Bridging the Gap

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Nov. 29 2002 4:33 AM

Bridging the Gap

The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times lead with yesterday's terrorist attacks against Israelis. Two shoulder-launched missiles brushed past an Israeli jet flying out of Kenya; shortly thereafter, a bomb exploded at a Kenyan hotel frequented by Israeli tourists. Suggestions abound that the Kenya assaults were the handiwork of al-Qaida. Meanwhile, gunmen inside Israel killed six—and wounded dozens—who were on hand to vote in the Likud Party primary. The top story at USA Today says the FBI might close several of its field offices to free up personnel for the agency's anti-terrorism efforts.


The NYT joins the other papers in labeling the two Kenya attacks, which occurred minutes apart, a coordinated assault. A missile launcher was recovered near the airport servicing Mombassa, where a green Jeep filled with explosives (and three passengers) crashed into an Israeli-owned hotel. Investigators identified the missiles as Russian-made SA-7 Strellas.

At least 10 Kenyans—mostly kids in a dance troupe—died in the hotel bombing, as did three Israelis. The LAT (online at least) decides to lump these victims and the three terrorists together in the headline "CAR BOMBING KILLS SIXTEEN." Apparently, a man who shoots his wife before turning the gun on himself would prompt the story "GUN KILLS TWO."

The jet was a charter flight taking Israeli tourists home from Mombassa. Despite minor damage to its tail, the plane was able to complete its journey to Tel Aviv. The flight crew waited until the plane landed to tell the 271 passengers about the incident, the WP reports.

Everyone recalls that al-Qaida has had operations in Kenya before, including the 1998 bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi. The NYT notes that like Bali, Mombassa is a resort town better known for its tourists than its politics. And an expert tells the WP that we may be seeing a tactical shift toward "soft" targets, i.e., sites with less security than embassies and military installations.

Israeli and Kenyan officials tell the LAT that the attacks "bore the trademark of al-Qaida." But Bush, in a brief statement, was hesitant to assign blame. A "news analysis" in the NYT argues that the Kenya attacks may make things harder for Bush: The president will find it tougher to rebuff Israel's efforts to join the war on terror. The story predicts that after yesterday's events, Israel can make a stronger argument that attacks inside its borders are linked to "terrorism with a global reach."

The NYT states that if it turns out al-Qaida was behind the Kenya bombing, it would be the organization's first targeting of Israelis since "the American antiterrorism effort began." True, but a bit misleading. Back in April, al-Qaida claimed responsibility for bombing a synagogue—a popular tourist site—in Tunisia. No Israelis were killed, but it was, at the very least, a Jewish target.

The WP fronts word that the NYPD is seeking to reinstate the broad surveillance powers it gave up in the early 1980s. In 1985, the NYPD responded to pressure from the courts with a consent decree requiring its officers to get the approval of a three-member panel—two cops and a civilian—before infiltrating social and political organizations. The decree was supposed to put an end to what the paper calls the "long and ignoble history" of police surveillance. Police officials argue that increased flexibility is needed to fight terrorism. A federal trial court will review the agency's request next month.

In the past 10 years, India has seen its economic fortunes fall behind those of neighboring China. So says a front-page piece in the NYT,which reports that many in India are dismayed by their country's failure to capitalize on the global market: In 1990, India and China were neck-and-neck in GDP per capita; a decade later, China has almost double the GDP per head of its rival.

As expected, Ariel Sharon cruised past opponent Bibi Netanyahu in the Likud Party's primary. The late-breaking LAT reports that Sharon won by a 3-to-2 margin, leaving him extremely well-positioned to win the general election in January.


Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company

Sports Nut

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.


How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 18 2014 1:34 PM Americans Fault Obama for Giving Them Exactly the Anti-ISIS Strategy They Want
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
The Eye
Sept. 18 2014 12:47 PM How One of the Most Prolific Known Forgers in Modern History Faked Great Works of Art
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 12:03 PM The NFL Opines on “the Role of the Female”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Everyday That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 1:15 PM Beyoncé’s 10 Greatest Live Performances
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 1:24 PM Can the Celebrities Whose Photos Were Stolen Really Sue Apple? It may be harder to prove “harm” than it seems.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.