The New York Timesand the Washington Postlead, and the Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox, with a report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency that says Iran has hidden information from inspectors and has continued to pursue uranium enrichment. The IAEA confirmed Iran has been enriching uranium but says the lack of information makes it impossible to assess its scope and the extent to which the country’s military is involved in the program. The Los Angeles Timesleads locally with a poll on the Democratic primary for governor that shows a large percentage of people are undecided, but goes high with the Iran story.
Everybody points out that the latest report means the U.N. Security Council will be the setting for the next diplomatic wrangling as the permanent members decide what action should be taken. American and European officials want to pass a legally binding resolution demanding that Iran stop its nuclear enrichment program while China and Russia want less extreme measures. In order to consolidate the two views, it’s possible the resolution that will be introduced will not threaten sanctions against Iran if it fails to comply. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wasted no time and said at a rally that “those who want to prevent Iranians from obtaining their right should know that we do not give a damn about such resolutions.”
The WP fronts the latest annual State Department Country Reports on Terrorism that reveals the number of terrorist attacks increased four times in 2005 to a total of 11,111, which resulted in the death of 14,600 noncombatants. The NYT focuses on what it says about Iraq, where major terrorist attacks, and their casualties, doubled from last year and killed 8,300 people. The report also states that foreign fighters in Iraq account for only four to 10 percent of the total insurgents in the country. An assessment inside the document paints a not-so-positive picture of how the war on terror is going, saying the United States is still in the “first phase of a potentially long war.” According to the report, smaller terrorist cells that act autonomously are becoming more active. It goes on to say that even though al-Qaida is not the same organization it used to be, “the enemy’s proven ability to adapt means we will probably go through several more cycles of action/reaction before the war’s outcome is no longer in doubt.”
The WSJ goes high with, while the NYT and LAT point out, that with the death of a U.S. soldier on Friday, 69 U.S. troops have died in Iraq so far in April, which makes it the highest death toll in five months. It is more than double the number of U.S. casualties in March. The papers note that U.S. forces killed Hamadi al-Takhi al-Nissani, a local leader of al-Qaida in the city of Samarra whom they had been tracking for some time.
The WP fronts a good dispatch from Hawijah, Iraq, illustrating the distrust that exists between U.S. and Iraqi forces. Even though the two are supposed to be working as a team, there is evidence to suggest some Iraqi soldiers cooperate with insurgents, leaving U.S. troops unsure of whom exactly they can trust.
The NYT fronts, while the WP and the LAT go inside with, President Bush declaring at a news conference that the national anthem should be sung in English, saying the new Spanish version, called “Nuestro Himno,” does not have the same value. He also said that those who want to be citizens “ought to learn English.” (You can download a copy of “Nuestro Himno” here.)
During the same news conference, President Bush urged people not to support the boycotts of work and school scheduled for Monday. The LAT reports in a Page One story that the scheduled boycott is causing divisions in certain communities, even among those who support immigration rights, as some say the tactic could backfire. A WSJ piece analyzes the boycott and says that immigrants might find that what helps them in the short-term will hurt in the long run. If the activists manage to “shut down” several cities as they hope, it could make it harder for those in power to support a guest-worker program.
The NYT reefers word that the World Food Program said it will have to cut in half the amount of food aid it gives out to the victims of the violence in Darfur, Sudan. The program says it has only received one-third of the aid it requested from donor nations. According to Bush administration officials, the United States provides 85 percent of the food aid for Darfur. On Friday, five members of Congress were among the 11 arrested for protesting outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington. The protests were meant to call attention to Sunday’s deadline for the Sudanese government and rebels to find a solution to the conflict. On that day, there will also be rallies across the United States to demand action in Darfur.
The NYT reefers, and the LAT goes inside with, the Mexican Congress passing a new law that decriminalizes the possession of small quantities of certain drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and heroin, among others. President Vicente Fox said he would sign it, while U.S. Embassy officials expressed their disapproval.
The NYT fronts a picture of Nepal’s parliament reconvening for the first time in four years.
All the papers note that conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh surrendered to authorities in Florida where he was charged with committing fraud to obtain prescription drugs from several doctors. He was released after an hour on $3,000 bail. As part of the settlement reached between Limbaugh’s lawyer and prosecutors, the charges will be dropped after 18 months if the radio host continues with treatment for drug addiction. The agreement does not mean that Limbaugh admits his guilt in the fraud and in a statement his lawyer emphasized that “there was no doctor-shopping.”