Today's Papers

Reign of Terror

The front-page spotlight remains on Kenya and Tanzania in the aftermath of Friday bombings at two U.S. embassies. Even as the search through the rubble continues, the still-rising death toll is at 149 (including 12 Americans), according to the Washington Post, which gives the highest figure.

The lead at the New York Times details the launching of an organized international rescue operation, replacing the heroic but chaotic efforts to date. A contingent of 170 Israeli troops–whom the NYT peculiarly characterizes as “specialists in rescuing people from destroyed buildings”–arrived in Nairobi and quickly took charge. Among their first moves: pulling a Kenyan businessman out alive from the rubble. The Los Angeles Times and the WP also cover the Israeli rescue effort, but further down.

All papers report that the Nairobi hospitals have been overwhelmed by treating the 4000-plus wounded; the NYT devotes a separate inside article to the story. The biggest problems are blood shortages and dwindling equipment and supplies. There was little reported progress in the search for the bombers, though a Kenyan daily newspaper quoted witnesses who recalled seeing a man waiting in a pickup truck Friday morning in the alley behind the embassy, where the bomb exploded.

The front-page LAT “Sunday Report” looks into a prophetic 1993 Pentagon study dubbed “Terror 2000,” which outlined potential terrorist scenarios–including the targeting of a major U.S. financial center, which happened months later when the World Trade Center was bombed. Dubbed too alarmist for their time, the papers were “quietly buried,” says the LAT.

In other front-page news–rather, news of the front page–the Monica story retreated inside for the first time in weeks. Savor it: she won’t stay there long.

A mammoth article inside the WP “Outlook” offers cautionary words for America’s Social Security reformers: Britain’s model of partial privatization ain’t as great as it sounds. The system, instituted under Margaret Thatcher in the mid-80s, incurred higher than expected administrative costs, and triggered a breakdown in consumer protection as people invested in a smorgasbord of incompetent companies. (“Investors could even buy a pension from the big supermarket chains.”) Though an insightful glimpse into Britain’s struggles with Social Security, the article makes few links to the challenges facing America.

How’s this for a catchy lead–“Victoria’s Secret sells 20 times more size 32 bras in New York than it averages in other cities” (from the WP, p. A18). Having been hooked by this line–and by a follow-up report that Miami customers prefer ivory-colored undergarments to black ones by 10:1–TP was deeply disappointed to discover that the article was really about a Virginia-based company called Microstrategy, whose products help companies sort through their databases. How dreadfully misleading!