Today's Papers

Extremism Measures

The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times lead with Tony Blair’s call to Parliament for new laws to crack down on the Muslim “fanatical fringe.” His 12-point plan is highlighted by new police powers to deport clerics and shutter places of worship that express support for terrorism. Blair wants to extend the time that terrorism suspects can be held without charges and to review Britain’s citizenship requirements. Britain would also be able to deport suspects to countries with the death penalty. The NYT reports that France and Spain are pleased, as the proposed laws are more like their own and would end Britain’s status as Europe’s haven for extremism. Some measures will be implemented immediately; others will go before Parliament next month. (The papers aren’t clear about which policies would be immediate.)

The most controversial part of Blair’s plan would ban extremist speech that urges or cheers terrorism. He’s already proposed to ban two specific groups, one of which praised September 11, according to the NYT. Minority-party politicians fear that their more extreme colleagues (George Galloway?) could be targeted. Expecting a fight, Blair says he will try to change the country’s human-rights laws if courts don’t back him, reports the LAT. While Britain has been proud of its “multiculturalism,” as the papers put it, Blair feels that after July 7 “the mood now is different” and that voters will support the speech restrictions. Conservatives, reports the WP, are generally pleased. Muslim groups are outraged, arguing that the crackdown will only further alienate Muslims from British society. The WP says that Blair plans to start a commission of Muslim leaders to discuss social integration.

American troops are fighting back in Iraq’s Anbar region, where 22 Marines were killed earlier this week. The NYT’s front-pager paints the operation as a sign of American anxiety about insurgents in northwestern Iraq. Eight hundred U.S. troops and 200 Iraqi troops have simultaneously engaged battles in three towns. The WP, on A14, reports that disaster was averted when attacking Marines discovered two buildings lined with explosives. The LATfronts an investigation of soldiers who charged “rent” to Green Zone businesses.

The United States tells Iran to take the Europeans’ offer of political and economic ties in exchange for ditching the nukes, the papers report inside. Citing anonymous senior-administration officials, the  LAT on A12 says the United States doesn’t like everything about the European proposal—specifically, that America refuses to waive the right to penalize European businesses that sell nuclear technology to Iran—but will still push Iran to accept. That said, Iran probably won’t, as it feels that the security and energy-supply guarantees aren’t strong enough.

The race to save a Russian submarine crew trapped in the Bering Sea gets fronted inthe LAT. The Russian navy—with still-fresh memories of the 2000 Kursk tragedy—is frantically trying to cut the vessel free of its anchors. International help is on the way, but the crew’s oxygen might run out as soon as Sunday. The WP puts the story on A10 and reports that Russia’s navy is confident it won’t need the help.

The NYT fronts upbeat economic news, citing more than 200,000 new hires in July and widespread confidence that GDP growth will accelerate. Unemployment held steady—that means more workers are entering the labor force. Stock markets were down, however, as the Fed is expected to continue raising interest rates to prevent inflation.

The WP fronts the FCC’s decision that telephone companies don’t have to offer their phone lines for lease to Internet providers. The FCC’s chairman says that’s the way it is in cable television, so it’s fair. The decision is a big victory for phone companies and could doom third-party providers like AOL and Earthlink, which don’t have their own line networks. Critics say the lack of competition will raise access prices.

An age-old question … The Justice Department won’t hand all of its John Roberts materials over to Senate Democrats, the papers report. What’s the secret? One memo written by Roberts in 1983 argues against lifetime judiciary appointments, like the ones on the Supreme Court, reports the WP. The Harvard-educated lawyer wrote that lifetime tenure promotes ” ‘ivory tower’ elitism” and was adopted “at a time when people simply did not live as long as they do now.”