The Washington Post leads with news that an Amtrak train derailed yesterday in Maryland. Six people were critically injured. Nobody was killed. Investigators suspect that the accident was caused by the hot weather, which might have caused the tracks to buckle. USA Today leads with word that the stock market was grooving yesterday. The Dow gained 447 points, its third-biggest point climb ever. The Nasdaq climbed 6 percent. The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with President Bush’s urging of Congress to pass his welfare bill, which would require recipients to work 40-hours per week. President Bush also “ridiculed” the Democrats-sponsored Senate welfare legislation, saying it would “spend a bunch more money in order to make us feel better.” The president opposes what he termed “loopholes” in the bill that would allow recipients to have some education classes and training counted toward the work requirements. The Los Angeles Times leads with word that top Democrats in the Senate have endorsed a compromise bill to provide some drug benefits under Medicare. The paper says that while Democrats have traditionally insisted that such benefits be universally available, the compromise requires recipients to undergo a means test to see if they qualify. The New York Times leads with news that former Justice Dept. honcho Joel Klein, who led the government’s case against Microsoft, was named yesterday as chancellor of New York City’s public schools.
USAT points out that if you just look at the past week, the stock market has been on a tear lately. Since last Tuesday the Dow is up 13 percent.
The NYT off-leads with a leakfrom a Senate committee investigating Enron. The paper says that in 1998 Merrill Lynch dumped one of its stock analysts after Enron execs complained that he hadn’t issued a buy rating for the company. At the time Merrill Lynch was angling to win investment banking contracts from Enron. It later received at least $45 million in business from Enron. Merrill Lynch denies that Enron’s complaints had anything to do with replacing the analyst.
Meanwhile, the papers all mention that congressional investigators are looking into whether Merrill Lynch helped Enron in various deals to hide debt and inflate its profits.
The NYT stuffs news that the U.N., in a “rare move,” is investigating the U.S.’s airstrike earlier this month in Afghanistan that killed about 50 civilians. The NYT says that the Times of London first broke the story. The NYT, citing the British paper, notes that the U.N. has already completed a preliminary report. According to the report, which was leaked to the Brit paper, American soldiers “cleaned the area” immediately after the bombing and removed “shrapnel, bullets and traces of blood.” A Pentagon spokesman said that the soldiers were simply gathering evidence for an investigation.
The WSJ notes that Afghan police say they intercepted a suicide bomber on his way to assassinate some of the country’s leaders. The police say they caught the guy after he got into a car accident and was found to be traveling with a large load of explosives
The WP fronts word that the Bush administration is planning on creating a permanent “Office of Global Communications,” which will serve as a centralized PR outfit to tweak the U.S.’s image abroad. The White House had created a temporary version of the office last fall.
USAT goes inside with word that Palestinian militant groups say they’re still considering declaring a unilateral ceasefire against Israeli civilians. The groups had reportedly been close to declaring a ceasefire last week, but they had called it off after an Israeli airstrike killed a top Hamas militant as well as 15 others.
Everybody notes that in the West Bank’s largest city, Nablus, residents for the second day in a row ignored the Israeli army’s curfew. Such curfews have kept 700,000 Palestinians throughout the territories confined to their homes for the past month. The Israeli army hasn’t intervened in Nablus. The NYT mentioned the curfew-breakers yesterday.
The NYT fronts a pretty speculative piece guessing that a U.S. invasion of Iraq might tank the U.S.’s economy. The Times says that’s because unlike in the last war with Iraq, the U.S.’s allies probably won’t shoulder the cost of Gulf War II. Plus, says the Times, oil prices could sky rocket.
The WP fronts word, which everybody else stuffs, that a judge dismissed all but misdemeanor charges against NBA star Allen Iverson. Prosecutors had argued that Iverson, in an attempt to find his wife whom he had kicked out of his house, burst into a cousin’s apartment and threatened those inside with a gun. Yesterday, one of the witnesses changed his testimony and among other things said he hadn’t seen a gun. “It sounds like you had a relative looking for a relative at the house of a relative,” said the judge.
A briefs omission … The WP runs the following correction:
An Associated Press item that appeared in the July 11 Crime & Justice column reported incorrectly that Marc Danselme had exposed himself while being searched at Miami International Airport. When security workers asked Danselme, a French national who lives in Washington, to remove his belt, he dropped his pants and was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct. The item implied that Danselme wore nothing under his pants. In fact, he was wearing underwear, a police spokesman said.