The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal’s world-wide newsbox lead with the latest from Pakistan, where thousands of lawyers protested the imposition of emergency rule by President Pervez Musharraf. Hundreds of lawyers, along with political opponents and human rights activists were beaten and hauled away by police officers. Since Saturday, approximately 2,000 people have been arrested, although many say the real number is much larger.
USA Todayleads with news that the average price of gasoline has surpassed the $3 mark for the first time since mid-July. Although it hasn’t happened yet, there’s growing concern that gasoline prices could affect the rest of the economy, particulary the upcoming holiday shopping season. The Los Angeles Timesleads with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordering all state agencies to create a plan to cut budgets by 10 percent in order to make up for a growing deficit that could be as much as $10 billion. The increasing deficit is largely caused by problems in the housing market, but analysts also say the state failed to save when the economy was doing better.
The largest protest took place in the city of Lahore, where approximately 2,000 suit-wearing lawyers gathered at the provincial high court and were met with batons and tear gas. The LAT notes that Musharraf had said emergency rule was necessary to fight against Islamic militants but yesterday pointed the finger at the judiciary, saying that the courts had “paralyzed various organs of the state and created impediments in the fight against terrorism.” The NYT points out that in order to impose a state of emergency, Musharraf has had to divert resources from fighting militants.
The government sealed off the Supreme Court to prevent protests while the chief justice remained in what effectively appears to be house arrest. Lawyers have been a particular thorn in Musharraf’s side since earlier this year when they took to the streets to protest the firing of the chief justice, but other political opponents were also arrested yesterday. (Slate’s “Explainer” looked into why lawyers are leading the opposition rallies.) Although some question how long lawyers can keep protesting if the arrests continue, the rallies could gain momentum if the opposition political parties decide to join them in large numbers. Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said she would lead a protest rally Friday.
Meanwhile, all’s pretty quiet on the U.S. front. President Bush urged Musharraf to hold elections and resign from his post as head of the army but still managed to praise the Pakistani president for being “a strong fighter against extremists.” Annual defense talks with Pakistan due to start today have been postponed, but there’s no sign the administration is eager to stop the flow of aid to the country, which has received more than $10 billion in U.S. assistance since 2001. The Post’s Dana Milbank says the administration’s condemnation of Musharraf’s actions “didn’t even rise to a diplomatic slap on the wrist.”
The WP off-leads a look at how all the top Democratic candidates are proposing to fight global warming with plans that would cost billions of dollars. It’s a popular campaign issue, especially among Democrats, but it “could carry a political price” because it would be easy for the Republican candidate to get on the offensive about how much the plan would cost. At the same time, a Republican could also risk alienating voters if he comes across as being anti-environment or denies that global warming is a problem.
Meanwhile, the LAT fronts a look at how the downturn in the housing market could cause problems for Republicans. It’s all anecdotal, but the paper says there’s a sense that people in “high-growth exurban areas” who were once reliably Republican are changing their allegiance as they see a growing number of foreclosures and sales in their neighborhoods.
And while discussing issues of the campaign, everyone reports that Rep. Ron Paul raised more than $4 million in one day, mostly thanks to an Internet fund-raising effort tied to Guy Fawkes Day. The Texas congressman now holds the single-day fund-raising record of the Republican presidential contenders.
Everyone mentions a new Red Crescent Society report that says the number of displaced Iraqis continues to increase even as violence decreases and now totals 2.3 million. The vast majority of those displaced have been women and children.
USAT goes inside with a new poll that shows Americans are pretty evenly split among those who think military action should be taken against Iran, either now or if diplomacy fails, and those who don’t want to even consider the option. Also, Bush reached a new low point because “for the first time in the history of the Gallup poll,” 50 percent of people said they “strongly disapprove” of the president.
The LAT, WP, and USAT front the first day of the Hollywood writers’ strike that included picket lines in Los Angeles and New York. As predicted, late-night talk shows were the first casualties, and Saturday Night Live will also air a repeat episode this weekend. Several sitcoms that are taped in front of a studio audience also stopped filming, and the networks announced that several new shows will delay their debuts. Curious about how the fight, which has mainly become over how much money writers get for Internet downloads, affects your favorite show? The LAT publishes a handy list. The LAT also has a good story inside that answers the how-did-we-get-here question and notes that a strike call went out to East Coast writers while negotiations were still going on in West Hollywood. Many are now predicting it will be a “long and costly strike” because there are no signs that negotiations will continue any time soon.
Sen. Charles Schumer writes an op-ed in the NYT where he explains why he will be casting a vote in favor of attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey today. Schumer says Bush won’t hesitate to bypass Congress and appoint an acting attorney general if his pick is rejected and insists senators should give Mukasey a chance to “remove the stench of politics from the Justice Department.”
The WSJ’s editorial board says it’s an “ominous sign” that Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen is now insisting she be paid in Euros instead of U.S. dollars. But things could be worse. At least she “hasn’t yet declared that she prefers the Canadian loonie, which would really be humiliating. That’s like being dumped by your date for the PC geek in those Apple Macintosh ads.”