and the Los Angeles Times lead with the Senate’s unanimous repeal yesterday of the earnings limits that had been imposed on Social Security recipients aged 65 to 69. Since, the papers report, the House had previously also done the same (also unanimously) and President Clinton yesterday repeated his intention to sign the bill, it will become law. The Wall Street Journal puts the Social Security vote atop its front-page news box. The Washington Post stuffs it and goes instead with the federal government’s decision to pay $508 million–three times the largest private discrimination payout–to settle a class-action lawsuit involving hundreds of women complaining of gender bias in hiring and promotion at the U.S. Information Agency and Voice of America. The case presents a somewhat Jarndyced view of the legal system, having taken 23 years. The New York Times fronts the settlement, but leads with the pope’s visit with Yasser Arafat in Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem during which the pontiff paid tribute to the suffering and displacement of Palestinians and referred to the need to fulfill their legitimate aspirations. The LAT and WP front-page stories ratchet the visit up a notch, with the LAT directly quoting the pope’s claim that Palestinians have “the natural right to a homeland,” under a headline stating: “POPE ENDORSES ARAFAT’S QUEST FOR STATEHOOD.”
The NYT fronts the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling that public universities can collect student activity fees even from students who object to particular groups thereby funded, as long as the allocations are made without regard to the groups’ views. The paper’s Linda Greenhouse describes the decision as a “surprisingly broad and decisive victory for universities.”
The LAT front confirms, sourcing an unnamed Clinton administration official, that the cancellation Monday of a scheduled presidential side trip in Bangladesh was based on intelligence indicating that “Islamic zealots” directly linked to Osama bin Laden were planning to fire a shoulder-launched missile at the president’s helicopter. The story doesn’t say, but that missile was almost surely one of the many Stinger SAMs distributed by the U.S. to Islamic fighters during their insurgency against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
The WP reports that pressed by U.S. human rights activists and victims’ relatives galvanized by the Spanish effort to extradite Augusto Pinochet, the U.S. Department of Justice has reopened its long-dormant investigation of the 1976 Washington, D.C., car bombing that killed the former Chilean ambassador to the U.S. and an American colleague, with an eye to seeing whether the crime was ordered by Pinochet himself.
The NYT reports inside that a former high-ranking official of Iraq’s secret weapons program says that in the years before the Persian Gulf war, Iraqi students in the United States combed university libraries for nuclear bomb-building information and that Iraqi agents and scientists collected valuable data of this sort at American scientific conferences. The story adds that now, because of the Internet, much more weapons information can be found from anywhere in the world.
The NYT’s Bill Carter reports that the Fox network president, Doug Herzog, is resigning after only a year. The story doesn’t mention the network’s Who Wants To Marry a Multi-Millionaire?, which must have been a factor, no? And although the WSJ story on Herzog’s leaving mentions WWMMM? in its last paragraph, it likewise makes it seem that the debacle had nothing to do with the personnel change.
For more political news, go to Slate’s Politics page.