SUN NEWS DIGEST

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NATIONAL

6 deaths blamed on storms in West

Areas of the Sierra Nevada have been hit with a dumping of snow not seen in generations. The string of storms has dropped up to 19 feet of snow at elevations above 7,000 feet since Dec. 28 and 6 1/2 feet at lower elevations in the Reno area. The storms were blamed for six weekend deaths in California and Utah. [Page 3a]

Crews patch up railroad car

Crews in Graniteville, S.C., put a temporary patch yesterday on a railroad car that had been leaking toxic chlorine gas since a train wreck last week, while investigators looked into why a switching mechanism had been set to lead the train into railcars parked on a side track. [Page 3a]

Sailor injured aboard sub dies

A sailor injured aboard a nuclear submarine that ran aground about 350 miles south of Guam died yesterday, the Navy said. Twenty-three other crewmembers were being treated for injuries. [Page 3a]

WORLD

Abbas declares victory

Mahmoud Abbas declared victory last night in the election for president of the Palestinian Authority. His substantial margin over six other candidates could give him the mandate that he sought for reforming a corrupt government and restarting peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. [Page 1a]

Origin of gunfight in Iraq unclear

Two Iraqi policemen and three Iraqi civilians were killed south of Baghdad during a gunfight that a senior Iraqi spokesman initially blamed yesterday on U.S. troops but later said was of unclear origin. In other violence yesterday, a roadside bomb killed a U.S. soldier assigned to Task Force Baghdad, while a Marine was killed in action in the volatile Anbar province. [Page 1a]

Sudan, rebels reach truce

Sudan's government and southern rebels clinched a historic, long-awaited agreement yesterday that ends Africa's longest civil war and brings hope to millions of exiled Sudanese. But continued violence in the troubled region of Darfur, previously described by the Bush administration as genocide, cast a shadow over the agreement. [Page 6a]

Smoking ban in Italy starts today

Smokers in Italy took their last puffs in smoky bars and trattorias yesterday, hours before the start of one of Europe's toughest laws against smoking in public places. The outdoors, private homes, and restaurants and bars with ventilated smoking rooms are the only places spared from the anti-smoking law. Enforcement began at 12:01 a.m. today. [Page 7a]

MARYLAND

Slots support is up, poll says

Support for legalized slot machines has reached a high in Maryland, with 56 percent of voters saying they favor expanded gambling to help deal with the state's budget shortfall, a new Sun poll shows. With the recent legalization of slot machines in Pennsylvania, voters' desire to see more funding for education and continued pressure from well-funded interests that stand to gain from gambling, the issue is almost certain to resurface in the legislative session that starts Wednesday. [Page 1a]

Copeland has surge of donors

Since Bonnie S. Copeland took over as head of the financially troubled Baltimore school system nearly two years ago, the number of donors of supplies and services to the city schools has surged. Her office has recorded at least 100 new or revived "partnerships," including some with companies based outside Maryland. [Page 1b]

City schools recruiting overseas

Struggling to fill openings for teachers in crucial subjects like math and science, Baltimore's public schools are turning to overseas recruiting - joining a number of urban school systems across the nation. City school officials have signed contracts for this fall with 45 teachers from the Philippines, and they're set to travel to Manila this month to try to hire more. [Page 1a]

SPORTS

Colts gain rematch with Pats

Peyton Manning passed for 457 yards, the second most in NFL playoff history, to propel the Indianapolis Colts over the Denver Broncos, 49-24, in an AFC wild-card game. The Colts go to defending champion New England Sunday for a rematch of last year's AFC title game. [Page 1c]

Moss lifts Vikings to victory

Randy Moss caught two touchdown passes to lead the Minnesota Vikings over the Green Bay Packers, 31-17, in an NFC wild-card playoff game. Green Bay had swept the season series. [Page 1c]

Mets, Beltran reach agreement

The New York Mets have reached agreement on a seven-year, $119 million contract with center fielder Carlos Beltran. In the process, the team might have taken itself out of the running for free-agent first baseman Carlos Delgado, who remains a primary target of the Orioles. [Page 1c]

TODAY

Students research tsunami

Since returning from their holiday break, students throughout area school systems have attended science labs on what causes a tsunami, seen projector presentations featuring satellite pictures of rushing waters and watched presidential news conferences. Tsunami research projects are well under way. Students also know more about the World Health Organization than ever before. [Page 1d]

Retail center planned in Canton

Ziger/Snead Architects of Baltimore has designed a 9,500-square-foot retail center in the 2400 block of Boston St. on a parcel near Baltimore's Canton waterfront. It will be an addition to the Can Company shopping and office center. [Page 1d]

THE MARYLAND POLL

See the results of our poll on what voters think are the top issues facing the state as the 2005 General Assembly gets underway in Annapolis. www.baltimoresun.com/politics

IRAQ

For developments in the war in Iraq, plus archived coverage, go to www.baltimoresun.com/iraq

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