Albrightness

Albrightness

Albrightness

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Feb. 16 1999 11:34 AM

Albrightness

The NYT and LAT lead with Madeleine Albright convening face-to-face talks between Albanians and Serbians regarding their fighting in Kosovo. The WP puts Kosovo inside and goes with word that the DOJ and 19 states are deep in discussion about what to do with Microsoft should the government win its antitrust case. USAT also puts Kosovo inside and leads with American Airlines' claim that it could resume a normal schedule by Tuesday as pilots come back to work under a judge's threat of heavy fines if they continued staying out in support of pay parity for the pilots of newly acquired Reno Air. The paper reports that as of last night, fewer than 900 pilots were on the AA sick list, down from more than 2,100 on Saturday morning. One detail missing from this and usually from other labor sick-out stories: When so many people miraculously call in sick on the same day, does the company ask for a note from a doctor and if so, do the doctors then lie?

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The NYT explains that the Albanians and Serbs had already been ensconced in a French country chateau for a week when Albright showed up and got them to sit down together. (What had they been doing there until then, passing notes? The papers don't say.) Both Times describe the Albanians as more open to the basic terms pushed by the U.S.--primarily the interposition of a NATO-led peacekeeping force that would include 4,000 U.S. troops--than the Serbs. But they differ a bit about Albright's assessment of prospects. The LAT quotes her high saying, "There is every indication they will be ready to sign by the time the conference is over." But the NYT quotes her saying "I will not be able to say that the path to agreement is clear or that success is in sight" before having to leave to report back to President Clinton.

The NYT's account stresses personal conversations Albright had with the delegations. Details: she reproduced a Serbian lullaby from her Belgrade childhood for the Serbs and told the leader of the Albanians that he should model himself on Gerry Adams, political leader of the IRA who foreswore arms for peaceful leadership. The second half of the LAT account dwells instead on the concerns expressed Sunday by some GOP congressional big shots regarding a possible new deployment of U.S. troops to the Balkans, a concern the NYT relays inside in a separate article.

The WP lead says that the government's discussions about what sort of remedies to ask for if Microsoft is found in serious violation of anti-trust law have become more detailed recently because prosecutors feel the company is stumbling in its court defense. A forced breakup is currently envisioned by the government as coming in two flavors: 1) Carve MS into one company that sells only the Windows operating system and one that would sell other MS software products, and 2) Split the company into two or more nearly identical units. The big questions in all of this, says the paper, are: Would such moves really create new competition? And which company would get Bill Gates? (Perhaps if cloning technology continues to pick up speed, the latter problem can be avoided.) This story obviously comes from DOJ sources, but since that's so obvious it's not clear why they don't fear looking too confident of victory while the trial is still in progress.

Like a decapitated chicken still racing around the barnyard, the papers continue to front impeachment-related topics. The LAT goes top-front with a piece wondering if a post-scandal return to political civility is upon us, and above the fold with the debate within the Republican ranks about whether or not to make impeachment a major issue in the 2000 presidential campaign. A WP front-pager reports on a new poll finding that most Americans approve of the Senate acquittal of President Clinton but blame him for the impeachment trial. Similarly, most say the Senate should end attempts to censure him, but almost half say Clinton should have to face criminal charges either now or after he leaves office. The NYT off-lead covers a weekend meeting of moderate Republicans worrying about how to repair the image to their party that they say was inflicted by its prosecution of Clinton. The piece quotes the governor of Connecticut saying that "the good news is that the rich people and the business people still like us," and then reports that the meetings were held at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa.

Both the NYT and WP run stories inside about the first comprehensive study of crimes involving American Indians, released Sunday by the Justice Department. Salient findings include: Indians are the victims of violent crime more than twice the national average, and unlike most other groups, where the large majority of criminals and victims are the same race, 70 percent of those committing crimes against Indians are not Indians. The report also notes that the rate of murders by Indians is 4 per 100,000, which is below the national average of 7.9 per and the white rate of 4.9 per.

The WP television column reports that A&E's "Biography" profile of likely presidential candidate John McCain reached 1.6 million homes in its first airing last week. But the column also reports that a recent "Biography" broadcast on the late pro wrestler Andre the Giant did more than twice as well.