Today's Papers

Decision Won’t Stem Debate

The New York Times   lead reports that major U.S. airlines will no longer require a Saturday night stay in return for a low-priced ticket on some popular flights. The Washington Post   leads with news that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, in an effort to reduce the time available for potentially violent protests, will shorten their annual fall meeting from a week to a weekend. This next battle in the war between agents of globalization and anti-globalization protestors is scheduled for Sept. 29 and 30 in Washington, D.C. According to the Los Angeles Times   lead, California is now facing a surplus of electrical power. The state bought too much electricity through long-term contracts when it was trying to alleviate power shortages a few months back.

According to the NYT lead, for the last 20 years, business travelers have been willing to pay steep prices for tickets that don’t require a Saturday night stay and thus have become the airlines’ most profitable flyers. Recently though, business customers have been choosing cheaper regional carriers. Now that the domestic airline industry is facing an expected $1.5 billion in losses this year, the biggest airlines hope to entice business travelers to return by dropping the mandatory Saturday night stay.

The WP lead calls the IMF/World Bank decision to cut short their meeting a “major change” in the wake of the police killing of a protestor in Genoa, Italy during the recent G-8 conference. While the financial institutions should have time to approve policy changes at the meeting, much of the socializing and business dealing between government officials and private financiers will be sidelined. Protestors have assured the Post that the reduced schedule will not affect their agendas. D.C. officials are asking the federal government to put up the $38 million they anticipate spending on securing the city for the event.  

The LAT lead reports that electricity is likely to remain an expensive problem for Californians. If demand doesn’t rise, energy experts say, ratepayers may have to make up for the losses the state is taking in selling unused power. Last month, California sold extra power for one-fifth the price it paid, and if such rates of loss continue, the state could be out $500 million by this time next year.

The papers all front follow-ups to President Bush’s decision to grant federal funding for research on existing stem cells. The NYT reports above the fold that the administration will move quickly to implement its plan for funding stem cell research and that federal funding will begin by early 2002. The National Institutes of Health started compiling a list of stem cell lines eligible for federal research grants. The White House thinks there are 60 such lines but specialists believe there aren’t so many.  The WP off-lead points out that though Bush’s stem cell rules are more restrictive than President Clinton’s overall, Bush’s ethical guidelines for obtaining colonies of stem cells from fertility clinics are less demanding. Bush requires that donors of stem cell-filled embryos give “proper informed consent,” but he doesn’t describe exactly what this means, whereas Clinton gave explicit guidelines for such consent. This policy change might free up more stem cell colonies for research. The LAT front concludes that the debate on the future of stem cell research will continue.

The WP front and reports reefered by the NYT and LAT reveal that eight Marines, including a general, have been charged with violating military law for keeping fraudulent maintenance records on Osprey aircraft. Two Ospreys crashed and killed soldiers last year, and according to the charges, the accused Marines misrepresented the aircraft’s problems on maintenance reports in order to maintain funding for the fleet. 

The LAT and WP front and the NYT goes inside with Bush’s first high-profile decision on affirmative action. The Justice Department has urged the Supreme Court to back a federal program that gives a percentage of government transportation contracts worth billions of dollars to disadvantaged minorities and women.

Everyone reports inside that the DOJ has asked a federal appeals court not to honor Microsoft’s request to postpone a decision on appropriate remedies for the company’s monopolistic behavior. Microsoft doesn’t want to be punished until it finds out if the Supreme Court will review its case.  The government argues that drawing out the proceedings further would hurt consumers.

Inside the WP and NYT is news that Britain has temporarily taken away Northern Ireland’s self-governing privileges.  This arrangement gives the region’s political factions more time to devise a new governing arrangement after the leader of its government quit several weeks ago.  A major sticking point in negotiations between the parties is the Irish Republican Army’s reluctance to disarm.

The WP reports online that a graduate student is protesting materialism by selling everything he owns on eBay. Among the items he has sold are Christmas gifts he intended for his family–his stepmother outbid competitors to collect her presents–and his birthday party. The stranger who bought the party became friends with the attendees. The paper doesn’t say whether this man’s quest for freedom from material goods means that he has considered giving up the $5000 he made selling his things.