The crisis in Russia leads at all papers–the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times–though the WP tucks the story under a banner headline on market dives and global turmoil. Each front-page features a photo of Boris Yeltsin, his hands raised, defiantly refuting rumors of his resignation. In Yeltsin’s words: “I’m not going to resign … In 2000, there will be an election for president, and I will not run.” But Yeltsin’s determined words belie his weak physical appearance and waning power. The papers note that an agreement reached Friday to shift substantial power away from the presidency and over to the parliament (the State Duma) constitutes a likely setback for reform. The LAT is the only paper with high-up mention of Yeltsin’s latest sackings: Anatoly Chubias (Russia’s envoy to international financial institutions) and deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov.
All papers run above-the-fold stories recapping Wall Street’s worst week this year (and the worst week since October ‘89). The Dow dropped 114 points Friday, extending Thursday’s 357-point dive. Asia’s markets also dropped sharply on Friday, with Tokyo dipping to a 12-year low. In Russia the economy remained virtually frozen–stocks were traded at very low volume Friday, and Moscow’s main currency exchange stayed shut.
Next week’s Yeltsin-Clinton summit in Moscow gets front-page play at the LAT and gets inside features elsewhere. The WP predicts the summit will yield “psychic solace but little tangible assistance.” Newt Gingrich for one foresees no psychic solace: he tells the NYT that Clinton’s trip is “imprudent” considering Russia’s current state. The chaos certainly makes trip logistics a nightmare, as all papers note. Interesting angle not mentioned in the papers: What is the status of security preparations?
All papers report (the NYT inside) that a second suspect in the African bombings, arraigned in a court in New York, has admitted ties to terrorist financier Osama bin Laden. A related WP front-pager says that bin Laden was in the Afghanistan camps the day of the attack, but moved before the missiles struck. The story also says that the U.S. began formulating retaliation plans against bin Laden’s Afghan stronghold in June.
A NYT front-page story keeps up the heat on U.S. officials who maintain that the Sudanese pharmaceutical plant was a legitimate target. The article chronicles numerous U.S. changes-of-story. It also says that President Clinton “personally chose the bombing site [in Sudan] … declining to strike any other among a larger set of targets presented to him by military planners.” The article adds that Clinton may not have known that the plant was a U.N.-affiliated medicine factory.
President Clinton’s speech at a Martha’s Vineyard church makes the front page at the NYT and the WP. While not alluding directly to the Lewinsky scandal, Clinton emphasizes forgiveness. (He also compares himself to Nelson Mandela in needing to forgive tormentors.) Clinton’s audience is largely sympathetic.
A WP “Style” section piece says that British newspapers still carry on in “all-out wretched-excess mode” about Princess Diana, almost a year after her death. However, some editors dare to predict that this may be the Princess’s last media hurrah. Supporting evidence: 300 people showed up to a commemorative march last weekend when 15,000 were expected. Counter-evidence: London’s Daily Mail netted 20% more readers when it serialized Diana, the Untold Story.
A mock-epic on the NYT op-ed page replays the Trojan War as a steroid-aided battle, a la the controversy over Mark McGwire’s use of over-the-counter muscle-builders. The wily Odysseus slips Achilles some androstenedione, while Apollo stokes the Trojan defenders on creatine. All contenders show the requisite deference toward Anabolis, the goddess of steroids.