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THE BALTIMORE SUN

NATIONAL

SBC agrees to buy AT&T;

Phone giant SBC Communications Inc. has agreed to acquire AT&T; Corp. for about $16 billion in cash and stock, according to reports. The reunion of the two, which were separated by the 1984 breakup of the AT&T; monopoly known as Ma Bell, would create the nation's largest telephone company. [Page 1a]

Jackson jury selection to begin

Jury selection begins today in the child molestation case against Michael Jackson. Early yesterday, Jackson issued a court-approved video statement on his Web site, calling recent media leaks in the case "disgusting and false" and predicting he would be acquitted. [Page 3a]

WORLD

Iraqis defy warnings, go to polls

Iraqis embraced democracy in large numbers, standing in long lines to vote in defiance of suicide attacks, mortar rounds and boycott calls. But uncertain Sunni turnout, a string of bomb attacks and the crash of a British transport plane emphasized the chaos still gripping the country. [Page 1a]

New West Bank security plan

Palestinian police commanders began preparations yesterday to take control of four West Bank towns by midweek, after top Israeli and Palestinian officials agreed on a security plan for the West Bank. [Page 9a]

Cease-fire talks end early

Workers buried more tsunami victims in Aceh province yesterday as a premature end to cease-fire talks between the Indonesian government and separatist rebels dampened hopes for a quick resolution to a 30-year-old conflict in the devastated province. [Page 9a]

Economic summit ends

More than 2,000 of the world's rich and powerful decamped from Davos, a luxurious Swiss ski resort, yesterday after five days of talks on how to improve the world, particularly by stamping out poverty, fighting disease and bringing peace to the Middle East and elsewhere. [Page 14a]

MARYLAND

Ministers join intimidation fight

The legislative effort to combat witness intimidation in Maryland is drawing support from a potentially powerful group: African-American ministers in some of Baltimore's toughest neighborhoods. Saying they were standing in place of congregation members too intimidated to speak up, five ministers from Baltimore and Washington-area churches traveled to Annapolis last week to support Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s witness intimidation bill. [Page 1b]

Owens, O'Malley discuss park

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens met last week to discuss the future of Fort Smallwood Park, a 100-acre city-owned property within the county that for years has been the subject of complaints by neighbors. Details of the talks were not revealed, but any agreement that might be reached is expected to address maintenance and security issues at the 77-year-old park. [Page 1b]

City counts the homeless

Dozens of volunteers scouted out downtown doorways, the shadows under expressways, subway cars and shelters across Baltimore in search of homeless people for an annual census. The city government needs the count to apply for federal and state grants for programs that help the homeless. [Page 1b]

SPORTS

Terps top No. 22 Ga. Tech

Nik Caner-Medley scored 19 points to pace a balanced attack that carried Maryland past No. 22 Georgia Tech, 79-71, at Comcast Center. It was the Terps' second win over a ranked opponent in five days. Maryland had upset No. 2 Duke on Wednesday. [Page 1c]

Safin wins Australian Open

Russia's Marat Safin defeated Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, in 2 hours, 45 minutes to win the Australian Open. It was Safin's first title in three finals in Australia. [Page 3c]

Sosa has mixed legacy

What Sammy Sosa's legacy will be in Chicago is difficult to determine: whether he will be remembered for long-distance home runs or for being a selfish player. The Cubs have agreed in principle to trade Sosa to the Orioles for Jerry Hairston and two minor-leaguers. [Page 6c]

TODAY

Rawn looks to next project

For William Rawn, architect for the Music Center at Strathmore, the process of fine-tuning his Montgomery County creation is also practice for the next project. The music center, built at a cost of $100 million, opens this week at 10701 Rockville Pike in North Bethesda. [Page 1d]

U2 fans cry foul over concert

Fans who paid $40 to join a U2 fan club for a shot at choice seats for its spring tour are irate that they were shut out of an Internet sale. They blame scalpers, but the band's management calls it a case of supply and demand. [Page 1d]

Eastwood named director of year

Clint Eastwood was declared filmmaker of the year by his peers Saturday, winning the Directors Guild of America honor for Million Dollar Baby. Eastwood's triumph dashed nominee Martin Scorsese's hopes yet again. With The Aviator, Scorsese earned his sixth guild nomination for best director, but he has lost every time. [Page 2d]

TODAY ONLINE

IRAQ ELECTIONS

For developments in the Iraq elections, along with archived coverage of the war in Iraq, go to www.baltimoresun.com/iraq

TERPS FOOTBALL Q&A;

Submit your questions about the Terps' football recruiting efforts to recruiting coordinator James Franklin at www.baltimoresun.com/college/football

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I am doing this because I love my country, and I love the sons of my nation. We are Arabs, we are not scared and we are not cowards."

Shamal Hekeib, after voting with his wife in their Baghdad neighborhood (Article, Page 1A)

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