Today's Papers

Heard It Through the Bovine

The Washington Post and the New York Times lead with fallout from the U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade last May. On Thursday and Friday, a CIA official was fired and six others reprimanded for producing the “bad intelligence” that led to the bombing. Using a 2-year-old map, a CIA officer identified what he believed was a Yugoslav arms agency; an aerial photography expert then figured out its coordinates from a database that had not been updated since the embassy moved in 1996. The Los Angeles Times off-leads the CIA and leads with a poll indicating that LAPD corruption scandals are sullying residents’ image of the city, despite a booming economy and falling crime rates.

NATO planners turned to U.S. intelligence for suggestions in Belgrade once they had bombed previously targeted sites. The CIA, it turns out, does not have formal channels for handling such requests. Beyond culpability, the CIA investigation turned up a frustrated hero: an analyst had expressed concern to the European Command in Naples before the raid, but his doubts were dismissed.

The NYT early edition led with the Clinton administration’s efforts to scuttle a World Bank plan that would open U.S. markets to poor African, Asian, and Latin American countries. The removal of barriers might dissuade Congress from normalizing trade with China, the paper reports.

This month, the Supreme Court will hear a case that tests a 1968 federal law allowing criminal confessions to be admitted at trials involving suspects who were not read their rights upon arrest, the Post reports. The law has never been enforced because many fear it is unconstitutional. No statistics are given for suspects freed because they were not read their rights, but prosecutors say the amount, fortunately, is “relatively small.”

The NYT checks in with congressional Republicans a year into the presidential campaign to find Bush’s once-glowing image tarnished. Doubting they will be able to win by relying on Bush’s popularity, the Republicans will have to campaign on their own strengths. The Post writes that Gore’s strategy to recast his public image, a strategy that involves not wearing suits, seems to have helped him connect with some voters. A Harvard study cited in the NYT “Political Briefing” reveals that three-quarters of voters find the campaign boring.

The NYT follows up last week’s investigation into Angola’s diamond-funded insurgency. Last year, the Angolan government spent part of $900 million in oil proceeds on weaponry and pocketed the rest; meanwhile, impoverished Angolans continue to live without running water.

Anti-Americanism is growing in Europe as nations find themselves simultaneously dependent on and menaced by the United States, according to a NYT front-pager. A French parliamentarian writes in his new book, “it is appropriate to be downright anti-American.” The article reminds Today’s Papers of the Johns Hopkins professor who, speaking about how the U.S. irks the rest of the world, told the Times last summer, “If you are the 800-pound gorilla, you’re concentrating on your bananas and everyone else is concentrating on you.”

The NYT Magazine celebrates suburbia. Jane Jacobs thinks the suburbs are fine, if you like that sort of thing: “All those malls. There are too many of them, and they’re too boring.” One article profiles exiled city-dwellers who seek urban niceties. Retailers, David Brooks writes, are quickly transforming suburbia into SoHo. The Über-urban paper does not address the opposite phenomenon: As a glassy curtain of franchise storefronts descends on metropolitan sidewalks, SoHo is quickly becoming suburbia.

Both the Post and NYT run education supplements. The latter visits an experimental American-style liberal arts degree program at the Smolny Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia. The article asks if American educational values can survive in skeptical St. Petersburg. The question harder to ask anyone involved: Can American managerial and accounting practices survive as well?

With orthodox Marxism receding into Chinese history, several top minds are turning to studies of extraterrestrial life and Bigfoot, the LAT reports. “Previously, most UFO sightings were in developed countries, like the U.S.,” said a former Spanish-language interpreter for Mao Zedong.

As president of Nasdaq, Alfred R. Berkeley III has seen a bull soar to unprecedented heights; as a University of Virginia undergraduate, he saw a cow do so. Berkeley has been named this year’s UVA commencement speaker, despite confessing three years ago to a decadesold, previously unsolved college prank, according to the NYT education section. In 1965, Berkeley and five others led a 250-pound calf to the top of the campus’s 50-foot-tall Rotunda. Tragically, the animal succumbed to tranquilizers before it could be evacuated to safety. Let this be a lesson to us all.