Remember Los Alamos

Remember Los Alamos

Remember Los Alamos

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Dec. 11 1999 6:19 AM

Remember Los Alamos

The Washington Post and the New York Times lead with the arrest of former Los Alamos nuclear physicist Wen Ho Lee. Lee is being held without bail on 59 counts of mishandling nuclear weapon design, construction, and testing information. The indictment alleges that Lee downloaded data onto 10 portable tapes and that seven tapes are missing. Lee is not specifically accused of leaking secrets to the Chinese. Yet, the NYT notes, to convict Lee on all counts the government must prove that he intended to injure the United States and benefit a foreign power. The Post explains that the indictment might be an attempt to squeeze new leads out of Lee. The charges carry life sentences. Lee's attorneys claim he is innocent of wrongdoing. A LAT front-pager underscores that the indictment does not clarify how China acquired nuclear secrets.

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The Los Angeles Times leads with Turkey's acceptance of an offer to apply for membership in the European Union. Ankara was reluctant to accede because of fears that the EU would pressure Turkey to relinquish its claim to Cyprus. To join, Turkey must improve its human rights record by abolishing the use of torture and loosening free speech strictures. A NYT front-pager mentions that two years ago the EU angered the United States and embarrassed Ankara by voting not to extend an offer of accession to Turkey. None of the papers note that Turkey has been seeking EU membership since the 1960s.

A Post front-pager stresses that the EU expanded its applicant pool by extending offers to Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Malta. Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia are already negotiating EU entry. If all applicants are approved, the EU will become a 28-nation union that encompasses nearly all of central and eastern Europe. (The EU also endorsed a plan to create a European rapid-reaction force of 60,000 troops.)

The NYT fronts the death of Franjo Tudjman, the first president of independent Croatia. The Times provides plenty of biographical detail: Tudjman rose to power as a Communist general, in the 1970s and 1980s he was imprisoned for nationalist activities, and he died of cancer-related complications. The Post and LAT reefer their obits.

The Post highlights Tudjman low points--he forced the exodus of 600,000 Serbs (200,000 according to the LAT), hindered the search for suspected war criminals, and neglected Croatia's economy. (Slate's "Assessment" explains that Tudjman was the Balkans' lesser evil.) The LAT reports that during Tudjman's reign he enriched his family by about $700 million. The Croatian Constitution dictates that Parliament Speaker Vlatko Pavletic will serve as interim president until a new leader is selected.

The NYT fronts Bill Bradley's timeout. After suffering a bout of heart palpitations, the candidate cancelled a campaign appearance and three fund-raisers. He went to the hospital but did not require treatment. In 1996 Bradley was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation--a heart rhythm problem that afflicts former President Bush and about 2 million other Americans. The LAT reefers the story but notes that health questions dogged the late Sen. Paul Tsongas' 1992 presidential campaign. The paper indicates that Bradley received mild electrical shocks to treat his arrhythmia on three occasions prior to 1998. (The NYT reports that Bradley underwent the "cardioversion" treatment twice.) In a reefer, the Post downplays Bradley's health problem.

Wilderness programs for wayward kids are the latest frontier of the therapy industry, according to a NYT front-pager. Hundreds of programs aim to rehabilitate troubled teens by forcing them to brave the rigors of the great outdoors. The Redcliff Ascent Outdoor Therapy Program provides group counseling and forbids sarcasm. Although the concept is as old as Emerson, parents pay as much as $350 a day.