Blast Rites

Blast Rites

Blast Rites

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Aug. 10 1998 7:19 AM

Blast Rites

The African embassy bombings lead all papers and dominate all fronts. (For the second day in a row, Monica goes down in the papers--completely off everybody's fronts.) The respective lead headlines focus on various strands of the story (USA Today: "U.S. Vows Bombers Will Pay," Los Angeles Times: "U.S. Teams Arrive in Nairobi: Blast Victims Mourned," New York Times: "Experts Starting Search for Clues in Kenya Bombing") but for the most part everybody gets around to everything. One exception is the Washington Post lead, which exclusively brings these details: the likely Nairobi bomb vehicle was turned away from the front gate of the embassy and sent around to the rear, where a grenade attack killed some guards before the bomb went off. The WP and NYT both report that the Tanzania bomb appears to have been on an embassy-owned water truck.

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The papers mention that a security camera at the Tanzania embassy might have been pointing right at the bomb site by the building's front gate, but all but USAT also mention that it is not known if the camera was recording to video or just monitoring.

USAT runs an excellent news section "cover story" on the beginnings of the bombing investigation. Many papers have been reporting that one focus so far is Afghan-based Saudi Arabian financier Osama bin Laden, but this USAT story adds that a team of FBI and CIA officials went to Pakistan earlier this year to investigate arresting him.

Everybody notes that the twelfth American victim identified was the consul general at the Nairobi Embassy, Julian Bartley, whose 20-year-old son also perished. Three of the four papers that run photos feature the same top-front shot of thousands of Kenyans mourning and praying. The fourth, the NYT, stacks a photo of a woman and her young son next to the Israeli soldier who rescued them over a shot of a woman's body being loaded into a vehicle, a lifeless arm hanging out from under her shroud. The coverage reports that besides the 200 deaths in Kenya and the 10 in Tanzania, nearly 5,000 people were injured in the two explosions, the majority of them in Kenya.

The Israeli dog-assisted victim extraction team working in Kenya continues to get much coverage. The LAT front says that at a time when much of the world is blaming Israel for the collapse of the Middle East peace talks, the rescuers' efforts are boosting Israel's prestige and earning it goodwill.

A WP front-pager by media reporter Howard Kurtz suggests that the story of the woman who died shortly after being told that her insurance company would only cover a bone marrow transplant if she had it in Chicago and not in Hawaii where she was--a managed-care horror story that has been referred to by both Bill and Hillary Clinton in recent weeks and has also been quoted by major media from ABC to Time--is of a piece with Ronald Reagan's Cadillac-driving "welfare queen." That is, writes Kurtz, there's more to the story than appears in the Clintonic version: namely, Garvey ignored a doctor's advice to come in for blood tests and instead went on vacation in Hawaii, where the local hospital did not perform bone marrow transplants. And the health plan sent a nurse to accompany Garvey back to a suitable hospital.

The Wall Street Journal reports that according to the latest Labor Dept. figures, the economy last month suffered the biggest loss of factory jobs in 16 years, a clear sign, says the paper, that the manufacturing sector is sputtering. The main cause is apparently the Asian financial crisis, which has left countries in the region unable to afford American goods.

The Journal also runs a front-page feature about a hot topic in dry-as-dust San Antonio, Texas: who uses inordinate amounts of water on their lawns. Seems that in Alamo-town, one of the local papers has taken to running the names, addresses, house descriptions and water usage amounts of the top ten lawn waterers. The listees are generally rich--they have included over the years basketball star David Robinson and country singer George Strait--and don't much like the cat-calling and fist-shaking (and hate mail) listing exposes them to. A recent honoree soaked up 173, 559 gallons of water in one month, more than ten times the city average. No wonder four of those on the latest list persuaded the city water department to withhold their names.