Today's Papers

Exporting Terror

The New York Times leads with a look at how militants in Iraq have begun taking their tactics and fighters into other countries in the region and around the world. Although the big worry used to be about how foreign fighters were entering Iraq, officials are now increasingly concerned about militants using Iraq as a base to carry out attacks and operations. The Washington Postleads with word that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services rejected a proposal that could have saved them money and significantly cut down wait time for green card applicants. The plan’s proponent says it was turned down because it would have reduced the amount of money the agency receives from fees that are essential to its budget. Although officials dispute that assertion, many see it as a sign that Congress needs to provide stronger oversight and change the way the agency funds its operations.

The Los Angeles Timesleads with word that a large private physician practice in California began posting a price list for some medical services on its Web site. HealthCare Partners Medical Group is one of the first, and probably the largest, physician practice to post prices online, and some think it could mark the beginning of a trend that would make it easier for patients to comparison shop for medical care.

The NYT makes clear up high that it’s difficult to quantify how many Iraqi fighters are leaving the country to carry out operations elsewhere, but “early signs of an exodus are clear.” Besides actual fighters, there is also growing concern that tactics being used in Iraq are cropping up in other countries, which suggests that militants are learning from their mistakes and encouraging those who want to join the fight to pick up on their knowledge in other parts of the world. Notably, the Times doesn’t just get its information from officials, as the reporters also take a close look at a plot to carry out a suicide bombing in an airport in Jordan that was broken up. The investigation into the plot revealed a “connection between the people who planned the attack and militants in Iraq,” says the NYT.

If Congress passes the new immigration reform bill, the Citizenship and Immigration Services would get a lot more work, not to mention a nice chunk of money that many say it wouldn’t be able to handle properly. In a trend that began with the 1986 immigration reform, fees that immigrants have to pay now fund 90 percent of the agency’s budget. But critics say the agency is so inefficient that, as fees increased, the service provided by the agency continued to deteriorate.

The LAT fronts, and the other papers go inside with, news that the U.S. military raided an al-Qaida hideout in Iraq’s Diyala Province and freed at least 41 prisoners. The prisoners, who were mostly middle-aged men (although one said he was 14), were being held in squalid conditions and appeared to have been tortured. Meanwhile, the U.S. military announced two more American soldiers were killed Saturday. 

The NYT talks to “more than a dozen” Delta Company soldiers in Iraq and fronts word that most of them are disheartened by their mission, and many feel they’re stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of violence that they’re powerless to end. Members of the unit say they became particularly disillusioned when they realized members of the Iraqi army that the U.S. military had trained were attacking them.

The NYT’sDavid Carr takes a look at restrictions the military has been instituting on the ever-decreasing number of journalists in Iraq, which many see as an attempt to control the information that the public gets to see about the war. Carr cites a policy that has been in place since last year that requires journalists to get signed consent of any wounded soldier before they can publish an identifiable image. “They are not letting us cover the reality of war,” complains a freelance photographer. James Glanz, who will become the NYT’s bureau chief, says that as the number of reporters in Iraq dwindles, the U.S. military is seeing journalists as more of a problem, “because we are the only people preventing them from telling the story the way they want it told.”

The NYT reefers, and the LAT goes inside with, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warning that strikes against Hamas targets will continue after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip killed an Israeli man. “No one involved in terror is immune,” Olmert said. On Saturday, Israeli airstrikes killed five Hamas members.

The LAT fronts a look at the new $27 million Billy Graham museum in North Carolina that will open to the public in June. Although the museum designed to honor the evangelist’s life is largely devoted to the Gospel, some are concerned that parts of it may be a tad too “Disney.” An example of this is the “uncannily lifelike cow” visitors will encounter in the museum’s lobby as part of the display on Graham’s childhood. In a southern accent, Bessie the cow tells of how Graham practiced preaching as he milked her. Bessie then encourages children to go on a scavenger hunt throughout the museum: “Get moooving!”

The NYT reports that fans of the CBS series Jericho were so upset when the network decided to cancel the show that they decided to express their feelings by sending bags of nuts to network executives. Besides telling the executives what they thought of their decision, the nuts were also meant to reference a line in the show. But things started growing when fans discovered that they could order nuts online, and sensing a business opportunity, the head of the nuts company allowed people to pool their money. By this past weekend, CBS had received almost 10 tons of nuts, which a spokesman said will be donated.