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Iraq troop level to hit 150,000

The Pentagon is boosting the total number of American troops in Iraq to 150,000, the highest number deployed since the war began in March last year. Army Brig. Gen. David Rodriguez said the increase from the current 138,000 troops would mainly provide security for Iraqi elections and keep up the pressure on the insurgency. [Page 1a

England coerced, lawyers say

Lawyers for Pfc. Lynndie England moved to throw out statements she made when first questioned about Iraqi prisoner abuse, including that reservists were just "joking around, having some fun." The lawyers said the young Army reservist was sleep-deprived and coerced when she talked to investigators. [Page 3a

Gun program funding killed

Congress has eliminated direct financing for a Justice Department program that has been the centerpiece of the Bush administrations efforts to prosecute black-market gun crimes. [Page 3a


Jailed Palestinian to seek office

Imprisoned Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Barghouti reversed an earlier decision and announced his intentions to run for the Palestinian Authority presidency. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sought to avoid early elections as his coalition government teetered on collapse. [Page 1a

Yanukovych government fired

Ukraine's parliament fired Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's government, providing momentum for opponents seeking a new presidential runoff after widespread claims of corruption ensuring Yanukovych's victory. [Page 20a


City seeks to preserve industries

A new set of zoning guidelines designed to protect industrial areas of Baltimore is set to be presented to the city's Planning Commission today. The guidelines reflect efforts to balance the needs of the city's remaining factories and manufacturers with those of residential developers and modern businesses the city must attract to stay competitive. [Page 1a

Prince George's venture lauded

After more than two decades of fits and starts, a who's who of Maryland politics will gather today on pristine waterfront along the Potomac River in Prince George's County to launch what is being described as the largest single commercial venture in the history of the state. [Page 1a

Threat to Smart Growth seen

Oregon is on the verge of relaxing limits on suburban sprawl, an action that some fear might have a ripple effect in Maryland and endanger the state's Smart Growth policies. [Page 1b


Ravens' J. Lewis to sit Sunday

The Ravens' Jamal Lewis is listed as doubtful with an ankle injury for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but the All-Pro running back ruled himself out for the game. With Lewis out, Chester Taylor will start for the fourth time this season. [Page 1C

Yankees end Johnson talks

The New York Yankees pulled out of trade talks for Randy Johnson, telling the Arizona Diamondbacks that their proposals for deals involving the five-time Cy Young Award winner were unreasonable, the Associated Press learned. [Page 3C

Illinois routs No. 1 Wake Forest

Roger Powell Jr. scored 19 points and Dee Brown and Luther Head added 16 each as No. 5 Illinois routed No. 1 Wake Forest, 91-73, as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Illini led by double-digits for the last 28-plus minutes of the game, and were up by as much as 32 in the second half. [Page 6C


Health panel fires director

With a Republican-appointed majority taking control, the Maryland Health Care Commission fired its executive director, Barbara G. McLean. It was the third time Ehrlich appointees to state commissions have conducted high-profile dismissals this year. [Page 1a

Ehrlich optimistic on reforms

Amid new proposals from lawmakers and doctors, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said that he is more optimistic than ever that the state will adopt medical malpractice reforms in a special session this month. [Page 1d

Texas firm buys Millennium

Lyondell Chemical Co. of Houston completed its $1.6-billion acquisition of Hunt Valley-based Millennium Chemical Inc., creating the world's fourth-largest chemical producer, but eliminating another of Maryland's corporate nameplates. [Page 1d


New 'Nutcracker' opens tonight

Tonight, the world premier of the Washington Ballet's new Nutcracker opens at the Hippodrome Theatre. But this Christmas party opens in a Georgetown mansion instead of a middle-class German family's parlor. And one of the people who has been working hard to make tonight successful is Donna Glover, mother of one of the child dancers. [Page 1e

National Tree lights up today

Today's 81st lighting of the National Tree in front of the White House marks the 50th anniversary of the Pageant of Peace. The ceremony also features the Pathway of Peace: 56 decorated trees representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories. [Page 1e


The Pentagon plans to extend Iraq tours for more than 10,000 additional troops. For details and archived coverage of the war in Iraq, go to www.baltimoresun.com/iraq


See a video of Sun Ravens writer Jamison Hensley previewing Sunday's matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. www.baltimoresun.com/ravens


"We will never accept any pressure of force and the language of ultimatums."

Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor F. Yanukovych, after his government was ousted (Article, Page 20A)








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