Rice opens Mideast trip


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Israeli counterpart declared yesterday their mutual support for a bilateral diplomatic strategy enabling moderate political leaders across the Middle East but offered little new to push ahead any agreement with the Palestinians. pg 16a

Chavez welcomes Ahmadinejad


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Venezuela yesterday for talks with President Hugo Chavez, on the first leg of a Latin American visit to enhance Iran's stature with governments where distrust of the Bush administration runs deep. pg 9a


Ehrlich's unfinished business

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the first Republican to be elected Maryland governor since 1966, came to Annapolis with one overriding goal: to establish Maryland as a two-party state. As he leaves office, Ehrlich acknowledged that the competition of ideas - the legacy he hoped to leave - will disappear. pg 1a

Montague's travel questioned

Maryland Juvenile Services Secretary Kenneth C. Montague Jr. traveled out of state at least 29 times during his four years in office to attend conferences or retreats and tour juvenile facilities - even as criticism mounted here that his agency and its programs were in shambles. pg 1b


Domestic intelligence gathering


The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering. pg 1a

Questions surround kidnapping

Investigators who discovered two kidnapped boys in a Missouri apartment turned yesterday from euphoria to some troubling questions. What could have motivated the suspect? How did he treat the boys? And how was he able to keep them hidden in plain sight just an hour's drive from their hometowns - one for four days, the other for four years? pg 3a


Stem cells primer

Stem cells are a hot topic among biotech businesses and on Capital Hill, but there's a lot of confusion among the public about what the cells are, what they can do and where they originate. The Sun offers a primer on embryonic and somatic varieties and the applications they're thought to have. pg 1c



Terps deal Clemson first loss

The Maryland men handed No. 17 Clemson - the nation's last unbeaten Division I-A team - a 92-87 loss at Comcast Center. The upset ended the Tigers' school-record 17-game winning streak. pg 1d


Jack Bauer's very long day

Tonight's Season 6 premiere of the Fox thriller 24 evokes the angst of post-9/11 American life with stomach-churning intensity, says Sun critic David Zurawik. With more than 10 million viewers a week for five seasons, it's TV's top drama. pg 1e



Baby boomer portraits

Marylanders Yvonne Christie and Mary Murphy were born at opposite ends of the baby boom generation. Both are mothers of two children and they share a skepticism about how they fit into the country's biggest generation. pg 1n