Today's Papers

Primary Signs

The New York Timesleads with four gunmen attacking the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria. Three of the attackers and one Syrian security official were killed. The Washington Post leads with preliminary results from yesterday’s primary elections in Maryland, where problems at the polls have delayed results. Its top nonlocal story goes to the primary in Rhode Island, where moderate Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee defeated a more conservative challenger.

The Los Angeles Times leads with California Attorney General Bill Lockyear announcing he has “enough evidence to indict” people inside Hewlett-Packard and outside contractors as a result of the spying into phone records of company board members and journalists. USA Todayleads with the increasing trend of states instituting a higher minimum wage than the federally mandated $5.15 an hour. In the upcoming elections, six states will decide whether to increase the minimum wage, which could lead to employers in a majority of states paying more than what is required by federal law. The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with a war on terror catchall that includes the news from Syria and mentions President Bush denied he tried to politicize Sept. 11 by talking about Iraq during his prime-time address.

The gunmen shot automatic weapons and threw grenades while trying to storm the U.S. Embassy in Damascus. Syrian security was able to push back the attackers, killing three and wounding the fourth gunman, who is currently being held for questioning. The Syrian government said the gunmen could be linked to a group called Jund al-Sham, but U.S. intelligence officials said it is still too early to know who was behind the attack. “The Syrians reacted to this attack in a way that helped to secure our people, and we very much appreciate that,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said. The LAT fronts the attack, while the other papers choose to reefer the news.

The closely watched Republican primary in Rhode Island is seen as a setback for the Democrats because most believe Sen. Chafee’s conservative opponent could have been easily defeated in the election. This is why, even though Sen. Chafee has often clashed with the White House and voted against his party in Congress, the Republican Party put a lot of money and logistical support behind his campaign.

In other primary news, the NYT fronts (and leads its local edition) with results from New York’s election, where Eliot Spitzer became the Democratic nominee for governor and Sen. Hillary Clinton easily won nomination for a second term.

Patricia C. Dunn, HP’s chairwoman, announced she will resign the leadership position but will stay on the board. The director who leaked the information to reporters will leave the company. HP CEO Mark Hurd will replace Dunn, which, as the LAT and WSJ note, goes against a growing belief that the CEO should not be in charge of the board.

USAT talked to Pfc. Justin Watt, the 23-year-old soldier who came forward and told authorities he had heard that U.S. service members raped a 14-year-old girl and then proceeded to kill her and her family in Mahmoudiya, Iraq. The soldiers are now facing a military court. The Page One story does not give any new details about the case itself, but it does provide an interesting look at the difficult decision he faced when he contemplated whether to say anything, and the personal consequences of his actions.

The WP goes inside with the speaker of the Iraqi parliament telling the paper in an interview that the plan to divide up Iraq into three regions will probably be postponed indefinitely after political leaders meet today.

The NYT fronts a look at the growing threat of diabetes in India. Although diabetes was usually thought of as a problem for rich countries, more developing countries are seeing an increase of the disease in certain segments of the population.  “Diabetes unfortunately is the price you pay for progress,” a doctor tells the Times.

The LAT says on Page One that one of the biggest problems facing scientists who are trying to do work with stem cells is a lack of human eggs. Even though women are routinely paid to donate their eggs to fertility clinics, ethical guidelines currently forbid stem-cell researchers from making the same payments. Some U.S. states, the European Union, Canada, and South Korea have passed laws that prohibit these payments. 

The WP fronts the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation announcing they will join forces to increase agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa. The two foundations will initially allocate $150 million to the project, which they hope could lead to a sustainable increase in Africa’s food supply.

An Israeli military court ordered the release of 18 Palestinian politicians who are members of Hamas, the papers mention. A day after Palestinians announced they plan to create a new unity government, the LAT quotes U.S. officials who say this might not be enough to resume aid. 

USAT fronts a look at data that shows security lines at most U.S. airports returned to normal levels less than a week after new rules regarding carry-on luggage were instituted. Possible reasons for this could include that more passengers are checking luggage, thus reducing the amount of work for the screeners, combined with the fact that late August and September are traditionally low air-travel months. But a WP Page One story, which doesn’t mention the data about waiting periods, suggests that maybe screeners aren’t spending a lot of time checking the luggage, as passengers often get away with ignoring the rules. The Post talked to “several dozen” travelers who revealed they took banned substances onto planes (sometimes on purpose, sometimes by mistake) and were not stopped by security.

Last week, TP mentioned an LAT story that looked into the growing mystery of Lonelygirl15, the star whose authenticity was in doubt. Today, the NYT reefers news that she is definitely a fake. Lonelygirl15 is Jessica Rose, a graduate of the New York Film Academy, and, as was speculated, it all appears to be a promotion for a movie. The 18-year-old son of a blogger uncovered the truth.