Sun News Digest

SUN NEWS DIGEST

August 15, 2005

WORLD

Israel closes Gaza Strip accessIsrael closed the main crossing point leading to its settlements in the Gaza Strip at midnight to all but military vehicles, signaling the start of the evacuation of the 21 settlements and the troops protecting them. [Page 1a]

Sunnis reject federated states

With one day left to finish Iraq's new constitution, Sunni Arabs asked yesterday that the divisive issue of federalism be put off until next year so the draft can be completed on time, saying they would not accept provisions for federated states. [Page 7a]

Plane crash kills 121 in Greece

A Cypriot plane full of vacationers slammed into a mountainside north of Athens, Greece, after at least one pilot lost consciousness from lack of oxygen, killing all 121 people aboard, more than a third of them children. [Page 7a]

NATIONAL

Biden suspects Iraq exit strategy

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Delaware Democrat, said that the Bush administration is downgrading expectations for a flourishing Middle East democracy - signaling a possible exit strategy. Biden's comments came as U.S. officials pressed Iraqis to finish work on a new constitution. [Page 3a]

Orbiter has key Mars role

A car-size orbiter on the first leg of a seven-month, 310-million-mile journey to Mars has a role to play in NASA's plans to send manned missions to the Red Planet. [Page 3a]

Alzheimer's findings reported

A gene that regulates blood vessel health in the brain may not be doing its job in people with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study. An unrelated study has found that folic acid supplements may significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. [Page 6a]

MARYLAND

Housing sought for Hickey youths

More than a month after announcing that most of the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School would close by Nov. 30, the Ehrlich administration is scrambling to find places to house and treat dozens of dangerous and deeply troubled juvenile offenders. [Page 1a]

Price of Md. farmland rises

Dairy cows and other livestock in Maryland graze on the sixth-most-expensive farmland in the country, according to a survey released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Fueled by the red-hot market for development, the average price of an acre of Maryland farmland is up nearly 38.6 percent from last year. [Page 1b]

Heat expected to ease today

You can turn down the air conditioning now just a little. After four scorching days, temperatures in the Baltimore area will likely stay in the 80s today, ending what could be summer's final heat wave, the National Weather Service says. This summer has been the hottest since 2002, with the average temperature of 76.6 degrees a degree above normal. [Page 1b]

TODAY

Hopkins Hospital restoration

Work crews are putting the finishing touches on a $7.5 million exterior restoration project involving the three oldest structures at Johns Hopkins Hospital - the Marburg, Wilmer and Billings buildings on North Broadway. Later this month, Hopkins will reopen the hospital's Broadway entrance, which has been closed since construction started in May 2004. [Page 1c]

Heifer Relief project celebrated

Starting in the summer of 1945 and continuing for three years, 4,000 cows passed through the Roop farm in Carroll County, where they were inoculated, bred and dehorned before being loaded on ships at the port of Baltimore and sent to farms across war-ravaged Europe. The 60th anniversary of that effort was celebrated this weekend. [Page 1c]

`Four Brothers' atop box office

The John Singleton revenge flick Four Brothers beat its cinematic siblings to take the top spot at the weekend box office. However, the R-rated action film's three-day ticket sales of $20.7 million did little to stem a prolonged box office slump. The total box office take for the top 12 films was down 16 percent over the same weekend last year. [Page 3c]

SPORTS

Palmeiro returns in O's loss

The Orioles' Rafael Palmeiro played for the first time since he returned from a 10-day suspension for violating baseball's steroid policy. Palmeiro received a mixed greeting from fans in a 7-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays before 30,954 at Camden Yards. [Pages 1a, 1d]

Mickelson leads delayed PGA

Third-round leader Phil Mickelson led the PGA Championship by a stroke when a band of storms halted play at Baltusrol in New Jersey for a second time. Mickelson was 4-under-par and had a 3-foot par putt on the 14th hole when the round was called. Steve Elkington and Thomas Bjorn were at 3-under. Play will resume at 10 o'clock this morning. [Page 1d]

Stewart wins at Watkins Glen

Tony Stewart cruised to his fifth victory in seven races by winning the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. Stewart increased his lead in the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings to 105 points with four races left before the Chase for the Championship. [Page 3d]

TODAY ONLINE

IRENE WATCH

Tropical Storm Irene, which posed a threat to the East Coast, headed out to sea yesterday. Track the storm and check out Frank Roylance's weather blog at www.marylandweather.com

RAVENS DECADE

Check out 10 years of Ravens football coverage, including photo and mulitmedia galleries at www.baltimoresun.com/ravens10

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"There is a city, state and international expectation that [these buildings] be preserved. It's somewhat of an extraordinary obligation that we have that goes beyond health care."

Howard Reel of Johns Hopkins Hospital, on a nearly complete restoration project (Article, Page 1C)

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