Today's Papers

Ballot Boxing

The Washington Post leads with President Clinton’s warning to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat that if he keeps his promise to declare an independent Palestinian state in September–before reaching a peace agreement with Israel–the United States will review its relationship with the Palestinians. The consequences, Clinton explained in an Israeli television interview yesterday, could include moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and reviewing the United States’ $400 million aid package to the Palestinians. In its off-lead coverage of Clinton’s interview, the New York Times doesn’t once mention Arafat, discussing instead the significance of an official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as the proposed compensation of both Palestinian and Jewish refugees. The NYT leads instead with the news that Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s campaign leaders have killed a plan to overhaul the GOP primary season. The Republican National Committee’s plan would have placed larger states’ primaries after those of smaller states–and allowed voters in all states to cast primary ballots “that actually counted,” reports the NYT. Although there is no official explanation as to why Bush’s campaign leaders killed the plan, some RNC members speculate that it will allow Bush to avoid a floor fight at next week’s GOP convention in Philadelphia. The Los Angeles Times goes inside with the potential embassy move and instead runs a top non-local lead reporting the violent scene surrounding Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori’s third swearing-in. This story is fronted by the NYT and stuffed by the WP.

Though Clinton’s warning yesterday “turned up the heat sharply on Yasser Arafat,” the WP reports, the discussion of moving the Israeli embassy also serves to bolster political support for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, states the NYT. Barak, who recently lost his majority in Parliament, called the White House to request Clinton’s help with his political problems, according to the NYT. It was Clinton, reminds the NYT, who has stood in the way of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Congress called for the move five years ago, but the Clinton administration rejected the move for fear that it would interfere with the peace process. During Clinton’s half-hour interview, he discussed with Israeli television a long-term commitment to modernize the Israeli army and increase security assistance. The president also proffered a morsel of Camp David dialogue: The Palestinians support compensation of Jews who fled or were evicted from Arab countries since Israel’s founding. This news is crucial to Barak’s political power, notes the NYT, since many of his on-the-fence supporters are Jews from Arab countries.

Demonstrators at Peruvian President Fujimori’s third inauguration in Lima yesterday were protesting what they believe was a fraudulent election. According to the LAT, Fujimori is the subject of allegations of “foul play” during the first round of the election in April and a “troubled” runoff vote in May that was boycotted by his challenger. The NYT reports that before the election, Peru was divided on whether or not Fujimori was even eligible for a third five-year term. As many as six deaths, 100 injuries, and countless arrests resulted when demonstrators set fires, vandalized government buildings, and clashed with police. Fujimori has yet to respond to complaints by the Clinton administration, the Organization of American States, and several Latin American and European governments that his leadership is increasingly authoritarian. The Clinton administration has been reluctant to come down on Fujimori, according to the NYT, because he’s promised to quell drug trafficking–not to mention the fact that Fujimori’s opposition may be “too erratic to govern.”

The LAT fronts, and the WP and NYT reefer, the news that Napster, the popular online music file-sharing Web site, has been granted an eleventh-hour stay in its legal battle with the Recording Industry Association of America. Although Wednesday’s preliminary injunction made it clear that Napster was in violation of copyright laws, the two appeals judges said yesterday that Napster’s lawyers led them to question the injunction’s “merits and form,” according to the WP. Napster can continue operating at full-force–at least through mid-September. In the meantime, 19-year-old Napster founder Shawn Fanning is running a grassroots PR campaign to sanitize the image of his site’s estimated 20 million users, reports the WP. Fanning has urged Napster users to flood bricks-and-mortar record stores this weekend to buy CDs.

The battle between evolutionism and creationism rages in Kansas. It was there that, last August, the Kansas Board of Education voted to remove from the state’s science curriculum “evolution as an explanation for the origin of the species,” reports the NYT on its front. The election of moderate over conservative Republicans could overturn the decision, according to the NYT, and put the big bang theory of the origin of the universe back in the curriculum. In anticipation of the Republican primary election for the Kansas school board, many Democrats have switched parties just to vote. As a testament to the state’s pre-primary urgency, its Republican governor and a U.S. senator have endorsed opposing candidates in their own party. The NYT quotes University of Kansas law professor Michael Davis: “When was the last time you were even aware who was running for your state board of education?”