Coal Comfort

Coal Comfort

Coal Comfort

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
July 6 1999 6:48 AM

Coal Comfort

The New York Times leads with the agreement, reached yesterday, between NATO and Russia regarding the latter's peacekeeping role in Kosovo. This should clear the way, says the paper, for the imminent arrival there of some 3,600 additional Russian troops. The Los Angeles Times leads with the failure thus far of the deal struck in Washington on Sunday between President Clinton and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take hold in the Himalayas, where fierce fighting continued between Pakistani and Indian forces. The NYT goes inside with political forces within Pakistan arrayed against Sharif's pullout. The top nonlocal story at the Washington Post is a post-mortem on racist spree killer Benjamin Smith, whom the paper says shot himself while struggling with cops trying to arrest him. The LAT and NYT top-front Smith, emphasizing his prior racist behavior in college. USA Today goes with the severe heat wave engulfing the eastern half of the U.S., a story that also gets top-front coverage at the NYT and WP. The paper reports that in many areas, power companies are bracing for the increased load that will come today when, in continuing hot weather, the work week starts up again.

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The NYT reports that under the new peacekeeping accord, Russia will be sending troops to the German, American, and French sectors of Kosovo, and to the Pristina airport, run by a British general, including areas where there have been concentrations of Serbs. All the military parties to the agreement are quoted expressing satisfaction with the resolution, which seems like a classic diplomatic fig leaf--the Russians agreed to serve under the "nominal" control of the allied sector commanders, but reserve the right to refuse to carry out orders. If that happens, the paper informs, the agreement specifies that the NATO commanders can dispatch other peacekeepers to perform the task. Other Kosovo news: The Wall Street Journal states flatly what has been implicit in many previous press reports: that the KLA and NATO worked together quite closely in the last days of the war, sharing intelligence and even coordinating a KLA ground offensive to force Serb forces out in the open where they were clobbered by NATO air attacks.

The party line. OK, this is the official deal on the Today's Papers 2nd Anniversary Party. It's Thursday, July 15th, 1999, 5-7 PM, in Santa Monica, California at Il Grano Restaurant, 11359 Santa Monica Blvd. There'll be wine and hors d'oeuvres, prizes and general merriment, perhaps even a celebrity guest or two. Price: Like the American press and especially Slate--ABSOLUTELY FREE. But attendees MUST do two things: 1) RSVP by July 9, to 323-654-6742 (email doesn't count); 2) Bring one especially loved or detested newspaper clip (no admission without one).

The LAT fronts Bill Clinton's visit to Hazard, Ky., the first leg of his tour this week of poverty pockets. The other majors carry the trip inside. Clinton is being accompanied by several business executives and Jesse Jackson, all in the service of the administration's New Markets Initiative, now pending before Congress, which would deliver various federal subsidies to corporations investing in poor regions. The LAT draws a pretty clear economic picture of Appalachia. Coal's still the main game in town but is now providing fewer than half the jobs it did in 1979. The paper notes that 30 percent of the people in the county Clinton visited live below the poverty level.

Contrast this with the other America, the one reported on in USAT's front-page cover story on luxury. In the 90s, the story explains, the emphasis among the rich is no longer on things, it's on experiences. Like--and these are all real examples--a company that gets $100,000 for a booking on a suborbital space flight (to blast off in 2001), the America Express Platinum premium of getting a private golf clinic with Tiger Woods, or paying Rod Stewart $1 million to do 45 minutes at a wedding. This is all made possible, the story notes, by America's recent explosion of wealth: The number of millionaires has doubled to 3.1 million in the past decade, and the number of households with an annual income of more than $100,000 and a net worth exceeding $500,000 is now nearly 17 million, compared with just 10 million in 1990.