Today's Papers

Cease Today?

The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Washington Post lead with a joint U.S.-France U.N. Security Council resolution calling for Hezbollah to end its current assault and for Israel to stop “offensive military operations” in Lebanon.

The resolution, which will come to a vote by Tuesday, lays the foundation for an international peacekeeping force but does not demand an Israeli withdrawal from its current positions in southern Lebanon. The Lebanese government and Hezbollah protested the terms of the agreement while, according to Ha’aretz, the Israeli government compromised on the peacekeepers but was “quietly pleased” with the draft. (Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he still needed about 10 more days of airstrikes in order to finish the job.) French President Jacques Chirac played an active role in negotiating the final wording. According to the NYT, a follow-up resolution fleshing out a firmer, a more comprehensive cease-fire will be finalized over the next couple of weeks.

All the papers report continued Israeli airstrikes throughout Lebanon yesterday, and the WP reports that warning leaflets were distributed throughout the previously unbombed Lebanese city of Sidon.

A raid on a Hezbullah command center in Tyre, Lebanon, resulted in at least seven dead Hezbollah fighters and eight wounded Israeli commandos. An NYT dispatch from Tyre looks at Hezbollah’s shadowy power and widespread support; not only do its fighters mix easily with civilians, but its charity workers—who provide health insurance and food to the poor—are also discreet and secretive in their actions. The LAT looks at the clash from the Israeli army’s front lines, where Hezbollah is still fighting harder than expected.

Early wire reports indicate that at least 11 soldiers in northern Israel were killed by a “massive” Hezbollah rocket attack. *

A must-read NYT article examines the looming influence of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon—he didn’t go after Hezbollah because he didn’t want to revisit memories of his failed 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and, unlike his successor and current prime minister Ehud Olmert, he never needed a show of force to elicit trust from Israelis and fear from his enemies.

The NYT fronts a dispatch from Baghdad—where the U.S. is doubling its troop presence—warning that, despite a solid performance by the Iraqi army, violence is skyrocketing and civil war seems imminent. The WP stuffs similar news from Baquba.

In Mexico, an electoral tribunal rejected presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s request for a full recount of the July 2 election, which he lost narrowly to conservative candidate Jose Calderón . The tribunal instead ordered a partial recount at about 12,000 of the 130,000 polling stations nationwide. Obrador lambasted the decision and his followers took to the streets of Mexico City. He counseled against violence, but no one knows what his next move will be.

According to his vice president, Fidel Castro is recovering nicely from recent surgery. Castro, 79, had ceded power to his brother Raul while receiving treatment for internal bleeding.

The WP and the LAT both front Tuesday’s senatorial primary in Connecticut between Democrats Ned Lamont and Joe Lieberman. The WP article—the better of the two—speculates that a Lamont victory would not only embolden critics of the Iraq war but also reignite the Gore-for-president meme.

A long LAT investigative piece unearths 9,000 pages of recently declassified U.S. Army files—9,000 pages—detailing the failure to punish war crimes committed soldiers in Vietnam. While 203 soldiers were accused, about a quarter were court-martialed. Referring to Iraq, a retired brigadier general partially responsible for the declassification said, “We can’t change current practices unless we acknowledge the past.”

The NYT and WP front that Floyd Landis may not be the Tour de France champion for much longer. The director of the Tour de France officially announced yesterday that Landis failed a drug test during the race, which he eventually won. At a news conference, the runner-up celebrated, “I feel 99 percent champion.”

Soft-Porn Kings Gone Wild: In an LAT magazine-profile-turned-gonzo-exposé, reporter Claire Hoffman travels along with Girls Gone Wild founder and accused date rapist Joe Francis. After attacking Hoffman in front of a Chicago night club,Francis redeems himself with a heart-rending display of grace and sensitivity:

“‘I’m sorry,’ he said, reaching over to tousle my hair. ‘We love our little reporter. Don’t we guys? We love our little reporter.’

“I stared down at the dirt as he whispered in my ear, ‘I’m sorry, baby, give me a kiss. Give me a kiss.’”

Correction, August 7, 2006: This article originally and incorrectly stated that 11 civilians were killed by a rocket attack in northern Israel. (Return  to the corrected sentence.)