Nuclear (Nonproliferation Treaty) Meltdown

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
May 28 2005 6:41 AM

Nuclear (Nonproliferation Treaty) Meltdown

The New York Times leads with the unsuccessful conclusion of a monthlong U.N. conference on strengthening the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The conference was hampered by American intransigence on disarmament and international disagreement on a response to North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs. Talks went so poorly that some officials are speculating that the treaty itself may have been damaged. The Los Angeles Times also leads with nuke talks (at least online). Its story emphasizes the extent to which the United States alienated the other participants. While the meeting was under way, for example, the Bush administration was pushing Congress to fund a new "bunker buster" nuke. The Washington Post's top nonlocal story reveals that two Army analysts responsible for a deeply flawed evaluation of Iraq's weapons capability have received performance bonuses for the last three years. President Bush's panel on intelligence failures concluded that the analysts' work on aluminum tubes at the Army's National Ground Intelligence Center represented a "serious lapse in analytic tradecraft"; the article links the bonuses to other examples of the administration's refusal to hold anyone accountable for pre-war mistakes.

The LAT fronts a good summary of new moves by the United States to further isolate North Korea. Even seemingly innocuous programs, such as an effort to recover remains from the Korean War, are being canceled. The piece is an excellent companion to the nonproliferation story—it offers compelling evidence that Washington may be headed for a showdown with Pyongyang over the question of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula.


Whether any military confrontation is possible while U.S. troops remain in Iraq is an open question, of course. But another LAT piece suggests that the insurgency may suffer a major setback if reports that insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been seriously wounded pan out. (TP profiled Zarqawi back in June.)

The NYT fronts mostly domestic news today. The paper has an excellent report on the latest scandal to hit the GOP. Tom DeLay may get all the national attention as the poster boy for ethical problems in the party, but at least in Ohio, fund-raiser * Thomas Noe is a much more controversial figure. Noe, a congressman and prolific fund-raiser, has connections to nearly every figure in the Buckeye State's Republican Party. He's also at the center of a growing controversy stemming from a $50 million investment the state pension group made into a rare-coin fund he controls. Up to $13 million of that money may be missing, and Noe's former allies are turning on him. The investigations of Noe are multiplying, but it remains to be seen whether he is guilty of any wrongdoing.

Another financial scandal—one that will be of far more interest to the society set—also makes the front page of the NYT. The paper has all the details on the apparent downfall of arts patron Alberto Vilar, who was arrested on Thursday. Vilar is charged with defrauding a client of $5 million; he allegedly used the cash to meet some of his charitable pledges and to pay for some basic needs ($255.56 went to repair his dishwasher). The story seems destined for cinematic treatment in the pages of New York magazine.

A compelling profile in the Post examines the lives and work of a group of volunteers helping a Sri Lankan village recover from the tsunami. Derided as "tsunami tourists" by professional relief workers, thousands of volunteers have headed to South Asia since December and despite their inexperience are managing to help recovery efforts in small yet important ways.

The Post digs into the increasingly popular "interest-only" mortgages. The mortgages, which are especially common in areas with sharply rising housing prices, allow individuals to save money by delaying paying back the principal on their loans for several years. Unfortunately, the loans are only a safe bet in a market with appreciating prices; economists are getting worried about a down market's impact on the loans.

The LAT has some potentially bad news for the 30 million men who have taken Viagra or other similar drugs. The FDA is investigating reports that the impotence pills may cause eye damage. No definitive relationship between the drugs and eye problems has been established, however, and doctors report that many men are happy to accept the risk.

Finally, podcasting makes the NYT front page with a mostly fluffy piece on alternative audio tours for museums and the LAT has the latest on the Michael Jackson trial.

* Correction, May 31, 2005: This article originally and incorrectly stated that Thomas Noe is a Republican representative. In fact, he is not a representative. Click here to return to corrected sentence.

Alexander Dryer works for The New Yorker in Washington, D.C.


The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?


“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.