Philippines Finished

Philippines Finished

Philippines Finished

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
July 14 2004 3:52 AM

Philippines Finished

The Los Angeles Times' lead catches a bombing this morning at the entrance to Baghdad's Green Zone that killed at least seven Iraqis and wounded about 10. The Wall Street Journal's worldwide news box leads with the Philippines' decision to give in to kidnappers' demands and pull its small contingent of troops from Iraq. Meanwhile, militants claiming to be members of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group executed one of the two Bulgarians they've been holding. USA Today leads with the surrender to Saudi authorities of an al-Qaida man, Khaled al-Harbi, who was once videotaped sitting with Bin Laden and laughing about the 9/11 attacks. The New York Times' lead uncovers government estimates that when the Medicare prescription drug benefit kicks in, companies will reduce or eliminate their pill coverage for 3.8 million retirees, about a third of the total covered. Although the numbers were crunched at the Department of Health and Human Services, top officials at the agency have been insisting that the Medicare legislation, which includes corporate subsidies, will result in companies increasing their coverage. The Washington Post's top nonlocal story bemoans the purported bloating of Sen. Kerry's adviser cadre. The Post says the campaign now includes "37 separate domestic policy councils and 27 foreign policy groups," with the justice policy task force alone stuffed to the gills with 195 members.

Al-Harbi, who told authorities he had been living along the Iran-Afghanistan border, said he was accepting the Saudis' offer of amnesty to militants and just called up the Saudi embassy in Tehran to turn himself in. USAT, in a WAG, speculates that al-Harbi might be helpful in the hunt for find Bin Laden. Nobody else fronts the surrender.

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By the way, none of the papers have a reporter in Saudi Arabia to cover the surrender, and most only have wire copy. That's part of a larger issue: TP has noticed that none of the papers seem to have bureaus in Riyadh while most still have one in Cairo. Perhaps it's time to consider a change?

The first sentence of the Post's lead says Kerry's big-tent campaign is "making it difficult to manage an increasingly unwieldy policy apparatus." Except the story doesn't have a quote supporting that, nor does it give much evidence of a detrimental effect (unless you count one adviser getting overheated at a crowded meeting). Meanwhile, the bottom of article suggests that many of these "advisers" aren't influencing much beyond the letterhead: "By being expansive in its policy apparatus, the campaign can make donors feel wanted for more than their money and make dissonant voices in the party feel heard."

The NYT fronts word that the White House has refused to give the Senate Intelligence Committee a one-page summary of Iraq intelligence prepared for President Bush before the invasion that doesn't have the caveats or dissents included in the full intelligence assessment. Committee Democrats pushed for the document's release but were blocked by Republicans, who argued it's covered by executive privilege. In any case, Bush and his aides were also given the full, caveat-filled versions of the report. Asked about the apparently dumbed-down, single-page presidential summary, a senior intelligence official said, "We expect people to read beyond one page."

A front-page LAT piece points out that some government advisers, such as former CIA chief James Woolsey, pushed for the Iraq war and now are connected to companies doing postwar work in the country.

The Post notes inside that in a reversal of previous policy, the White House announced it is cutting aid to Uzbekistan because the country hasn't made progress on human rights.

This week's sign the apocalypse is upon us ... USAT: "Organic Pet Food Sales Rising."

Note: The headline of this article has been changed, since it has come to our attention that the original unintentionally contained an anti-Filipino slur.

Eric Umansky, previously the "Today's Papers" columnist for Slate, is currently a Gordon Grey Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism.