Today's Papers

Walking the Edge

The Washington Post and the New York Timeslead with Shiite militiamen storming a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad Sunday, killing more than 50 people, according to Iraqi officials (but numbers differ—a U.S. military spokesman claimed that only 11 died). The attackers arrived by bus after dawn, some wearing all black and masks. A few hours later, in retaliation, two car bombs exploded outside a Shiite mosque, killing more than a dozen. The spate of Baghdad violence is also the Los Angeles Times’ top nonlocal story. USA Today leads with an overview of the laws passed by more than 30 states that make it harder for illegal immigrants to find jobs or receive public services. Many states have decided to fine companies that hire undocumented workers and also deny those businesses public contracts.

Reactions to Sunday’s wave of violence in Iraq were mixed. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki downplayed it, saying that the “situation in Baghdad is under control.” But Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said the country is “upon a dangerous edge.”

USAT fronts—and others go inside with—news that four more U.S. soldiers were charged with the rape and killing of an Iraqi girl and the murder of her family, the military announced Sunday. A fifth G.I. was charged with dereliction of duty for failing to report the event. Six soldiers have now been implicated in the March 12 crime.

Everybody mentions the Russian plane crash that killed at least 122 yesterday. After landing, the plane swerved off the runway, struck some buildings, and caught on fire. The failure of the plane’s hydraulic brake system is suspected as the cause of the accident.

The NYT reports that for the first time, India tested its longest-range nuclear-capable missile on Sunday. There was confusion over whether the test worked, however—the missile launched, but some accounts had the missile failing midflight. The missile has a range of more than 1,800 miles and could reach far beyond Pakistan.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet Sunday that the military will continue its campaign in the Gaza Strip until the captured Israeli soldier is released and the Palestinian rocket attacks cease. Ruling out negotiations with Hamas, Olmert said the Gaza operation is a “war for which it is impossible to set a timetable.”

Leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador continued his fight Sunday to challenge the Mexican presidential election results, having his lawyers hand in documented claims of irregularities that are alleged to have cost him victory. His senior aide spoke of an “insurrection” unless a full recount occurs—the most specific threat of civil unrest yet.

The gap is getting wider between the rich and the poor living in Washington, D.C., reports the Post. According to federal stats, wages for highly paid workers in the area are rising more than twice as fast as those for low-paid employees. 

Street battles erupted in Mogadishu Sunday, killing at least 20 and injuring many others, according to Reuters. Islamic gunmen attacked fighters loyal to defeated local warlords in a bid to completely control the Somali capital.

The papers front Italy’s victory over France in the World Cup, won with a 5-3 edge in penalty kicks after a 1-1 game.*

The Wall Street Journal runs a Page One story on the lack of disaster insurance available to those who want to protect themselves from hurricanes and other natural catastrophes. Demand is far greater than supply, and prices have grown astronomical. Wal-Mart, for example, is dropping its coverage for severe windstorms because the insurance has become too costly—they’d rather pay for damages out-of-pocket.

Tai Shan—aka Butterstick—celebrated his first birthday on Sunday. The National Zoo’s panda cub received presents, A1 coverage by the Post, and persistent attention from thousands of well-wishers who visited him on his special day.

Seeing double: Polish President Lech Kaczynski announced this weekend that today he’ll appoint his twin brother, Jaroslaw, as the new prime minister. Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, the previous prime minister and one of the most popular politicians in Poland, resigned without explanation a few days ago.

*Correction, June 10: This article originally and incorrectly stated that Italy beat France in the World Cup 5-3. Italy bested France 5-3 in penalty kicks after a 1-1 game.