The Washington Post leads with a report that states are altering the rules of Medicaid, adding more conditions to benefits in an attempt to get recipients to be more personally invested in their care. The changes are similar to those made a decade ago to the welfare system. States gained more control over Medicaid thanks to a federal law passed last December, and the report notes that the federal government is encouraging states to make the reforms and is quickly approving them.
The top story in the New York Times is a military official saying the three prisoners who hanged themselves at Guantanamo were able to do so by hiding from guards, who are supposed to check in on the detainees every two minutes. The Los Angeles Times also fronts the story and the other papers stuff it. The three were identified as two Saudis and a Yemeni, and it is not yet clear whether the bodies will be buried at Guantanamo or in the men’s home countries. The NYT observes that if the latter is the case, the funerals could be focal points of anti-American demonstrations.
The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with a wrap-up of Iraq, where nearly 40 people died in insurgent violence and the U.S. and Iraqi government released more than 200 prisoners. The top U.S. military commander in Iraq said on the Sunday talk shows that the U.S. could reduce its troop levels in Iraq this year, but he didn’t say by how much.
USA Today leads with a look at governors’ races nationwide that finds that Democrats are slipping. Races in California, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are getting tougher for the Democrats, while New York is looking better for them, the paper says.
The NYT fronts an interview with a key leader of the janjaweed militia in Darfur, although he denied being such. Despite being backed by the government, he said he feels more allegiance to Darfur than to Khartoum. Analysts quoted at the end of the piece note that this disconnect is going to make it hard to implement a key part of the peace agreement: the government’s disarming of the janjaweed.
A secular warlord in Somalia is vowing to fight on after Islamist rivals took control of Mogadishu. This is just after the new leaders broke up viewings of the World Cup.
Wal-Mart is dabbling in the fair-trade coffee business, the Post reports on the front page. The move is part of its larger push toward organic food, attention to the environment, and other business practices not usually associated with the mega-retailer.
The Post fronts a lengthy dispatch from Lebanon, where the war in Iraq has increasingly radicalized the population. The report features interviews with several returned Islamist fighters from Iraq.
Anti-American protests in Ukraine have forced U.S. soldiers to leave the country ahead of a multinational military exercise there, according to a wire story in the Post. The fate of the exercise is now in question.
Most of the papers stuff wire reports about Iran’s public negotiating over Western attempts to get Tehran to drop its nuclear weapons program. The NYT seems to be the only paper using a staff reporter for the story, and it also goes the furthest in interpreting the Iranians’ ambiguous remarks as an attempt to achieve “negotiations over its nuclear program without first freezing its efforts to make nuclear fuel.” The LAT reports that conservatives are worried that engaging Iran over the nuclear issue is a sign that the Bush administration is going wobbly in its foreign policy.
The first major legal challenge to the National Security Agency’s domestic wiretap program begins today at a U.S. District Court in Detroit, the LAT reports.
The bottom lines of local television stations are suffering, the Journal reports on its front page. Media consumers are less attracted to Will & Grace reruns and news stories about firefighters rescuing cats when they have the Internet and cable TV as options, too. “[Local stations] have to dramatically reinvent themselves and many don’t know how,” says one analyst.
The National Hurricane Center has a new tool that will make hurricane forecasts more accurate, its scientists say in the WP. And just in time: The first named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Alberto, has formed over the Gulf of Mexico, USA Today reports on the front page and the other papers stuff. Cuba and the Florida Keys are in line for some heavy rain. “We do not have any significant changes. … The system remains poorly organized,” says one expert quoted by the AP. The reader can be forgiven for thinking that the expert is referring to the nation’s disaster-management system, but he’s apparently talking about the storm itself.