Today's Papers

Nifty Sixty

The New York Times lead reveals that last spring the U.S. planned to capture terrorist Osama bin Laden. The Washington Post leads with the arrest of two suspects in the Tanzania embassy bombing case and the issuance of an arrest warrant for a third suspect in the Nairobi attack. The Los Angeles Times lead announces that the Asian financial crisis means real trouble for the U.S. economy.

Citing a senior government official, the NYT reveals that last spring the CIA planned a raid to capture bin Laden in Afghanistan, but did not execute the mission for fear of heavy casualties. U.S. intelligence had evidence connecting bin Laden to numerous terrorist plots and had been tracking him with eaves-dropping and picture-taking satellites since 1996. Clinton’s quick retaliation seems less bold considering U.S. intelligence felt a strike against bin Laden was justified prior to the Aug. 7 embassy bombings.

The WP reports that officials have made the first two arrests in the Tanzania embassy bombing case and that a third suspect (two are already in custody) has been named in the Nairobi case. The “FBI’s largest overseas investigation in history” has successfully pieced together the details of the bombings and now looks to uncover a vast terrorist conspiracy linked to bin Laden.

The LAT says that Asian financial mayhem has gone global, and the real danger lies in the possibility of a global depression. The piece cites “analysts” who say that because Japan refuses to bite the bullet and make drastic efforts to stimulate its economy, the U.S. stands as the world’s last hope of avoiding a “1930s-style depression that could continue for years.”

All three papers run front page articles on Mark McGwire’s sixtieth home run. The numbers speak for themselves: in only 142 games, McGwire has reached sixty homers faster than both Maris and Ruth. The WP reports that St. Louis Cardinals’ game balls now contain bar codes so that home run balls 60, 61, and 62 can be verified. The papers’ recent front page coverage has not mentioned McGwire’s controversial use of legal steroids.

A NYT Arts & Leisure piece tells the story behind the recent revival of Orson Welles’ last Hollywood feature film, “Touch of Evil.” The article’s author was part of a small team who re-cut the film based on a newly discovered 58-page memo in which Welles, who lost creative control over “Touch of Evil” half-way through its editing, describes his vision of the finished product.

A WP Sunday Outlook piece, written by Fidelity Magellan Fund legend Peter Lynch, argues that through nine recessions, a presidential assassination, multiple wars, and numerous political scandals the stock market has increased in value. Thus, one shouldn’t get too upset over current banking crises and foreign fiscal mayhem or even worry about the baby-boomers’ retirement and Japanese investors. Stocks increase in value because companies increase their earnings. Thankfully, Lynch believes earnings will continue to rise over the next 20 years.

The LAT reports the death of director Akira Kurosawa, a story that broke too late for the other papers’ early editions. The “The Seven Samurai” director, who died at home in Tokyo on Saturday night, was “widely regarded as the world’s greatest living film director.” Kurosawa was 88.