Black and Gray Matters

Black and Gray Matters

Black and Gray Matters

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
June 18 1999 7:17 AM

Black and Gray Matters

The Los Angeles Times and USA Today lead with the continuing exodus of refugees into and out of Kosovo and with an estimate by the British Foreign Office that the Serbs killed 10,000 ethnic Albanians during the NATO bombing. The New York Times and Washington Post off-lead with Kosovo, leading instead with the House GOP's success at weakening the restrictions on gun purchases passed by the Senate last month. The LAT and USAT off-lead this story.

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All papers report that ethnic Albanian refugees continued to pour into Kosovo ahead of NATO's schedule while ethnic Serb civilians continued to flee in the wake of departing Serb troops. The WP and LAT note the discovery of a Serbian torture chamber. The NYT fronts a public prayer session in which leaders of the Serbian Orthodox Church and NATO urged ethnic Serbs to stay in Kosovo.

USAT reports that a KLA rebel reached for a grenade less than 15 feet from the top U.S. commander in the region, Brig. Gen. John Craddock. Security forces tackled the man and Craddock was not hurt. In an interview with the NYT, the director of the U.S. air war, Lt. Gen. Michael C. Short, warned that future air wars will likely produce far more casualties than the one just concluded, since Serb soldiers chose to hide rather than use their sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons.

All the papers front the House's limitation on gun-show background checks to 24 hours. The bill, which passed 218-211, would decrease the 3 days currently allowed licensed gun-show dealers, although it would require unlicensed dealers to perform checks for the first time. All the papers also report on another reaction to Columbine: the House's passage of a bill allowing states to post the 10 Commandments in public places. The NYT's coverage waxes melodramatic, calling the gun vote a "stunning victory for the National Rifle Association" and running a breathless behind-the-scenes account of the backroom maneuvering and "political theater" before the vote. The Wall Street Journal's "Washington Wire" column says Columbine and Kosovo peace have boosted internal Democratic polls, with party strategists now hoping to regain the House if Al Gore wins the presidency.

The WP and LAT front, and the NYT reefers, Alan Greenspan's surprisingly un-delphic statements before a congressional committee. Despite this week's surprising announcement of nearly zero inflation in May, Greenspan called the current boom an "unsustainable trend," though he hinted one rate hike might be enough. The markets and the public agree this all but guarantees a quarter-percent rate hike, to 5 percent, when the Fed meets later this month.

The NYT fronts, and the WP runs on page 3, the announcement that Albert Einstein's brain, in the region used for spatial ability, was large and peculiarly shaped. The brain, which had been removed seven hours after death and kept in a researcher's house for decades, was compared with brains taken from people of average intelligence. The researchers warned that their study was not conclusive evidence of the role of brain physiology in intelligence.

The LAT fronts, and the WP runs on page 4, a botched Y2K test resulting in a raw sewage spill in a Los Angeles park Wednesday evening. An emergency power system kicked in as planned, but a computer failed to shut an "emergency effluent gate."

The WSJ reports that at Lawrence Summers' confirmation hearing for Treasury secretary, nine-year-old Pam Summers' jaw dropped when a senator warned that, without fast action, saving Social Security and Medicare is "something our kids are going to pay for."