The New York Times leads with word that some European governments would be willing to allow the United States to choose the next president of the World Bank, but only if Paul Wolfowitz resigns soon. European governments had previously expressed an interest in ending the long-held tradition that the United States picks the head of the bank, but they said that goal could wait if it would mean putting an end to the scandal that has engulfed the World Bank in recent weeks. The Washington Postleads with a look at how September is shaping up to be a critical month for the Iraq war, as congressional leaders of both parties are pushing it as a deadline for evidence that the new efforts are showing results.
The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with a report by Save the Children that puts Iraq in the lowest spot of a child-survival ranking. In 2005, one in eight Iraqi children died before age 5 of disease or violence, which marks a 150 percent increase since 1990. USA Todayleads with the Air Force’s top combat commander expressing concern that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a potentially dangerous toll on their planes. The commander says that besides being older than ever, the fleet of warplanes is also wearing out quickly. The Los Angeles Timesleads with news that two high-ranking Los Angeles Police Department commanders were reassigned as a result of the violence that took place at an immigration rally last week when police clashed with protesters.
Wolfowitz’s troubles continued to grow this week as a special committee of the World Bank’s governing board concluded that he broke conflict-of-interest rules when he arranged a pay raise and promotion for his companion, Shaha Ali Riza. The NYT and WP quote Wolfowitz’s lawyer complaining that the bank gave him only 48 hours to respond before a board vote on his future later this week. The LAT off-leads the report and says the short time given for a response to the 300-page report seems to be an attempt to get Wolfowitz to resign quickly. Although the committee concluded that Wolfowitz got too involved in arranging the raise-and-promotion package for Riza, it also laid some blame on ethics officials for failing to give clear instructions. Signaling further trouble for Wolfowitz, one of his senior advisers resigned yesterday. And as a law professor tells the LAT: “Isn’t that the pattern in Washington: that the subordinates go first … clearing the way for the principal?” The WP reports there’s worry that the scandal could lead to some countries holding off on their financial contributions to the bank.
If the WP’s lead story sounds familiar, it’s probably because the LAT had a similar look at the importance of September last week. But now the Post reports (and the NYT mentions inside) the next showdown might come even earlier, as House Democrats are “preparing to up the ante” by demanding evidence of progress by the end of July. The new war-spending bill, which could come to a vote this week, would fund the war until the end of September but more than half of the funds would not be released until after Bush issues a progress report in July.
The WP’soff-lead takes a look at how the small outposts in Iraq that were set up as part of the new security plan are becoming increasingly fortified. Although the plan was meant to get American and Iraqi troops out of large bases and closer to regular civilians, the U.S. military is finding that more barriers are needed for protection. The story is also a good look into the harsh living conditions that U.S. soldiers have to endure in these outposts.
Everyone goes above the fold with a picture of Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to the White House, where she was treated to the Bush administration’s first white-tie state dinner. All the papers note the president had an early gaffe when he welcomed the queen and almost suggested she had been present at the American independence in 1776. “You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17 … ” but quickly corrected himself, “in 1976.” The audience laughed, the queen and Bush looked at each other, and the president turned to the crowd and said, “She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child.”
USAT and the WP front astronomers reporting the brightest star explosion on record in a galaxy that is 240 million light-years away. Scientists say it’s already changing their understanding of how these large stars explode and gives them new hints of how a closer unstable star might explode. No one knows when that will happen, but when it does, “it could be the best star show in the history of modern civilization,” an expert said.
The LAT catches word that archeologists say they have found the tomb of Herod the Great, who became the Roman client-king of Judea on 74 B.C. The official announcement was set for today, but the newspaper Haaretz wrote about the discovery yesterday.
The LAT’s metro section takes a look at how Paris Hilton will have to live a “simple life” when she gets issued an orange jumpsuit and starts serving her 45-day sentence next month. In a separate story, the paper looks into the judge who sentenced her, who said he’s “amazed about the amount of talk about this case.” Regardless of his intent to try to keep a low profile, some are already viewing him as a sort of hero. A reader wrote to the LATsaying she wants to thank him and the prosecution “for relieving us, for 45 days, of the ubiquitous tedium that is Paris Hilton.”