Today's Papers

Senatorial Subpoenas

The New York Times leads with news that a suicide bomber blew himself up yesterday near Tel Aviv, killing at least two and injuring 30. The Washington Post  leads with word that a Senate committee, headed by former Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman, subpoenaed the White House yesterday for details about its contacts with Enron. Republicans on the committee opposed issuing subpoenas. But they got outvoted. The Wall Street Journal’s world-wide newsbox emphasizes that President Bush arrived in Germany yesterday. The president, who was met by large groups of protestors, is on a tour to build support for, as the Journal puts it, “widening the war on terrorism.” (Is that another, less precise, way of saying it’s an effort to build support for an attack on Iraq?) The Los Angeles Times leads with a local story that will eventually get national attention: An L.A. city commission yesterday voted to put on the November ballot the question of whether the San Fernando Valley should secede from L.A. Other communities in L.A. are also considering secession, and the valley, which has 1.5 million residents, is considered a test case. USA Today leads with news that bones found in a D.C.-area park have been identified as the remains of Chandra Levy, the federal intern who had been missing for more than a year. D.C. police said they are still investigating the “manner and cause” of her death. Levy’s disappearance last year caused a media frenzy after she was romantically linked to Rep. Gary Condit.

The NYT emphasizes that hours after the Senate subpoenas were issued, the White House sent the committee a seven-page document outlining some contacts between Enron and the administration. The Times says that the documents repeat some old info but also reveal that “White House officials had more extensive contacts with Enron executives than previously disclosed.” Lieberman said the White House hasn’t handed over enough info.

While the Post’s Enron headline plays it straight (“PANEL DEMANDS ENRON PAPERS, White House Letter Follows Subpoenas”), the NYT is more judgmental: “WHITE HOUSE ACKNOWLEDGES MORE CONTACTS WITH ENRON.” A bit of context: At least so far as Today’s Papers knows, the administration has never claimed that it’s already disclosed all of its contacts with the failed company. (By the way, the Times has a habit of angling its Enron headlines.)

The papers catch late-breaking news thata fire destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Paris. Police suspect that it was caused by an electrical short and isn’t a case of arson.

Everybody reports that the recent New York City terror alert came from information given by Abu Zubaydah, the highest ranking al-Qaida member in captivity. Zubaydah has given plenty of tips during his debriefing (at an undisclosed location), but most of them have been dead ends. The NYT emphasizes that city authorities yesterday downplayed the warning.

The papers all report that the FBI Phoenix memo, which warned that al-Qaida operatives may be training at U.S. flight schools, named some trainees as being connected to an extremist group supportive of Osama Bin Laden. Meanwhile, the author of the still-secret memo, Kenneth Williams, told congressional investigators that he himself didn’t put too much importance in the memo and at the time marked it “Routine” not “Urgent.”

Everybody notes that the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an off-shoot of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for yesterday’s suicide attack.They said it was in retaliation for Israel’s killing earlier in the day of one of their top commanders, Mahmoud Titi. The NYT says that it’s “unlikely” that the brigades could have organized the bombing in the few hours between the attacks. The Palestinian Authority condemned the bombing.

The NYT says, “The young Palestinian bomber wore his hair in a short, punk-style, bleached cut, apparently to better blend in among the Israelis.”

The papers report that Israel’s governing coalition was left with two fewer parties yesterday as a result of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s feud with them over an economic austerity package. The parties’ departures mean that Sharon’s coalition is vulnerable to a no-confidence vote, which could trigger early elections.

The papers all report that India’s Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, visited Kashmir yesterday and told Indian soldiers there, “It is now time for a decisive fight.” The WSJ says that the saber-rattling was less a sign of an imminent attack than an attempt to scare Pakistan into making concessions and give Vajpayee a little street-cred with those who are pushing for war.

USAT fronts word that “the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines have concluded that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld must address concerns about an overtaxed military before they can plan action to oust Saddam Hussein.” The article, which relies on “senior uniformed officers,” says that the generals are fine with the idea of taking down Saddam, but simply don’t think they have the goods right now to mount a big invasion. A few weeks ago, the NYT made waves when it reported that the Bush administration was leaning towards a “big invasion” of Iraq.

Everybody goes high with word that a jury convicted Bobby Frank Cherry of the murders of four black girls in a notorious 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Ala. Cherry, who was sentenced to life in prison, was a member of the Klu Klux Klan and is believed to be the last living perpetrator of the crime.

The papers’ stock market wrap-ups all note that shares were lagging yesterday then turned higher on, as a wire story in the NYT put it, “rumors that Osama Bin Laden had been captured.” Where’d the rumors come from?

Glass half-empty … You know how you’re supposed to drink eight glasses of water per day? Forget about it. According to the WSJ’s “Personal Journal” section, “A growing number of health experts say the advice may not hold water.” Says one researcher who’s looked into it, “The idea is being promoted terrifically by the bottled-water industry, but I have found no scientific evidence that supports the claim.” The Journal says that after much research, nutritionists have devised a more scientific, carefully calibrated guideline: “Drink enough so you don’t get thirsty.”