An update in the New York Times reports a suicide bombing in the northern Israeli city of Haifa. The bomber killed himself and at least 10 others and wounded many more. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
The New York Times top national story tells of the economy's first net job creation in seven months, a story fronted by the Washington Post and reefered by the Los Angeles Times. The Post leads with the revelation by U.S. weapons hunter David Kay that Iraq sent $10 million to North Korea for missile-building equipment that was never delivered. (The NYT and LAT both front this.) The Los Angeles Times leads with Gov. Gray Davis' statement that Arnold Schwarzenegger is unfit to lead the state if allegations of sexual misconduct and a youthful Adolf Hitler admiration turn out to be true. (The WP and NYT also front stories on the California race, and the LAT fronts additional sexual allegations against Schwarzenegger.)
The economy gained 57,000 jobs in September, the first increase since January. New service jobs (74,000—half of which are temporary) offset more modest losses in manufacturing and government. (Manufacturing employment has shrunk for more than three years.) Wall Street reacted favorably to the Labor Department's report, but the NYT notes that: 1) hiring increased late last year, only to fall off again, and 2) U.S. population growth in September outpaced job gains. An analyst in the Post reminds that the White House, when it passed its tax cut, predicted about 300,000 new jobs a month by now.
Kay's report revealed that several years ago (the LAT says 1999, the Post says 2001) Iraq agreed to pay North Korea $10 million for equipment to build missiles that would have violated U.N. resolutions. When North Korea still hadn't delivered by late last year, Iraq asked for its money back and was refused. The president cited this revelation—as well as Kay's conclusion that Iraq had hidden biological labs (not necessarily for weapons) and a single vial of botulism—as a vindication of his decision to invade. In an interview with the LAT, Hans Blix, the U.N.'s prewar weapons inspector, dismissed Kay's findings as minor violations that would not have affected Security Council debates. Headlines in the Post ("Iraq Sought Missile Parts, President Says") and LAT ("Botched Iraqi Arms Deal is Detailed") are specific and newsworthy; the NYT buries the lead and runs with the political fallout: "President Says Report on Arms Vindicates War." An "International Brief" in the Post brings word that Polish troops in Iraq claim to have found missiles manufactured in France earlier this year.
Schwarzenegger came under attack yesterday from Davis, California's two U.S. senators, and eight Democratic congresswomen for his comments on Hitler and behavior toward women. The LAT publishes accusations from three more women—two who worked on a movie set with Schwarzenegger and one who was a CNN intern—that he touched them sexually without consent, bringing his number of accusers to 11. Yesterday the producer of the movie Pumping Iron released this transcript of Schwarzenegger's Hitler comments through the Schwarzenegger campaign:
I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power. And I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for his way of getting to the people and so on. But I didn't admire him for what he did with it.
Reports circulating Thursday had Schwarzenegger ending his comments with "for being a good public speaker and for what he did with it." The LAT notes that Schwarzenegger is a longtime benefactor of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.
The LAT fronts word that Iran is offering to provide water, electricity, and technical assistance to the U.S. for Iraq, according to "a top Iranian diplomat." A State Department official says the two countries may talk soon, perhaps at this month's Iraqi donors' conference in Madrid. The paper notes that the situation is complicated by Iran's recent refusal to comply with U.N. resolutions on nuclear fuel.
By exposing CIA agent Valerie Plame, White House leakers have also revealed the identity of a CIA front company, the Post reports inside. Anonymous Bush administration leakers tell the paper that when Plame contributed $1,000 to Al Gore's presidential campaign, papers that she filed with the Federal Election Commission, which are available publicly, list "Brewster-Jennings & Associates" as her "employer." All three papers note that yesterday the White House counsel gave 2,000 White House employees until Tuesday to turn over Plame-related documents to Justice Department investigators. The LAT also runs a history of special- and independent-counsel investigations.
On the Post op-ed page, former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev calls U.S. policy toward Cuba a Cold War relic and argues that an easing of travel and trade restrictions would promote a Cuban glasnost. "I urge President Bush to tear down the wall of the embargo now." Elsewhere, the paper reports that Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya delivered 14,000 signatures to the national assembly calling for democratic reform.