The Wall Street Journal's worldwide news box and the New York Timeslead with wealthy guy Michael Bloomberg's upset victory in the New York City mayoral race. Just two weeks ago, Bloomberg trailed his opponent, Mark Green, by 15 points in the polls. The Journal says that Bloomberg will inherit a "scarred city" and that he spent $50 million to do it, more than any mayoral candidate in U.S. history. USA Todayand the Los Angeles Timeslead with President Bush's statement that al-Qaida has tried to acquire nuclear weapons. The Evil One, said Bush, wants "evil weapons." The group's efforts to get nukes have been reported in the past, but this is the first time President Bush has spoken about it. The Washington Postleads with results from local political races. The paper's top nonlocal story is news that the president met with a group of lawmakers and told them he would veto any Sept. 11-related emergency spending bill beyond the $40 billion already allocated. That didn't make Democrats very happy. "I was flabbergasted and amazed," said Rep. David Obey. "We had expected this was going to be a working meeting, not a my-way-or-the-highway meeting."
The NYT's top nonlocal story is that President Bush, seeking to counter flagging support abroad for the war, is moving to expand the number of nations involved in military operations in Afghanistan. Also as part of the plan, Bush bad-mouthed Bin Laden and his supporters, calling them "fascists and totalitarians." Germany announced that it's going to send nearly 4,000 support troops to join in the war effort. France, Poland, and the Czech Republic have also offered to help.
The papers report Northern Alliance claims that their troops captured three districts near the strategic city of Mazar-i Sharif. "If true," says the Times, it would be the Alliance's first win since American planes started bombing. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld says the claims should be taken with a grain of salt. "There are so many reports about this village or that village," Rumsfeld said. "I'd like to let the dust settle." Anti-Taliban forces, meanwhile, told the NYT that U.S. military advisers were extensively involved in the attacks. "They are organizing the troops and telling our commanders what to do," said one Alliance commander. (Are the advisers too busy to phone home and report on progress?)
The LAT fronts an analysis (though not labeled as such), saying that for all the attention paid to the battles in the northern Afghanistan, the south is really what matters: "Bin Laden is believed to be hiding in the south. It is the stronghold of the Taliban. And it is where the Pashtuns, Afghanistan's largest ethnic faction, are dominant." There are plenty of reasons why this isn't good news, including, says the paper, that "unlike in the north, the south may require major U.S. offensives, including ground troops."
The NYT says that Rumsfeld commented that the military campaign would take months rather than years. But, says the Times, Rumsfeld "acknowledged that could mean as many as 23 months." Very tricky.
The papers report that yesterday investigators told a congressional panel that they still have no idea who sent the anthrax-laced letters. Though labs that handle the bacteria are supposed to register their anthrax-related activities with the government, "The system is turning out to be quite porous," said one investigator.
The LAT fronts experts warning that the U.S. has no sure way of tracing where biological weapons come from. There's no DNA database, for example, to categorize the different strains of viruses and bacteria that could be used. "We need to be able to say to rogue nations: 'Use your stuff and we'll likely figure it out before the sun rises on your capital,' " said one health official.
The WSJ reports that investigators said that since no cases of anthrax have been diagnosed this week, at least this particular attack is probably over.
The papers report that Major League Baseball has decided to ax two of its teams. The lead contenders for the layoffs are the Expos and the Twins.
The Post and LAT both front news that Attorney General Ashcroft ordered federal drug agents to go after doctors in Oregon who prescribe medications to help terminally ill patients die. The move is an effort to, in effect, overturn Oregon's assisted suicide law.
USAT fronts news that the Sept. 11 attacks "are having a profound effect in a surprising place: the nation's courtrooms." Good thing USAT's readership doesn't overlap with that of Time magazine, which reported last week: "The terrorists attacks have produced collateral damage in an unexpected place: criminal courtrooms."