Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

June 15, 2005

NATIONAL

Iraq troop reduction uncertain

As Americans in growing numbers call for a reduction in the military presence in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday that it was uncertain when the Pentagon could start drawing down its estimated 139,000 troops there. His comment cast doubt over a prediction of significant troop reductions by March. [Page 1a]

Boy, 4, dies after Disney ride

A 4-year-old boy died after a spin on a Walt Disney World spaceship ride so intense that some riders have been treated for chest pain. [Page 3a]

Online pharmacies questionable

Only about one in five online pharmacies offering discount prescription drugs from Canada appears to be located in that country, raising concerns that many may be peddling counterfeit or adulterated medications, a report for the FDA has found. [Page 5a]

WORLD

Dreams for Europe fade

When French and Dutch voters rejected a European constitution recently, political leaders agreed that Europe was headed for trouble. But a frigid meeting yesterday between French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair illustrated that the postwar dream of a politically unified Europe has not only stalled, it is moving backward. [Page 1a]

Suicide attack kills at least 20

A suicide attacker detonated an explosives-laden belt yesterday outside a bank in the northern city of Kirkuk, authorities said, killing at least 20 people and injuring 83 as another bloody day unfolded in Iraq. [Page 11a]

South African political turmoil

They were allies in the long struggle for democracy and then partners in government. But yesterday, South African President Thabo Mbeki fired the deputy president, Jacob Zuma, because of corruption allegations, calling into question who will become the country's next president. [Page 11a]

MARYLAND

2 officers call firings unjust

Two of the eight correctional officers fired after the death of Raymond K. Smoot in Baltimore's Central Booking and Intake Center said yesterday that they plan to appeal the decision. They say they are being made scapegoats and were never in a position to prevent Smoot's death, which has been ruled a homicide. [Page 1b]

Panel to probe personnel moves

Saying they weren't planning a witch hunt, legislative leaders formed a committee yesterday to examine the governor's personnel practices, saying they need to investigate allegations that the Ehrlich administration fired longtime bureaucrats solely because of their political affiliation. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

O's file complaint over Comcast

The Orioles filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, saying Comcast Corp. is unfairly using its near-monopoly over local cable franchises to keep Washington Nationals games from being broadcast on a regional cable network. [Page 1a]

Orioles beat Pettitte, Astros

The Orioles scored three runs in the sixth inning and three in the eighth to put away Andy Pettitte and the Houston Astros, 6-1, at Camden Yards. The Orioles' Miguel Tejada hit a two-run home run in the sixth. [Page 1d]

Pistons win, cut deficit to 2-1

The Detroit Pistons closed the gap in the NBA Finals to 2-1 by defeating the San Antonio Spurs, 96-79. Richard Hamilton scored 24 points, including 10 in the third quarter when Detroit took the lead for good. [Page 1d]

BUSINESS

Viacom to split TV operations

Viacom Inc., the media conglomerate that owns CBS and MTV, said yesterday that its board had unanimously approved a plan to split the company into two separate entities, one focusing on broadcast television and the other on cable networks. [Page 1e]

Businesses wary of Bush agenda

President Bush, working to gain support for his ambitious domestic agenda, is encountering increasing resistance from an unlikely place: American business, a usually reliable ally. [Page 1e]

Southwest's Maryland plane

Southwest Airlines, with help from the governor, unveiled Maryland One, a Boeing 737-700 coated in 60 gallons of red, yellow, black and white paint to evoke the Maryland flag. [Page 1e]

TODAY

A heavy-handed `Batman'

Much of the campiness that bugged some fans of the recent Batman films has been removed from Batman Begins, opening in area theaters today. Sun Movie Critic Michael Sragow reviews the latest installment, which does get credit for technical effort. [Page 1c]

PBS updates its policies

The PBS board voted yesterday to adopt an updated set of editorial standards and policies that will guide programming and content development decisions. [Page 1c]

WORKING

Changing economy, changing jobs

A changing economy has made career diversions more commonplace than ever. And most workplace experts said the stigma once attached to transforming a career is all but gone as corporations downsize, merge and push employees to do more with less. [Page 1k]

TODAY ONLINE

FIRED OFFICERS TALK

Two of eight officers recently fired at Baltimore's Central Booking and Intake Center tell The Sun their stories about what happened the night last month that Raymond K. Smoot died. Read the article, along with archived coverage of problems at Central Booking. www.baltimoresun.com/booking

WEATHER

More heat today but lower temperatures and chance for thunderstorms are expected to close out the week. Get the details at: www.marylandweather.com

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"What we have here is a system that has been lax in its oversight probably to the point of negligence."

Linda Heisner of Advocates for Children and Youth, about group-home system (Article, Page 1B)

MARKETS

DOW -- UP

+25.01

10,547.57

NASDAQ -- UP

+0.08

2,069.04

S&P -- UP

+3.09

1,203.91

SUNINDEX -- UP

+0.85

306.80

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