Today's Papers

L.A. Law & Disorder

The Washington Post leads with the Bush administration putting pressure on Europe and Japan to impose economic sanctions on Iran. The proposed sanctions, developed by a Treasury Department task force reporting directly to Condoleezza Rice, are more far-reaching than any measures taken by the White House to date. The plan would restrict the Iranian government’s access to global markets, shut its foreign accounts, and freeze assets held in Europe and Asia. The New York Timesleads with the Pentagon leaning on Congress to OK the making of a new, speedy, non-nuclear weapon. The weapon could carry out missile strikes against targets thousands of miles away within an hour; some lawmakers are worried that its development could increase the possibility of accidental nuclear confrontation. The Los Angeles Times leads with revelations that the selective release of criminals to ease overcrowding in L.A. county jails has led to some prisoners serving more time than others convicted of the same crime; critics charge the policy is discriminatory and illegal.

U.S. allies have been reluctant to agree to the sanctions because of the costs they’d have to bear. The plan—which the Post learned about through internal government memos and interviews with U.S. officials—does not include oil or trade embargoes, but it could shake up the oil market anyway.

The NYT fronts new accounts by Iraqis who say they survived the mass killings of civilians by Marines in Haditha last November. The NYT can’t independently corroborate the stories, and confusingly, “it was unclear in some cases whether they actually saw the killings.” But the details provided by some in the article are horrific, and one Haditha man said that relatives of some of those killed had accepted compensation payouts from American officials for as much as $2,500 per victim. To get the story, the paper recruited “an Iraqi writer and historian” to interview the survivors, but the writer/historian is remaining anonymous for protection.

The LAT fronts recollections of those killings by a young Marine whose fellow soldiers have been accused of carrying out the massacre. Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones—the first of his unit to speak publicly about the incident—is not part of the small group that military investigators have accused of committing the killings. He was part of the “cleanup crew” sent to carry out the bodies of victims, and he took photos of the dead that he gave to the Haditha Marine command center. 

Meanwhile, Rep. John P. Murtha charged on Sunday that Marine officials acted improperly. “There has to have been a coverup of this thing,” he said on ABC’s This Week.

The LAT fronts—and the others tease—the pope’s somber visit to Auschwitz. Later, at a memorial ceremony at Birkenau, the one-time member of the Hitler Youth said, “In a place like this, words fail.”

Violence erupted on the Israeli-Lebanese border Sunday, leaving two militants dead in Lebanon and several people wounded on both sides. The skirmish started when a militant group in Lebanon fired rockets into northern Israel; in response, Israeli fighter jets then struck two locations in Lebanon used by a radical Palestinian group. Fighting then broke out on the border, but a peacekeeping force brokered a cease-fire that went into effect Sunday evening. The NYT and WP file from Jerusalem, while the LAT runs an AP report from Beirut.

The Post stuffs reports from the British Sunday Telegraph that Tony Blair’s speech at Georgetown University Friday was tailored to bow to White House pressure on global warming and Iran.   

Everybody mentions the historical victory Sunday by Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, the first president to win re-election in that country since 1892.

Supplies are slow to reach Indonesia where the death toll from Saturday’s earthquake rose to (at least) 4,300. An estimated 200,000 are homeless.

The papers mark Memorial Day on their editorial pages, with the LAT running excerpts of letters from American soldiers over 160 years. Also, the LAT editorial board says it’s time for President Bush to talk about leaving Iraq.

The NYT muses over the peculiar pattern of large, unlikely animals wandering into the neighborhoods in and around New York lately: a black bear; seals; a dolphin—even a moose. The paper has lots of useful tips for New Yorkers hoping to avoid this brand of wildlife: keep meat scraps from compost piles and “provide secure outdoor shelters for poultry” (a tip for all of those urban chicken farmers?). But by far the best advice comes from the state’s “official moose expert,” a biologist whose blunt suggestion on handling moose encounters is simple: “Enjoy it. Because it’s probably going to get hit by a car in the very near future.”