Sun Digeest


N. Ireland deal possible


The two parties whose conflict fueled decades of violence in Northern Ireland met face-to-face for the first time yesterday and agreed to enter a power-sharing government on May 8. pg 1A

Olmert pressed for peace talks


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday to agree to peace talks that would include three issues that have bedeviled Middle East negotiations since 1979. pg 8A


Senate approves smoking ban

Two days after the House of Delegates passed a statewide smoking ban in bars and restaurants, the Maryland Senate approved a similar measure yesterday - leaving negotiators to hash out differences over what kind of exemptions might be granted. pg 1A

Water bill legislation passed

Two-thirds of Baltimore's City Council agreed last night to sponsor hastily resurrected legislation to prevent homeowners from losing their homes over unpaid water bills, all but assuring its swift passage. A hearing on the bill is set for April 11. pg 1B


O's Payton injured


Orioles left fielder Jay Payton suffers a hamstring strain, an injury that not only puts him in jeopardy of not playing on Opening Day, but also could force him to miss the first week or two of the season. pg 1E












Liaison cites Fifth Amendment


Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales' liaison with the White House will refuse to answer questions at Senate hearings about the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, citing Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, her lawyer said yesterday. pg 3A

Couple who fell from ship OK

A man who fell about 50 feet from a cruise ship was released from the ship's medical center yesterday, and a woman who also fell plans to have follow-up testing on land, the cruise line said. The 22-year-old man and 20-year-old woman had minor injuries after falling into the Gulf of Mexico. pg 4A


Obituaries business booming

Driven largely by the Internet, interest in obituaries is booming, with a slew of Web sites and blogs dedicated to the craft, as well as a rise in the field of commissioned obits, made to order by people who want a say over how their legacy is described. pg 1C


Smith's cause of death revealed

Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose of a sleeping medication and at least eight other prescription drugs, and she had recently had a bacterial infection from injecting drugs into her buttocks, authorities said yesterday. pg 1C