The Washington Post leads with a local story on how police officers in Prince George’s County, which abuts the District, have shot and killed people at rates higher than those of almost any other large police force in the country (122 shot, 47 killed since 1990). The WP’s top national story, fronted by the Los Angeles Times and the lead at the New York Times, reports that surgery to install an implantable cardioverter defibrillator in Vice President Dick Cheney’s chest to regulate his heart went very well. Cheney plans to be back at work on Monday. The LAT leads with news that the Mexican economy’s recession is deepening, threatening President Vicente Fox’s social reform plans. Layoffs are occurring in nearly all sectors, and even the country’s prize producers, factories along the U.S. border, are suffering. As a result, Mexico could face social unrest, and the U.S. may see an increase in illegal immigration attempts. Fox gained the presidency by promising to start new programs to address poverty and inequality–and to create 1.3 million new jobs. If the economy doesn’t shape up, Fox may lack the political clout to push reforms such as giving greater rights to indigenous people and redoing the judicial and tax systems.
Cheney’s doctors suggested that the device to regulate his heart rate be implanted after tests showed that the VP’s heart sometimes beats abnormally quickly. The papers previewed the surgery yesterday after Cheney announced he was likely to have it done, and many of the details on Cheney’s heart health history in today’s papers are well-trodden ground. Today’s post-operative wrap-up includes assessments from a Cheney doctor, who told the papers that the patient’s prognosis is “terrific,” and from Cheney himself who said he felt good except for a sore shoulder. President Bush did not seem too worried that Cheney’s cardiovascular disease would keep him from his vice-presidential duties. “If I were to say, ‘You’ve got to slow down, Mister Vice President,’ ” the WP quotes Bush, “he’s going to say, ‘Forget it.’ “
From a first meeting between President Bush and new Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi came a promise that the U.S. and Japan would look into restarting negotiations on reducing greenhouse gases, the NYT and WP report inside. The NYT emphasizes this promise of new talks while the WP begins by announcing that Koizumi said he will not implement the Kyoto global warming treaty without the U.S. on board. Japan’s position effectively ends all hope for the agreement, says the WP. The NYT notes that yesterday Koizumi toned down his criticism of Bush’s rejection of Kyoto (which he called “deplorable” last week), saying that he was not disappointed by Bush’s stance. In return, Bush praised Koizumi’s willingness to tackle the economic reforms that Japan needs to save itself from a recession. According to the statement the leaders released, the Camp David meeting also produced a bilateral initiative for discussing economic policy.
The LAT front and an AP story inside the NYT predict that Sunday’s resignation of the leader of the power-sharing Catholic-Protestant government in Northern Ireland, David Trimble, will precipitate a political crisis. Trimble quit over the Irish Republican Army’s refusal to disarm; his resignation was expected. The law gives the four parties in charge of Northern Ireland six weeks to devise a new governing arrangement or face dissolution of the government. If the IRA does begin to disarm, Trimble says he would return to government, according to the NYT. The LAT says it’s unclear whether Trimble actually will end up back in power.
The WP front continues to consider the effects that the recent extradition of former Yugoslav President Milosevic to a war crimes tribunal is having on Serbia. For the first time Serbs are speaking publicly about the atrocities they witnessed during Milosevic’s reign, and the Post predicts their words may help the prosecution’s case when the dictator’s trial begins. Citizens have told Serbian police that they saw 1,000 bodies being unloaded at mass gravesites. Some Serbians were forced to dig grave pits and drive trucks filled with dead ethnic Albanians.
The WP front points out that many managed health care providers in the U.S. in recent years have given consumers some of the same protections that the health-care bill the Senate passed on Friday would guarantee. America’s largest managed-care provider, Aetna U.S. Healthcare, pays for any emergency room visit a patient believes is necessary. One company no longer makes doctors check in with its representatives before doing most medical procedures and another lets patients in many states file grievances with outside appeals boards. Yet the legislation would still make a difference according to industry sources because some practices it would require managed-care companies to adopt are not currently widespread. For example, few managed-care companies pay for the costs associated with patients taking part in trials of new therapies, and the bill would require all to do so.
The NYT fronts the plight of some small businesses in the Pacific Northwest which have been attacked by “eco-saboteurs” protesting genetic engineering and other practices they believe hurt the environment. These vandals have set fire to logging trucks and a dealership’s stock of SUVs. They have torn up plots of genetically engineered pea plants and trampled grass that had been modified for use on putting greens. According to state and federal officials, there have been at least a dozen such attacks in recent months. Authorities think that many of these incidents can be connected to the Earth Liberation Front, a loose network of protestors. Companies have taken extra security measures such as installing chain-link fences with razor wire and alarm systems to defend their greenhouses. Even businesses innocent of engaging in any kind of genetic alterations to their products have been forced to recognize the threat. A supply manager for a company that sells grasses and only uses traditional cross-breeding methods worries that “they think we’re working on some alfalfa plant that’s going to expand and explode and eat downtown Tangent, (Oregon).” His company has removed all signs that say “research” on them to discourage vandalism.