The Son Also Surprises

The Son Also Surprises

The Son Also Surprises

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
July 30 2005 5:25 AM

The Son Also Surprises

The Los Angeles Times and New York Times lead with the apparent apprehension of the three remaining suspects in the abortive plot to bomb three subways and a bus in London. The dramatic flurry of arrests, including a standoff televised live, capped "a bewildering series of police raids," the NYT reports, and restored some calm to the shaken city. The Washington Post off-leads the arrests and goes instead with a frantic scene closer to home, as the Senate passed a raft of bills, some of them years in the making, and prepared to skip town for the summer.

Reports on the bombing plot investigation, as usual, are confusing and fragmentary, but this much seems clear: Three men were arrested yesterday, all of them of East African descent. Two were apprehended at an apartment in a London public housing project. A third was picked up at the home of his brother in Rome. Coming on the heels of the apprehension of another alleged would-be bomber in Birmingham Wednesday, "the arrests appear to give [investigators] a rare prize: a full cell of alleged terrorists captured alive and unharmed," the WP reports. Among other things, the suspects will be pressed to explain what connection, if any, they had to the more deadly July 7 attacks.

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From there, details get sketchy. All the papers report—the NYT most definitively—that police arrested another man in a separate raid Friday whom they suspect might have been a "fifth attempted bomber" who apparently ditched an unexploded device in a park after the unsuccessful attacks. The LAT identifies one of the men arrested in London, Muktar Said Ibrahim, as the "leader" of the plot. Citing "a senior Italian anti-terror official," the paper reports that Said, an Eritrean immigrant and petty criminal, was radicalized during a prison stint, and met his co-conspirators at London's infamous Finsbury Park mosque. The NYT passes along a fuzzy but (if true) intriguing detail: Neighbors say one of the arrested men was a bus driver.

Everyone fronts pictures of the London raid and includes dramatic details: exploding stun grenades, gunfire, and an extraordinary exchange between police and one supposed wannabe martyr, who shouted, "How do I know you're not going to shoot me?" Eventually, the two suspects stripped down, surrendered, and were hustled into separate police cars.

The papers all have different takes on yesterday's wild day in the Congress, during which the Senate voted to pass major energy and transportation bills and to protect gun manufacturers and distributors from civil lawsuits. Oh, and the majority leader broke with the president on a divisive social issue. The WP, in its lead story, concludes that the bills passed "constitute significant victories for Bush and GOP congressional leaders." Conservatives didn't get everything they wanted—the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is safe for now—but nonetheless, it was a good day to be an energy company executive. An accompanying front-page analysis of the energy bill details "a piñata of perks," and notices that an "obscure provision would repeal a Depression-era law that has prevented consolidation of public utilities, potentially transforming the nation's electricity markets," a $1 trillion business.

The NYT zeroes in on the gun bill, which protects makers from being sued if their products are misused in the course of a crime. Republicans invoked national security: If gun companies went out of business, they asked, who would supply the military and police?

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As for the transportation bill … oink, oink, oink: $286 billion, and more than 6,000 pork projects, enough to keep Al Kamen busy 'til Columbus Day. "I wonder what it's going take to make the case for fiscal sanity here?" Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., asked his colleagues.

The WP and LAT front follow-ups to the NYT's lead story from Friday: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's decision to support a bill lifting some limits on stem-cell research. President Bush has promised to veto it. The move that is "likely to win over some undecided lawmakers and might prompt Bush to reconsider his position," the WP predicts, but the LAT, which headlines GOP "rifts," reports "the White House said Bush stood by his vow to veto."

The NYT and LAT both front Lachlan Murdoch's bombshell resignation from News Corporation, the media conglomerate his father, Rupert, built and seemed poised to pass down to him. The younger Murdoch, a tattooed maverick with a fashion model wife, was most involved in running the company's newspapers, including the New York Post. Oedipal speculation abounds. The LAT, which has the best gossip, reports that Rupert didn't care for his son's long vacations. (Lachlan's wife and young child live in Australia.) Apparently there was tension over the family trust, valued at more than $6 billion: Murdoch's third wife wants her two kids to have a piece. The NYT adds that the Post is said to lose $70 million a year, which probably didn't help. With Lachlan gone, his brother James is heir apparent.

The LAT travels to Glendora, Miss., to investigate the unsolved lynching of Emmett Till. Reporter Ellen Barry interviewed the ailing Henry Lee Loggins—an African-American alleged to have been present at the 1955 killing, which was organized by his white boss. Loggins denies any involvement, but his son, now the town's mayor, is trying to convince his dad to tell what he knows. "I feel that toting around that kind of weight serves no purpose but to kill you," the son says. "Get rid of it and you can go ahead and live."

The NYT fronts an engrossing feature on corruption in Latin America, focusing on the travails of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the leftist wonder who is now embroiled in a baroque vote-buying scandal. One study found that corruption may reduce the continent's economic growth by up to 15 percent, and people are so disgusted that polls show many long for the caudillios.

Everyone reports inside that Bush is preparing to appoint John Bolton U.N. Ambassador during the upcoming congressional recess. Under an arcane loophole, Bolton can serve without Senate approval until after the 2006 elections.

The LAT fronts word that astronomers have discovered a new planet. Or at any rate, a ball of rock and ice bigger than Pluto. The celestial body, which for now is called 2003 UB313—something catchier is in the works—is very cold, and very far away. "It's not a very pleasant place to live," said its discoverer, astronomer Michael Brown. Does it need an ambassador too? TP has a few nominees ...