SUN NEWS DIGEST

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NATIONAL

Rice faces criticism on IraqCondoleezza Rice defended the conduct of the war in Iraq against withering Democratic criticism during testimony before a Senate committee reviewing her fitness to serve as the next secretary of state. [Page 1a]

Accuser out in ex-priest's trial

Prosecutors dropped an accuser from the sex-abuse criminal case against defrocked Roman Catholic priest Paul R. Shanley, leaving one alleged victim to testify in a trial that began yesterday in Massachusetts. [Page 3a]

WORLD

Shiite party headquarters struck

Election-related violence increased in Iraq, as a suicide bomber struck the headquarters of the largest Shiite political party, and government officials announced the killings of three candidates in the Jan. 30 parliamentary election. In another development, a Catholic archbishop kidnapped in northern Iraq was released unharmed. [Page 11a]

Guilty plea entered in oil probe

Samir A. Vincent, an Iraqi-American businessman, pleaded guilty to charges that he received payments from Iraq to illegally act as its agent in the United States, including getting millions of dollars worth of oil from the U.N. oil-for-food program. Attorney General John Ashcroft said Vincent was cooperating with investigations. [Page 11a]

MARYLAND

Injured city officers told to retire

The Baltimore Police Department has ordered about 160 injured police officers on medical leave or working permanent light-duty jobs - including more than 100 injured in the line of duty - to retire from the force. [Page 1a]

Principal returns home to school

Kevin M. Lindsey returned as principal at McCormick Elementary School yesterday to find everything as he left it more than three months ago when he was put on paid administrative leave amid allegations that he sexually assaulted two former pupils at another school in the late 1970s. Prosecutors dropped the charges. [Page 1a]

Ehrlich proposes lead legislation

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. proposed legislation that would prompt earlier action to treat children with lead poisoning and to reduce lead hazards in housing once a child has been poisoned. Children's advocates called the proposal a positive step. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

Ravens welcome Fassel, Neuheisel

The Ravens made official the hiring of Jim Fassel as offensive coordinator and Rick Neuheisel as quarterbacks coach. The team announced the promotion of Rex Ryan to defensive coordinator, replacing Mike Nolan, who left to become the 49ers' head coach. [Page 1c]

O's sign four to avoid arbitration

The Orioles avoided potential arbitration hearings by signing pitchers B.J. Ryan and Rodrigo Lopez, second baseman Jerry Hairston and outfielder Luis Matos to 2005 contracts. The Orioles exchanged salary figures with pitchers Jorge Julio and John Parrish and are trying to reach agreements before arbitration hearing dates. [Page 3c]

Clemens asks for $22 million

Roger Clemens filed for a record $22 million in salary arbitration, and the Astros offered the seven-time Cy Young Award winner $13.5 million. Clemens, who helped lead Houston to within one win of their first World Series appearance, has not decided whether to pitch this year or retire. [Page 3c]

BUSINESS

GM to pay big benefits in closing

General Motors Corp. will pay an estimated $6 million a month in employee compensation and benefits when it closes its Southeast Baltimore van assembly plant this year, according to documents filed yesterday. [Page 1d]

Krispy Kreme CEO deposed

The chief executive officer of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. was ousted and replaced by the turnaround specialist who shepherded the Enron Corp. bankruptcy reorganization. The stock price of the chain has plummeted amid a federal securities investigation and allegations of padded sales figures. [Page 1d]

MeadWestvaco selling paper plant

MeadWestvaco Corp. said it is selling its papermaking business, including a Western Maryland mill that is the second-largest private employer in Allegany County. State and local officials believe the $2.3 billion sale to Cerberus Capital Management LP will have little impact on the county. [Page 1d]

TODAY

CBS to try new anchor concept

CBS will probably replace Dan Rather on the evening news with a multianchor, perhaps multicity, format that changes the "antiquated" way of reporting the day's top stories, CBS chief Leslie Moonves said yesterday. [Page 1e]

Adornment for the inauguration

Oscar de la Renta, Mark Badgley and James Mischka are among the designers whose gowns will adorn the Bush women at inaugural celebrations. At the swearing-in ceremonies, Maryland first lady Kendel Ehrlich will wear a white pantsuit, black knee-length boots and a flowing white cape made from Peruvian alpaca wool. [Page 1e]

'Assault' remake due in theaters

Assault on Precinct 13, starring Laurence Fishburne and Ethan Hawke, will open today at area theaters. The movie is a remake of John Carpenter's 1976 film by the same name. [Page 3e]

TODAY ONLINE

TSUNAMI AID

Get comprehensive coverage of the tsunami disaster and the continuing relief efforts. www.baltimoresun.com/tsunami

RASHOD REVIEWS

Sun pop music critic Rashod Ollison reviews Shivaree's new album, Who's Got Trouble. www.baltimoresun.com/rashodvideos

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I may try to project that I'm cool ... but I think ... it'll finally hit. I'll be about as nervous as a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs."

The Rev. Luis Leon, rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, who will deliver the invocation at the presidential inauguration (Article, Page 1A)

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