a con artist who used her cancer-stricken son to prey on celebrities for money. [Page 3a]

Judge: Charge or release Padilla

A federal judge ordered the Bush administration to charge terrorism suspect Jose Padilla with a crime or release him after more than 2 1/2 years in custody. [Page 9a]

HEALTH & SCIENCE

Other painkillers under scrutiny

As patients turn to other painkillers to avoid the cardiovascular risks associated with Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrex, scientists are casting suspicion on some substitutes. [Page 1a]

MARYLAND

More snow equals more problems

February went out and March was expected to come in with back-to-back snowstorms as area school officials ran out of bad-weather days built into their calendars, and some parents were getting testy about children being home a little more than usual. [Page 1a]

Cecil man in court in wife's death

An Elkton man made a court appearance in Cecil County on charges of manslaughter and abuse as details emerged on the death of his wife -- whose body was discovered in a trash-strewn room in which she had apparently been confined for years after suffering an aneurysm. [Page 1b]

HIV transmission by mothers falls

The rate of HIV transmission from mothers to their babies in Baltimore fell sharply over the past decade, mirroring a nationwide trend. Public health officials attributed the 85 percent drop -- from 14 mother-to-child transmissions in 1994 to two in 2003 -- to stepped-up HIV screening and better medications. [Page 3b]

TODAY

`NYPD Blue' ending a 12-year run

They came, they loved, they fought crime, they drank too much, they bared their bottoms. It's the revolving cast of NYPD Blue, which ends its 12-year run tonight. Many memorable cast members moved on, hoping to capitalize on their Blue stints. [Page 1c]

Drinking part of identity in college

Drinking is as much a part of the college identity as the lanyard with the key card and the backpack, says Koren Zailckas, the 24-year-old author of the new book, Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood. [Page 1c]

Oscar show met goal, ABC says

The 77th Academy Awards were watched by an average audience of 41.5 million viewers, Nielsen Media Research says. Although that was down from the 43.5 million last year, ABC declared victory, saying host Chris Rock achieved the primary mission of attracting more young viewers. [Page 1c]

BUSINESS

Uncertain future for Hecht's

Federated Department Stores Inc.'s $11 billion deal to buy May Department Stores Co. creates an uncertain future for hundreds of the nation's department stores, including Hecht's, which grew from a Baltimore furniture store founded by Samuel Hecht in 1857 into a major regional chain. [Page 1a]

Federated makes $11 billion bet

Federated is making an $11 billion bet that department stores have a future, even as consumers shop more at discounters such as Wal-Mart and Target and specialty stores. [Page 1d]

Ebbers blames CFO in trial

Former WorldCom Inc. Chief Executive Officer Bernard J. Ebbers, accused of orchestrating an $11 billion fraud, took the witness stand in his defense and testified that finance chief Scott D. Sullivan, a key government witness, never told him the company was hiding expenses in public statements. [Page 1d]

SPORTS

NCAA releases academics report

The National Collegiate Athletic Association took its first step toward serious academic reform with the release of a report that tracked the progress of scholarship athletes during the 2003-04 school year. Teams that don't improve academics in the current school year could lose scholarships when the next report is released. [Page 1e]

Baxter optimistic about staying

Considered the top priority of the Ravens' 12 pending unrestricted free agents, cornerback Gary Baxter remains optimistic about staying with the team and wouldn't rule out a deal before hitting the market tomorrow. A league source said Baxter and the Ravens are about $4 million apart on a signing bonus. [Page 1e]

Mild strain hampers Sosa

Orioles outfielder Sammy Sosa didn't participate in yesterday's workout because of a mild strain of his left groin muscle. "It'll just be a couple days,: manager Lee Mazzilli said. [Page 4e]

TODAY ONLINE

DEADLY DAY IN IRAQ

A suicide bombing kills more than 100 people in the deadliest insurgent attack since the Iraq war. Get developments and archived coverage of the war. www.baltimoresun.com/iraq

MARYLAND WEATHER

Find out what kind of weather we have in store for the rest of the week. www.marylandweather.com

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I think they need to be looked at more closely. These drugs are getting a get-out-of-jail-free card."

Dr. Byron Cryer, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center gastroenterologist, an expert on painkiller risks (Article, Page 1A)

MARKETS

DOW -- DOWN

- 75.37

10,766.23

NASDAQ -- DOWN

- 13.68

2,051.72

S&P -- DOWN

- 7.77

1,203.60

SUNINDEX -- DOWN

- 0.86

304.72

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