GOP pursues malpractice caps

President Bush and congressional Republicans are renewing their push for a national cap on awards to patients in malpractice suits, a campaign fueled by the president's support and by well-funded lobbying from insurers and physicians. [Page 1a]

Midwest remains snowbound

A storm that dumped more than 2 feet of snow in parts of the Midwest on Thursday continued to foil holiday plans yesterday, stranding travelers and leaving thousands without power. In Normal, Ill., Epiphany Catholic Church warmed the camel, goats and sheep in its live Nativity scene with king-size electric blankets. [Page 3a]

No signs of terror plot found

Despite a continuous stream of low-level threats from al-Qaida and other Islamic extremist groups against U.S. interests, there is little intelligence chatter to suggest a plot over the holidays this year, according to counterterrorism officials. [Page 3a]


Ukrainians return to the polls

After weeks of protests and the opposition candidate's poisoning, Ukrainians return to the polls tomorrow in a prolonged presidential election that has split the country. The opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, favors integration with Europe, while Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych is aligned more closely with Russia. [Page 1a]

General to lead bombing inquiry

The brigadier general who investigated abuse at Abu Ghraib prison will lead an inquiry into this week's suicide bombing at a U.S. base near Mosul. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld talked with wounded soldiers at the base yesterday during his 12-hour visit to Iraq. [Page 1a]


Last-minute shoppers gain a day

Shoppers packed area malls yesterday as they sought their last few gifts before Christmas. Retailers hoped that an extra day of shopping - created by the closing of government offices and most companies - would give them an extra financial boost to what have been mediocre sales numbers. [Page 1b]

Four injured in Anne Arundel fires

Four people were injured, three of them critically, in two house fires in Hanover and Millersville in Anne Arundel County yesterday. Fire officials believe electrical problems sparked both blazes, which caused extensive damage to the dwellings. [Page 1b]

State expands role in special ed

State school officials are pushing to intensify their oversight of the city school system's special education program after a federal judge's recent finding that Baltimore is failing to meet court-ordered requirements for disabled students. Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick says she will assume oversight duties now handled by the court. [Page 1b]


Ex-manager Oates dead at 58

Former Orioles manager Johnny Oates, who learned in 2001 that he had an incurable form of brain cancer, died yesterday at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond. He was 58. Oates, a former Orioles catcher, was the team's manager from 1991 to 1994 and managed the Texas Rangers to their first three postseason appearances. [Page 1c]

Packers edge Vikings

Brett Favre drove his team 76 yards to set up Ryan Longwell's 29-yard field goal as time ran out, lifting the Packers to a 34-31 victory over the Minnesota Vikings that clinched a third straight NFC North crown for Green Bay. Donald Driver made a nifty, falling-down catch of Favre's pass on fourth-and-goal at the 3 to tie the score at 31 with 3:34 remaining. [Page 1c]

Klitschko might wait on Rahman

If World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has his way, he will make a second defense of the crown vacated by Lennox Lewis before taking on Baltimore's Hasim Rahman, the No. 1 contender, during the mandated month of June. [Page 2c]


Gateway Commerce Center sold

In one of the Baltimore region's biggest sales of industrial land, the Gateway Commerce Center in Columbia was sold Thursday for $100 million to a Dallas-based real estate manager for pension funds. The industrial park houses the distribution operations of Sears and Giant Food. [Page 7c]


Girls school builds on faith

The Sisters Academy is a new Catholic middle school for girls, which was intended to serve Southwest Baltimore but, for lack of a building, opened in Lansdowne in September. It started with a class of 22 girls who begin the day in a circle, praying and greeting one another. [Page 1d]


"Just what he has gone through the last three years and the way he has gone about it, tells you everything about him. He was always upbeat ... always positive. I'm going to miss him."

Jerry Narron, former Orioles coach, on Johnny Oates (Article, Page 1C)



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