Bombing terrorism, in Israel and in New York City, is the day’s most urgent news. The older, cooling, stories of the budget bill and the robust economy round out today’s coverage. The New York Times leads with the immediate aftermath of the Jerusalem market bombing, and the Washington Post leads with the police raid in Brooklyn that apparently interrupted a plot to blow up subways and buses, a plot with eerie reflections of, if not actual connections to, the Jerusalem slaughter. USA Today leads with yesterday’s final congressional approval of the tax and spending bills, while the Los Angeles Times goes with the 2nd quarter economic figures.
The Post reports that “New York police and federal agents arrested three men and seized five powerful bombs yesterday after a tense shootout in a seedy Brooklyn apartment, and the FBI began an intensive investigation to determine whether the suspects had ties to any Middle East terrorist organizations.” (Editors take note: there is never a calm shootout.) According to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, one of those arrested expressed support for the Jerusalem bombers. The episode, the paper observes, marks the third time in the past four years that New York City has experienced a terrorist threat with a real or apparent Middle East connection.
The WP, the NYT, the LAT, and USAT each report that investigators working the case believe that the plot was an intended suicide bombing. One of the plotters had second thoughts and last night flagged down a patrol car. He didn’t speak any English so, reports the NYT, his way of communicating imminent disaster to the cops was to repeatedly cup and fling apart his hands while screaming, “BOMBA.” The Times says the man later told an interpreter, “My roommates are going to follow up on Jerusalem.”
The NYT depicts the rapidly disintegrating political relations between Israel and Palestine, reporting that yesterday, Israel “threatened to send commandos into Palestinian areas and had decreed a series of severe punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority. Also, the Times says that Benjamin Netanyahu assailed Yassir Arafat for encouraging terrorism, and Arafat accused Netanyahu of making excuses for the collapse of the peace process.
The NYT observes that due to changes in the law, the tax reductions favoring extremely small numbers of beneficiaries in the tax bill now on the president’s desk are listed there quite explicitly. So it took no real sleuth work for the Times to point out that the bill bestows special favors on “hard-cider producers in upstate New York and Vermont,” “life insurance companies and securities firms,” “Mississippi sheriffs,” and “software giants like Microsoft.” The Wall Street Journal notes other special cases: producers of “arrows,” “owners of marginal oil wells and skydiving planes.” The tax bill, the Journal notices, “even allows U.S. wine bottlers to continue using names, including port and burgundy, of European wine-producing regions.”
The LAT trumpets the just-released 2nd quarter annualized growth rate of 2.2 percent and annualized inflation rate of 1.4 percent (the lowest in 34 years) as together indicating a “calmer” economy. The “Washington Wire” of the WSJ concurs, noting that “not one of 131 economists surveyed by the National Association of Business Economists says his or her firm plans on a 1998 recession.” The LAT story is in the middle of stating that “financial markets cheered the report, which bolstered signs that the Federal Reserve…” when it interrupts itself with an insert box headlined, “DOW RALLY ENDS.”