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Poll finds Ehrlich gaining

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has gained significant ground in his re-election bid over the last year, though his Democratic opponent, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, holds a solid lead built on the backing of moderate voters and strong support from the state's most populous areas, according to a new Sun poll. pg 1a

Police expunge duty records

Top officials of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police have ordered officers to destroy records of the extra security the department provides to VIPs at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, expunging the paper trail showing its armed escorts of celebrities. pg 1b


Viral research targets monkeys

Medical research and traditional hunting are converging in west-central Africa, not far from where chimpanzees decades ago planted the seeds of the global AIDS pandemic. The researchers' goal is clear but not guaranteed of success: to spot emerging diseases and keep them from spreading around the world. pg 1a

Israel bombs central Beirut

Israeli airstrikes hit central Beirut for the first time yesterday, and cross-border rocket barrages struck deeper inside Israel, reaching the previously unscathed city of Tiberias as the confrontation between Hezbollah guerrillas and the Jewish state spiraled toward all-out war. pg 14a


Discovery shuttle heads home

Shuttle Discovery exited the International Space Station yesterday en route to a planned homecoming tomorrow at the Kennedy Space Center. During Discovery's nine-day visit, the shuttle dropped off a third resident for the station, German astronaut Thomas Reiter, along with more than 3 tons of equipment and supplies. pg 3a

Officer charged in 4 rapes

A Bloomington, Ill., police sergeant with 17 years of service was charged Friday with rapes occurring over two years. Jeffrey Scott Pelo faces two counts of home invasion and four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault two days after he was indicted on charges of stalking a woman. pg 4a


O's Bedard beats Rangers, 8-1

Erik Bedard allowed one unearned run in seven innings to win his sixth straight start, and the Orioles ended their scoring slump at the expense of rookie John Rheinecker in an 8-1 victory over the visiting Texas Rangers. pg 1d


D.C.'s first Fringe Festival opens

Starting Thursday to July 30, downtown Washington will come to life with the inaugural Capital Fringe Festival - a celebration that will bring together 100 performing artists and groups who will present more than 400 performances in over 30 venues. pg 1e

Quote Of the day

"It's a 'Godfather' kiss - one of those kisses that says, 'I own you.'"

Edward Anderson, on the kiss President Bush appeared to plant on Democrat Joseph I. Lieberman's cheek after last year's State of the Union address Article, PG 6A

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