SUN NEWS DIGEST

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NATIONAL

Army extends tours of duty

The Army plans to double tours in Afghanistan and Iraq - from 179 days to a year - for hundreds of officers to meet "war time needs" that have stretched the military's ability to fight, according to an Army memo obtained by The Sun. [Page 1a

Suspect discusses shooting

A Hmong immigrant arrested for killing six deer hunters and wounding two others after he was asked to leave their private hunting grounds in northern Wisconsin said he returned fire after he was shot at and subjected to racial slurs. A survivor disputed the account. [Page 3a

Testing rules out mad cow

A second round of testing ruled out a possible case of mad cow disease discovered last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced. [Page 7a

WORLD

Ukraine presidential election

As the dispute over the presidential election in Ukraine continued, Russian political figures cast the struggle as an ideological tug of war between Moscow and Washington. [Page 1a

Raid on insurgents in Iraq

About 5,000 U.S., British and Iraqi troops raided a cluster of towns south of Baghdad yesterday in an attempt to clamp down on insurgents. [Page 16a

MARYLAND

Ehrlich clarifies land issue

Offering the most detailed explanation to date of his administration's search for surplus property, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. promised an open process to decide what public land the state should dispose of and insisted that parks and public forest "never were and never will be for sale." [Page 1a

Verdict in school shooting

A Baltimore County jury acquitted a Randallstown High student on charges of attempted murder but convicted him of assault in the May shooting that left one student in a wheelchair and three others injured. Matthew Timothy McCullough, 18, also was found not guilty of use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence. [Page 1b

Asian oyster debate

An independent panel of experts will review research under way in Maryland and Virginia and help state officials decide whether to put Asian oysters into the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland Natural Resources Secretary C. Ronald Franks announced yesterday. [Page 1b

SPORTS

Terps roll past Mercer, 93-67

Nik Caner-Medley scored 21 points, and No. 13 Maryland (2-0) placed four other players in double figures in a 93-67 rout of visiting Mercer, the Terps' final tuneup for a rough 10-day stretch starting Friday in which the team will face as many as three ranked teams away from home. [Page 1c

NBA players' union files appeal

The NBA players' union filed an appeal on behalf of the Indiana Pacers' Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal, who were suspended for their roles in a brawl with Detroit Pistons fans last week. In another development, two fans sued the Pacers and the three players, contending they were hurt in the fracas. [Page 1c, 4c

BUSINESS

500 new jobs in Somerset Co.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will build a distribution center in rural Somerset County next year, a 500-job shot in the arm for Maryland's poorest county. Wal-Mart said Somerset's access to U.S. 13 and a good work force helped seal the deal. [Page 1d

RV rentals up 10% to 20%

It appears that a growing number of people are piling into the condos on wheels this week. Some of the largest renters of recreational vehicles say business this holiday season is up 10 to 20 percent. Families are driving RVs to see relatives and to see attractions - or maybe relatives are visiting and there isn't room in the house. [Page 1d

New CEO for McDonald's

McDonald's Corp.'s choice of an insider to replace ailing CEO Charlie Bell should keep the company on the path that has led to a sales rebound in the past two years, analysts said. New McDonald's Chief Executive Jim Skinner worked closely with Bell and his predecessor, Jim Cantalupo, and oversaw many of the same corporate changes in Japan that are credited for turning around U.S. sales. [Page 1d

TODAY

'Alexander' opens today

Alexander, featuring an all-star cast including Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Jared Leto and Anthony Hopkins, opens in area theaters today. Other movies opening for the holiday weekend are Kinsey and Christmas With the Kranks. [Page 1e

'Movin' Out' moves into D.C.

The Twyla Tharp-Billy Joel musical Movin' Out opens at the National Theatre in Washington. [Page 1e

TODAY ONLINE

MOVIE LISTINGS

Search movie listings, get showtimes and find theaters, plus read archived reviews from Sun film critic Michael Sragow, at: www.baltimoresun.com/movies

LATEST WEATHER

Get updated weather forecasts and conditions, including information for Maryland, the nation and world at: www.baltimoresun.com/weather

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"We believe we proved a case that the defendant was guilty of attempted second-degree murder, so I am curious as to what they were thinking."

Prosecutor Stephen Bailey, on a jury verdict clearing Matthew Timothy McCullough on the most serious charges stemming from the May shooting outside Randallstown High School (Article, Page 1B)

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