SUN NEWS DIGEST

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NATIONAL

Bush aims high for 2nd term

President Bush will outline an ambitious domestic agenda in his inaugural address today, but presidential scholars say the continuing problems in Iraq are likely to dominate his second term and define his presidency. [Page 1a]

Native Americans warned off deal

At a conference in California yesterday, specialists in Native American financing cautioned Indian tribes to steer clear of the type of tax-exempt bond deal Baltimore developer David S. Cordish used in his two Hard Rock Hotel and Casino projects for the Seminole Tribe in Florida. [Page 3a]

Kuwaiti detainees suffered abuse

Twelve Kuwaitis held for about three years at the detention center at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been physically and psychologically abused, their lawyers charged yesterday. [Page 3a]

Mehlman to head RNC

The Republican National Committee elected Ken Mehlman as its chairman yesterday, a first step in getting the GOP's considerable political wallop behind President Bush's legislative agenda. Mehlman, who managed the president's successful re-election campaign last fall, vowed to enlist the party's activists "to enact the ideas we ran on" before turning attention to the upcoming congressional and gubernatorial elections. [Page 5a]

WORLD

Bombs rattle Baghdad

As many as 26 people were killed yesterday in a wave of car bombings across Baghdad. North of the Iraqi capital, a British security officer was killed and a Japanese engineer was kidnapped. [Page 1a]

70,000 more tsunami deaths

Indonesia's Health Ministry declared dead yesterday 70,000 people who were previously listed as missing from last month's tsunami. If confirmed, the death toll from 11 countries would climb to more than 221,000. [Page 14a]

MARYLAND

Ehrlich's budget plan

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. proposed a $25.9 billion state budget that includes a record increase for public schools and no new sales or income taxes, but that leading legislators said reneges on the administration's promise to develop a permanent solution for Maryland's fiscal problems. While Ehrlich boasted of a $43 million increase for the state university system and a 9 percent rise in Medicaid spending, critics complained at cuts that they said would eliminate state agencies overseeing prevailing-wage and minimum-wage laws, and a program that provides low-cost prescription drugs for seniors. [Page 1a ]

Snowfall in the metro area

The region's first meaningful snow of the season brought 1 to 3 inches across the Baltimore area yesterday, causing scores of fender benders on slippery roadways, snarling traffic for hours on some interstates and prompting postponements of school activities. [Page 1b]

Loyola College head dies

The Rev. Harold E. "Hap" Ridley, president of Loyola College since 1994, was found dead of unknown causes yesterday at his home on the edge of its North Baltimore campus. The 65-year-old Jesuit priest was credited with strengthening Loyola's transformation to a regional university. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

Maryland beats Virginia, 82-68

Nik Caner-Medley scored 26 points to lead Maryland over Virginia, 82-68, in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at Comcast Center. The Terps improved to 11-4 overall and 2-2 in the ACC. [Page 1c]

Terps' Strawberry out for season

Maryland guard D.J. Strawberry will miss the remainder of the basketball season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Strawberry, a Terps sophomore, was hurt during practice Monday. He was averaging 21.4 minutes and 7.1 points a game. [Page 1c]

Brooks named Ravens assistant

The Ravens hired former Dolphins assistant Clarence Brooks as defensive line coach. Brooks comes to the Ravens after five years in the same capacity in Miami, where he mentored four Pro Bowl players. [Page 3c]

BUSINESS

American Skyline woes

American Skyline Insurance Co., launched four years ago with exuberant backing from Baltimore leaders concerned that high auto premiums were driving residents from the city, has been ordered by state insurance regulators to stop taking policies because of financial problems. [Page 1a]

Consumer prices rise

A surge in the cost of gasoline and other energy products pushed consumer prices up by 3.3 percent in 2004, but relief may be on the way. Consumer prices actually dipped last month as energy costs moderated. [Page 1d]

TODAY

Tour de Clay is coming

In 30 days, Baltimore will be host to what organizers are calling the largest visual arts event ever held in the U.S. The six-week Tour de Clay, which will feature more than 1,000 ceramic artists from around the world and 170 exhibits, is to be announced today by Mayor Martin O'Malley. The festival, to run Feb. 19 through April 3, will take place at 118 locations. [Page 1e]

Time for 'Tea'

Tea at Five, starring Kate Mulgrew as Katharine Hepburn, will be at the Hippodrome Theatre tonight through Sunday. When it debuted three years ago at Hartford Stage, in the Connecticut town where the actress was born, the script was denigrated by Hepburn's nieceon behalf of the family, but the star did nothing to stop it. [Page 1e]

TODAY ONLINE

WINTER WEATHER

To check the latest forecasts, updates on conditions, forecasts, weather news and Sun science writer Frank Roylance's blog, go to www.marylandweather.com

BAGHDAD BOMBINGS

Several suicide car bombs rocked Baghdad yesterday. For developments and archived coverage of the war in Iraq, go to www.baltimoresun.com/iraq

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I've had three phone calls from concierges specifically for people from Texas who want a fur coat right away - they're all support- ing the president and ... thinking they need to wear their fur."

Salesman Keith Jarrell, speaking of the inauguration's "in" fashion accessory (Article, Page 1A)

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