Today's Papers

Father Knows Best

The Washington Post leads with President Bush’s proposed alternative to the Kyoto treaty on global warming. Bush will tell European allies this week that the U.S. will spend millions on research into the causes of global warming and the technologies to reduce it, but that he continues to reject the mandatory controls the treaty places on emissions of greenhouse gases. The New York Times leads with the spread of genetically modified crops into the food supply. Even as scientists debate the safety of such foods, “a large share of the world’s population has little or no choice but to consume genetically modified crops.” The Los Angeles Times leads with a feature about the dangers that illegal Mexican immigrants face when crossing the deserts of Northern Mexico and the southwestern United States.

Bush’s National Climate Change Technology Initiative would send money to research institutions and universities to find ways to reduce emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman, along with a number of European allies, have urged Bush to meet with industry leaders and find a way to impose long-term mandatory limits on emissions. A recent National Academy of Sciences report commissioned by the administration concluded that the temperature of the Earth’s surface was rising. But Bush has maintained that the 1997 Kyoto treaty–never ratified by the U.S. or any other industrialized nation–would harm the American economy and fail to regulate developing nations like China and India. The Post speculates that Bush’s proposal “will fall far short of allied demands.”

“There is little evidence,” the New York Times reports, “that biotech foods are dangerous to humans.” But some farmers and consumers fear that through wind-blown pollen, commingled seeds, and black-market plantings, genetically modified foods are developing a tighter grip on the world’s food supply. Last year, Starlink, a new kind of genetically modified corn, entered the world’s food supply before it was approved for human consumption. What are the practical effects of the scare? Agriculture companies face a public relations nightmare, regulators must re-examine what exactly constitutes a genetically modified food, and large countries may have to scale back the limits they place on genetically modified crops.

The LAT reports that 491 Mexican citizens died last year in the desolate areas that surround the border. Many migrants must locate Mexican loan sharks to finance their trip, evade corrupt cops in border towns, and then cross barren stretches of desert with smugglers–called “coyotes”–without dying of thirst or starvation. Immigration officials say illegal crossings are decreasing, but the paper speculates that immigrants are simply eschewing repeat crossings and spending more time in the U.S. The New York Times fronts a story about a religious group that constructs makeshift oases in the Arizona desert to prevent a few immigrants of dying of thirst.

The New York Times fronts former President George H.W. Bush’s effort to persuade his son to reopen negotiations with North Korea. Last week, President Bush announced that his administration would talk to North Korea about a range of issues, including its missile program. That announcement, say sources, incorporated advice the president received in a memo from his father. The memo was written by Donald P. Gregg, an expert on Asian affairs who advised the former president on national security issues. The paper pegs the incident as “the first concrete evidence of the elder Bush’s hand in a specific policy arena.”

The Times’ “Travel” section runs this correction:

The Choice Tables column on May 6, about restaurants in Beijing, misidentified When Xuanhai, owner of the home that is now the Bamboo Garden Hotel, site of the Drunken Beauty Veranda restaurant. A reader’s e-mail message on May 10 pointed out that Mr. Shen was a prominent businessman and government official; he was not the Qing Dynasty palace eunuch who designed the gardens. This correction was delayed by a reporting lapse.